Like many people, I'd long thought of Clos du Bois as basically another billboard winery - mass-marketed, produced in huge volumes, and as commercial as Sonoma gets. And it's true, to some extent. But then earlier this year, during a banquet dinner inside the vast barrel-aging room of CdB's Geyserville winery, I was poured a red that really opened my eyes: Marlstone. Debuted in 1978 as Sonoma's first Bordeaux-style blend, this limited-production red had surprising depth, power and finesse - the hallmarks of skilled winemaking that gave me new respect for the Alexander Valley giant. Now that the 2006 vintage is available at an exceptional discount in Pennsylvania for $19.99 (it's listed at $60, but $35 is the best price I've seen online), I suggest you grab it. A blend of 75 percent cabernet and 15 percent merlot with splashes of petit verdot, cab franc, and fruit-forward malbec, it brings a ripe beam of dark blackberries framed by mocha and cedary spice. It's bold yet balanced and delicate, with silky tannins and a long, long finish - a perfect wine, in other words, for classic filet mignon.
- Craig LaBan
Clos du Bois 2006 Marlstone, $19.99 in Pennsylvania (Code 32327).