WINE: You're not going to drink a $40-plus wine for dinner every night, but sometimes you have to splurge and get a great bottle. This should be one of those bottles.
It's a smooth, luscious, rich wine with layers of complexity. It really explodes on the palate, with ripe fruit and restrained tannins. The aroma is full of vanilla and spices, followed by tastes of blackberry and boysenberry.
Like all great wines, there are no sharp angles or jarring notes. Everything is in harmony. The wine is made of 83 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 percent Malbec and 7 percent Merlot, which adds to the complexity. The Malbec adds intensity and chocolate nuances. The finish is long and smooth.
This is a bottle for a special dinner. You can't go wrong by drinking it now, but it should continue to improve in the bottle for another seven or eight years.
The wine also comes from an incredible vintage. All the 2007 California wines I've tried have been above average. The season began with a dry spring that created ideal growing conditions. There were no heat spikes in September or October, so the fruit was allowed to ripen evenly on the vines without drying out.
In most cases, you can't miss with the 2007 wines.
WINERY: This Napa Valley winery has vineyards that represent the diverse growing conditions in the Napa Valley, growing grapes in both cool climates and hot. They have gently sloped vineyards along the bay and steep slopes in the mountain sites.
Hess develops specific plans for each site, best suited to the conditions of the particular vineyard. They also support sustainable vineyard practices.
The Hess Collection was founded by Swiss entrepreneur Donald Hess, who first purchased vineyards on Mount Veeder in 1978. The winery is best known for its flagship Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines, and single vineyard designates from estate vineyards in Napa Valley, such as the Allomi Cab.
A leader in sustainable and organic practices, The Hess Collection adheres to founder Donald Hess' philosophy: "Nurture the land; return what you take."
Located in a historic stone winery originally constructed in 1903 by Colonel Theodore Gier, and later owned by the Christian Brothers, the winery first opened to the public in 1989. It since has earned international recognition for its wine, culinary and visitor programs, and provides free public access to Donald Hess' extensive private contemporary art museum.
GOES WITH: I had this with homemade vegetable beef soup, and while it was too much wine for such a simple meal, it made it a spectacular meal. Both the wine and the soup were enhanced, so you can't ask for more than that.
My friend Bob stopped by as I was finishing the soup and we finished off the wine. We agreed it was an incredible bottle of wine that we need to visit again in the near future.
Wine and tapas tasting, 5 p.m., Veritas at La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; taste four wines and three tapas, $19.99
Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; $4 with rebate on purchase of one bottle of the featured wines.
Blues, Brews and Barbecue, 6-9:30 p.m., Columbia County Government Complex on Ronald Reagan Drive, Evans. Second of three weekly concerts.
Tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road
Tasting, 1-6 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road