Bennett Lane, Maximus Red Feasting Wine, Napa Valley, 2005

Cost: $34-37

What: This full-bodied, hearty blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 11% Syrah is full of ripe fruit flavors, but packed with enough tanins and acidity to give it some backbone. Aromas of black cherry, black raspberry and cocoa lead to black cherry, plum and tobacco on the palate. The feasting label is appropriate because this highly rated wine drinks like something you should have at a joyous feast on a cold, dark winter night. This is a full-bodied wine that has a lingering finish. It is a lush wine to drink now, but will age for several years. This makes a great present for your Valentine sweetie, especially if you pair it with the winery’s special treat: Maximus chocolate wine sauce. The sauce is pure decadance, and you can only buy it at the winery or from their website: It costs $18, or they’ll send you the wine and the chocolate sauce for $50.

The Winery: Randy and Lisa Lynch bought the property at the northernmost point of Napa Valley in Calistoga five years ago and started producing world-class wines immediately. The property at the edge of the Mayacamas Mountains produces excellent chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, red and white Maximus blends, and a dessert wine. The winery also sponsors the No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford and the No. 24 Maximus car in the NASCAR Grand National West Series.

Goes with:Smooth, mellow cheeses, grilled meat, especially lamb or steak. It more than held its own with a hearty Italian sausage and cheese tortellini soup. The complex flavors of the wine really came to life when matched with the herbs in the soup.

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