May 3, 2008

Chateau Lafayette Reneau

Bill Dowd photo

Bob Reno has been making wine under this label in New York's Finger Lakes for nearly a quarter-century. For most of that time, he's been regarded as one of the best.

Chateau Lafayette Reneau Cuvee Rouge

This non-vintage blend is made from vinifera and French-American hybrid grapes, which is Reno's strong suit.

It holds its own against a platter of varied cheeses -- for example, smoked gouda, English cheddar dotted with shallots and garlic, and creamy Danish havarti -- but would do just as well with subtler tastes or grilled meats. It's very fruit forward, with lots of berry and cherry notes.

From its beautiful light ruby coloring to its lingering, slightly acidic finish, this is a bargain delight that retails for under $10.

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