What’s this you say? A 2008 Cabernet?

Magnificent Wine Company is one piece of the three piece rocket that launched winemaker Charles Smith into orbit. Smith, who was recently named Food & Wine Magazine’s Winemaker of the Year, started Magnificent Wine Co. in 2004. The company, which serves as a complement to Smith’s K Vintners and Charles Smith labels, is now under the (large) umbrella of Precept Wine Brands.

Magnificent Wine Company’s omnipresent House Wine is the wine every winemaker wishes they had come up with – and that many have since tried to duplicate. The label is striking, the price is affordable, and the name says it all. Of course, all of this would be moot if the wine wasn’t a crowd pleaser. However, this made-for-the-masses wine is just that. The company’s site boasts that House Wine is “a term that’s as universally understood among wine drinkers as a STOP sign is among drivers”. This is probably not far from the truth.

The House Wine series consists of the red and white House Wine as well as the Steak House (100% Cabernet) and Fish House (100% Chardonnay). I hadn’t tried the Steak House before and was a bit hesitant to try a 2008 Cabernet. Most of the 2007’s seem more than a little young at present. I imagined finding lots of oak, tannins, and alcohol – a wine that, like many out there, should have been released in six to twelve months.

Surprisingly, the 2008 Steak House is none of that. As a pescatarian I can’t speak to the steak pairing, however, I can say that the wine is light and fruity with refreshingly low oak and alcohol. I found all of this to be a relief – a young, unexpected wine that can be enjoyed now without putting a hurt on the palate or the pocketbook.

Score Name Notes $


Magnificent Wine Co. Steak House Columbia Valley 2008 Nose shows BBQ’d green pepper along with a lot of bright fruit (predominantly blueberries) and light floral notes. Palate is absolutely not what I was expecting with a light, fruity taste that doesn’t display much oak or tannins and has low alcohol. An enjoyable easy drinker. 100% Cabernet. 13% alcohol. $10