Everything you could ask for in a 15-dollar Cab. Big, ripe, juicy and chocolaty goodness. With very low acid, the roundness of the wine just envelops the mouth and coats the throat on the way down. SMITH & HOOK is part of the Hahn empire, which heads operations from their facilities in California’s exquisitely beautiful Monterey Coast. In an overcrowded field of wineries that produce inexpensive, everyday wines for the general public which somehow find their way to a Trader Joe’s or BevMo, Hahn has managed to remain above the fray and has stood out as one of the most reliable Central Coast wineries for over two decades, consistently overdelivering for the price across their portfolio. I had my first Smith & Hook Cab 17 years ago, back when I was poor and struggling to find my place in this world, and I thought it was one of the best wines my money, or lack thereof, could buy. Happily, my economic status has changed but with the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon little has changed—it’s still one of the best you can buy for the money. If a rising tide lifts all boats, this is the kind of wine that makes every poor man a wealthy man. –J.M.
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