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By The Glass


Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Laurel Glen’s red wines
are exquisite, affordable

There's more than one way to skin a cat," as the saying goes. In similar fashion, I can make different arguments for winemaking methods, winegrowing practices, age of vines, yields and size of production, all part of the effort in crafting the most delicious wines.

That's exactly what I did earlier this month during our annual R. Field Wine Country Experience. Our group reflected a broad cross section of Honolulu residents, including a couple whose interest in wine was almost non-existent.

While fun was the key to this learning experience, our group visited wineries from tiny to huge, from ultra-modern to nearly antiquated, from those specializing in just one wine to those that produced many, many types and styles.

Some wineries were publicly traded companies; one was so private, you had to walk a mile over a dusty, rocky road to find it.

Each produced impressive wines that have been acknowledged as such by the most influential wine writers around the world.

One winery that specializes in red wine -- and Cabernet Sauvignon in particular -- is Laurel Glen. Their estate Cabernet is very difficult to get because they produce so little each year and the demand is great.

They also produce Quintana, which I like to call the baby Glen because it is an impressive wine that just didn't make the cut for the Estate bottling. And then there is the Counterpoint 2000 vintage, which we tasted out of barrel. Another extraordinary wine! The best part is that these wines are easier to find and affordable, yet they deliver the power, richness and that slight earthiness that make them stand out from the pack.

Value on the vine

Of all these great wines, the darling for me is a far more simply labeled wine -- REDS. Patrick Campbell is the genius behind Laurel Glen. He is a grape grower, Zen monk, violinist, philosopher, writer and Renaissance man who created this brilliant blend of red grapes that is priced under $9.

REDS is a mouthwatering blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignan. It is a medium-bodied wine with a complex profile that is surprising for the price, only if you didn't know that Laurel Glen produced it. It has ripe blackberry fruit with cinnamon spice and an alluring earthy truffle note.

The wine is so friendly, it's easy to just sit and sip. It is wonderful with grilled sausages, paté, roasted chicken and any cheese you can find in Hawaii.

Everybody should have a few bottles of this wine at the ready for when unexpected company drops by or you're just in the mood to enjoy a wonderful glass of REDS.

Richard Field owns R. Field Food and Wine Co. This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals.

This column is a weekly lesson in wine
pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals.
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