I've mentioned before how much we love Fairview Cellars' big red blend called The Bear. Their 2009 version was just superb, but good luck finding that anywhere. I have a couple bottles of 2010 in the cellar waiting to hit their peak, and I'm sure they'll be excellent, but 2009 was a special year.
Since there were no Bears around, I picked up the next best thing; a bottle of this:
Fairview Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon ($39.90)
I must confess I have become enamored with Californian wines of this varietal recently; even some of their not-crazy expensive bottles have been excellent, with some very special bottles in the $40 price range from Napa Valley.
This one reminds me a little of those. It doesn't have any of the jammy fruit that you can sometimes find in this varietal from cooler climates. Lots of fruit on the nose, with just a touch of black licorice to add some complexity. A simply fabulous nose. Not surprisingly, the palate can't quite measure up, but that's not to say it's bad; far from it. Lots of fruit, and a very long pleasing finish. Very nice. 88.