I’m sipping a very nice California blend tonight that is almost Bordeaux-like in its elegance. It’s the 2007 Blues Cuvee from Longoria Wines in Santa Barbara County. And yes, the label has a very cool painting of a guitar-strumming bluesman on the label. But that’s beside the point. The wine is a winning blend of 31 percent cabernet franc, 27 percent merlot, 24 percent syrah and 18 percent cabernet sauvignon.
Notes of dried red-berry fruit, coffee bean and herbs are supported by good tannic structure and great balancing acidity that make it a pleasure to drink even with a high 14.8 percent alcohol (other California wineries please take note). It sells for $28 and with production at just 150 cases, you’ll want to buy it directly from the winery. Also check out Longoria’s crisp, refreshing 2008 Albarino-Clover Creek Vineyard, a lovely California take on the Spanish-Portugese variety, at $23. (Wines received as press samples.)