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Wine of the Week: 2008 Sawbuck Malbec

Oh, sweet nectar of the gods: Malbec. That once-forgotten varietal, making a comeback as a cheap red wine, with plenty of depth, that happens to be a pretty good deal in most cases, is the total package - the Angelina Jolie of the wine world, perhaps - minus all those adopted kids and the weird, freaky life with Brad Pitt. You can call it a bias, but it's definitely not a secret that Malbecs float my boat.

The 2008 Malbec out of Yolo County, California has many things going for it. First off, it's a Malbec, which automatically takes me to a happy place. Secondly, it's blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, two more of my favorite varietals. The Syrah adds a fruitiness of deep berry flavors like raspberry and currants, while the Cabernet lends its earthiness, making it a very intense and deep blend of reds.

As for the name of this blend, the term "sawbuck" originally referred to a sawhorse, which held wood for cutting in the 18th century. The X-shaped support at each end of the sawhorse resembled the Roman numeral for 10, which showed up on the U.S. $10 bill around the same time - hence the cheeky name and label design for this wine, which sells for around, you guessed it, $10.

Aside from being cheap and blended to perfection to combine the depth of a Cabernet with the fruitiness of a Syrah (with the perfection of a Malbec), this wine is not from down South America way, like all the others I've come across in my search for cheap, delicious red wines. It's from our avocado-growing neighbors to the West in California. I haven't seen a lot of Malbecs from the region.

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Other than its berry, coffee and cocoa notes, there's an interesting spice that hits you immediately. That peppery perk is a great start to the glass and continues throughout, which keeps this wine interesting to the last drop. Not bad for something that'll only set you back a sawbuck...


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