There are few absolute rules of quality in wine. "Dry is better than sweet." Rebuttal: Tokaji and Sauternes. "Single grapes are better than blends." Rebuttal: Bordeaux. "Blended grapes are better than single grapes." Rebuttal: Burgundy. Cross Examination: Champagne.
While we all have our favorite combinations of grapes, geography, oak, and age, there is no One True Path to the perfect wine, and I always think that it's better to make the best wine given the grapes and tools and climate and traditions available.
This "Napa Red" from Girard Winery is a great example. A great blended, Bordeaux-style wine made in the Napa Valley and aged well. I admit that I have a particular affection for such blends that take advantage of all five permitted Bordeaux red grapes, and I'm even happier when the percentages of non-Cabernet Sauvignon and non-Merlot are substantial.
2010 Girard Artistry
58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 8% Malbec, 6% Petit Verdot
$45, 15.1% abv.
This wine has a deep and stately nose with elements of coffee, leather, and cassis. Big tannins and a tart, long finish indicate that while this is currently great with grilled steak, it should mellow out over the next three or four years to allow for more delicate dishes. Overall it is a delightful California wine that incorporates the best of France with a New World twist.
Note: This wine was received as a sample.