Do you have wine in your cellar, wine fridge or rack that someone gave to you? Do you have wine in your cellar, wine fridge or rack that you've been aging for a while? Have you looked at those in a while, or are they still out of sight out of mind? While I use January as month to scoop up affordable finds, I also use it as a month to do wine 'housekeeping'.  This strategy allows me to accomplish a few key things: 1)  'rotate' in bottles I've been aging that are due to be drunk; 2) create room for new purchases to come later in the year; and 3) avoid sitting on bottles that were gifts (from myself or others) that should be drunk now.

The first bottle I pulled from my stash was the Arger-Martucci Vineyards 2004 Cabernet Franc. When I visited the Napa Valley several years ago, this was one property my sister-in-law and I visited. It was a newer property that popped up on our radar and so we made an appointment and enjoyed a memorable afternoon sitting on their back picnic bench while tasting their wares and snacking on some cheese.

For Christmas this past year, I received a bottle of the Cab Franc as a gift. I was thrilled to see the wine in the market and happy to have an excuse to revisit one of their wines. I was also excited it was a bottling of Cab Franc, a grape that can fly under the radar screen for many consumers, but which is one of the 5 Bordeaux elite varietals that can legally be blended into red wines there. The grape is known for it's more earthy, vegetal qualities - the latter of which can be a bit too intense and stick out like a sore thumb. It's a varietal that can be hit or miss when bottled on its own, but when it's a hit, I'm a big fan.

The Arger-Martucci Cab Franc is likely in various US markets for around $35/bottle. This 2004 offering delivered blackberry, black cherry and red currant fruit, a subtle more mushroomy vegetal quality (as opposed to offending green bell peppers), and a nice layer of wet, black soil. The edges were soft and round, with a slight espresso bean flavor on the long finish. Its supple texture meant I had to really pace myself so as to avoid consuming it too quickly! It was a wine that was enjoyable when first uncorked but that certainly evolved and became more nuanced as it opened - important for a wine at this price point.

I needed no occasion to open this savory beverage other than a cozy night in, out of the cold, with a few extra dollars still in my pocket.

Cheers to that, right?