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Forefront ’09 Napa Cab: Classy and affordable

Posted on: April 18th, 2013 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

Fruit yields were a little below average along California’s North Coast in 2009, resulting in higher wine prices that continued on from 2008.  But some wineries, blessed with large estates, have been able to combat these costs by reaching out further afield and blending.

One of these Napa wineries that have taken advantage of the situation with harvest yield variations is Pine Ridge Vineyards.  With the market pushing prices just a little high on many of their red wines, they introduced the “Forefront” label several years ago as a way to keep the lid on things.  And it looks like a good move.

Now, with a lot of Forefront’s 2009 Cabernet on the shelves as they the 2010 releases getting started, we can experience some really good Cabernet Sauvignon tastes for under $20.  And this one is highly rated.  It consistently scores over 90 points at the California State Fair.  With many other 2009 Cabs with Napa fruit selling for over $40, the 2009 Forefront is worth checking out.

What they did with the blend is not too severe.  It still contains 83% Napa fruit, mixed with and 17% from the Lake Counties.  Makes sense, 2009 was a moderately bold year for taste, cut it just a little, and sell very reasonably.  Clear the way for the 2010’s.

And the taste bears out the accolades.  Ripe cherry and plum on the bouquet (very Napa), but with a little toasty character that is like Syrah (from elsewhere?).  The body is distantly buttery with soft tannins and balanced acidity.  This combination is probably what gets it the higher ratings, even against others that were surely quite well pedigreed.  Just a good value!

Served with broiled beef or a hearty beef stew, this wine continues to be a winner.  Its deep inky purple color sitting alongside a big beef dish is a picture in itself.  Even though it may flatten a little with grilled meats, it’s still going to be right there for most situations.

You can pick it up at Phoenix area Total Wine stores for $17.29.  It is also available at valley AJs for a little more.  Also, it looks like the 2010 vintage has either started to appear or will very shortly.  It should be just a little different.

Feel free to serve at room temperature.

Article by Tom Peiffer, Phoenix Wine Shopping Examiner at Examiner.com

View more of Tom’s articles on Examiner.com by visiting his writer’s page.

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About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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