waterstone cabernet sauvignon, 2006

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WHAT: When I tasted this elegant, complex wine I remembered why I like Cabernet Sauvignon so much. In the right hands it can be such a multifaceted wine, bringing in all kinds of tastes, memories and visions of where it was grown. It's difficult to pigeonhole a good Cabernet.

And this is a well-made Cabernet. Aromas of cedar and black cherries give way to many layers of taste, starting with plum, blackberry and cherries with herbal and chocolate notes. Just when you think you've run the gamut, another flavor pops up. It's a marvelously complex wine. The finish is long, supported by firm tannins.

This is a powerful wine wrapped in velvet. The winery says this layering and balance were achieved by sourcing the grapes from many areas. A majority of the grapes were grown in Oakville and Rutherford, vineyards from Coombsville to Diamond Mountain ended up in the final blend. Many of the vineyards are hillside vineyards, adding intensity to the fruit core.

The grapes were fermented in stainless steel and the wine received extended skin contact before being put into small French oak barrels for 22 months. The wine is 79 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 17 percent Merlot and 4 percent Cabernet Franc.

WINERY: A collaboration between winemaker Philip Zorn and Brent Shortridge, Waterstone Winery was founded in 2000 when the two men discovered a shared interest in creating luxury wines at affordable prices. Both had long-established relationships with Napa Valley growers and vintners and they used those connections to secure top-quality grapes.

Preferring to focus on the wine itself rather than the accumulation of land and facilities, Zorn and Shortridge own no vineyards themselves, nor do they own the facility where their wines are made. Dedicated winemaking, strong relationships with top growers and long-term grape contracts are the keys to Waterstone's quality and success.

They look for fruit grown in the climate zone that best suits a varietal's development. Zorn's winemaking techniques reflect the philosophy of letting the wine express itself: gentle handling of fruit, use of oak as appropriate, minimal filtration and fining and careful preservation of acidity.

Waterstone makes several wines, including Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Carneros Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Merlot, Study in Blue Napa Valley Red Wine and Carneros Pinot Noir.

GOES WITH: I had this with a nice steak with Bearnaise sauce and it was lip-smacking good. It also would do well with venison, duck or even grilled burgers, and hearty cheeses.



Beer tasting, 6-8 p.m., Malibu Jack's Surf Grill in Fury's Ferry Station, 231 Fury's Ferry Road, $15; for reservations, call 706-724-1442. Corned beef and cabbage will be provided.

Tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; featuring three red wines and three white wines and cheeses, $4 with rebate on purchase of bottle of featured wines

Wine and tapas tasting, 5 p.m., Veritas at La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; taste four wines and three tapas, $19.99


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


Tasting, Casa Blanca Cafe, 936 Broad St.; featuring wines and food of Argentina. For reservations, call (706) 504-3431


Tasting, 5-6:30 p.m., The Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; cost to be determined; Mark Herold, a top Napa Valley winemaker working with several brands, will introduce wines previously not sold in Georgia.

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