ridge05.jpgRidge Vineyards continues to own the New World incarnation of Bordeaux blends, and this beautiful 2005 marriage of Cabernet Sauvignon ((58%) and Merlot (42%) knocked us out the other night, paired with a choice bit grass-fed rib-eye steak. We don’t eat a lot of beef, nor drink much cab. But these exceptions deserved each other.

This estate blend, made from Monte Bello Ridge grapes, is a masterpiece of tannic core that billows out — okay, so it takes half a day for full opening — into a cushion of leather, roses and rich briary details. At 13.7% alcohol, it is big enough but not overpowering. Worth its $40 pricetag (VinoCruz stocks this gem) it might be one of the items that Santa should be thinking about. For under the tree, or on the table to accompany Christmas Day roast beef.