© Copyright 1999 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.
Ferrari-Carano 1996 Sonoma County Siena ($27.99)
I generally shun the latter-day California-made imitations of Italian wines, especially at this price level, as I find them by and large to offer limited value in wines that only poorly replicate the Old Country originals. But consistently in recent vintages, I've found Siena - a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec in the "high-tech Tuscan" style - to be a significant exception to this unhappy rule. It's capable of competing with trendy Northern Italian reds on its own merits at this price point, and I'd go so far as to call it one of my favorite California reds of any style.
Inky dark ruby in color, it shows big, exuberant black fruit aromas framed by spicy oak that defines but doesn't dominate the fruit. Tart cherries, ripe berries and a sturdy acidic structure make for a fine and balanced flavor; delicious black fruit persists in a very long finish. (Aug. 16, 1999)
FOOD MATCH: A natural match with pan-grilled strip steaks.
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