Here's another $30 offering as I work my way through the Marietta catalog: the 2004 Marietta "Emilia's Cuvée", made in Mendocino County, California from the Montepulciano grape. An earthy, ashy aroma with elements of blackberries, giving way to a well-balanced, low tannin black cherry flavor. It proved a good match for the ribeyes, pasta salad, and standard Southern Waldorf salad. (As this was for guys' night, I was looking for full flavor and low preparation. Quick sear and bake on the meat, and the rest came from the deli. Delicious, and it hit the spot.) While a great wine on its own, I still prefer the Angeli Cuvée.
After dinner, it was time for something a little stronger. For a month I'd held on to the 2005 Bogle Petite Sirah Port from Clarksburg, California. I've long been a fan of Bogle and was delighted to see this entry into the market. $20 for a an elegant, wax-capped 500mL bottle. Only 23 barrels made! There are lots of wineries making domestic Ports from various non-traditional grapes, and this is the first I'd seen using Petite Sirah. (For more information on the controversy around using the name Port, check out Fredric's article.) It's a ruby style Port, and was actually quite mild for a fortified wine. In fact, it was much like a very strong red wine. There were nice cherry elements, but overall it was bold and youthful. We had it with some Stilton (couldn't hold up to that cheese), but with organic dark chocolate it was a winner.
Following that, we had to have a bit of the 20 Year Old Sandeman Tawny Port, which showed proper maturity and complexity and was a perfect match for the Stilton. Between the two there is no comparison, yet the Bogle remains a good choice for desserts like cheesecake or simple chocolate and fruit.