Christian Moueix and his winemaking team knock it out of the park with this moderately priced Napa Valley Cabernet. Made with just a touch (4%) of Petit Verdot, the 2009 Carpe Diem has impeccable balance; a silky texture; soft, rounded tannins; and, underneath it all, beautiful Napa Valley fruit. This is a Cabernet built not to dominate but to go with food. The quality may not be such a surprise from the owner of Chateau Pétrus in Bordeaux and Dominus in Napa Valley, but the price, about $25, certainly is. This one could hold its own against some of the valley's most lauded $100 bottles. Classic and elegant, a natural for the holiday table.
Region: Napa Valley
Price: About $25
Style: Elegant and richly textured
What it goes with: Prime rib, roasts, wild mushrooms, cheese
Where to find it: Amazing Grapes Wine Store in Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-9007, wwwamazinggrapeswinestore.com; BestWinesOnline, (888) 817-8880, http://www.bestwinesonline.com; Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, http://www.hitimewine.net; K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, (323) 464-9463, http://www.klwines.com; Mel & Rose Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood, (323) 655-5557, http://www.melandrose.com; Wally's Wine & Spirits in West Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606, http://www.wallywine.com; the Wine Club in Santa Ana, (714) 835-6485, http://www.thewineclub.com; the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, http://www.winehouse.com; and Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills, (818) 222-1111, http://www.whwc.com.