Recently a friend of ours asked what California wines we can recommend for someone who likes Bordeaux blends much more than typical California Cabs. As it turns out I just recently tasted the 2008 vintage of Girard Winery's Artistry blend, which is year in and year out a great Bordeaux style blend. It is a wine that gives plenty of fruit for those who like California Cabernets, but it is very clearly a Bordeaux style blend that strives to bring some balance and finesse.
The 2008 Artistry is purple red in your glass. Made from 59% Cabernet Sauvigonon, 19% Cabernet Franc, 11% Malbec, 6% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot that is aged in 50% new and 50% once used French oak, the wine brings plenty of the classic Napa Cab blackberry and cassis aromas. Underneath that, though, there are layers of plum, cedar, and some mild earthy and spicy nuances. On the palate, you get more of the same blackberry and cassis with an added element of black cherry to go along with it. Very well integrated tannins and decent acidity bring some structure to the blend, and the finish has some nice length to it. This is a wine that you can enjoy as you smell it, sip it, and as the complex flavors linger on your palate.
Overall, this is a really nice wine for the price, which ranges in the low to high $30s depending on where you are. The up front fruit is outstanding, and it has plenty of structure and complexity to back that up. It would pair well with a nice steak or any grilled red meats.
Finally, I can't write about Girard without mentioning that it is one of my absolute favorite stops in Napa Valley. Their tasting room is right in the heart of Yountville and is one of the most enjoyable, relaxing tasting rooms you will find in Napa Valley. If you're out that way, definitely stop in to see them.