Conn Valley Vineyards
St. Helena, CA
$25.00 at Vino 100, Lake Travis, TX
Color: Dark garnet
Nose: Blueberries, Slim JimsTM, Mountain Violets
Front: Cherry, cocoa
Middle: Vanilla, cedar
Back: Graham cracker, pine
Burns clean?: Yes
It's not easy to find this wine, but it's worth it. It needs air; only after about an hour does it really start to show, so be patient. You will end up drinking a wine worth three times the price. It's subtle, rich, and fabulous with food (a mildly spicy sausage Italian sort of thing, for example). It's art without the artsy. (It doesn't even appear on the winery's website, that's how laid-back this bottle is. I think perhaps the '05 was the first release of this line?)
At long last, I found this wine at Vino 100 in Lake Travis, outside of Austin. This is a stylin' little wine shop on RTE 620--all bottles under $25, with an emphasis on serious values like Conn Valley's Prologue. Owner Gloria Parker offers tastings in their cozy space, which is like the raw-wood-and-leather-living-room-I'll-never-be-able-to-afford. Good taste both in and around the bottle, together with good conversation, makes a great store.
I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I'm listening to Duffy as I drink this wine, but honestly, it goes perfectly with her song "Syrup & Honey."
Note, 11-29-2010: A terrible turn of events...the 2008 Prologue is a North Coast wine, not a Napa wine, and it's so oaky that I can't really tell what is going on in it. Most unfortunate. Let us hope this is only a temporary strategy.