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Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
By: Gail Appleson

AWE 2006 Cab-Syr.JPG

Friends have been telling me for years about a small wine shop called Kaya's, at 4117 Union Road across from South County Center. The cozy store, which opened in 2002, has become a Friday-night destination for them, sort of a neighborhood wine-tasting party where they relax at the end of the week.

I finally made it out there, and now I know what they mean.

I visited on a Saturday afternoon and knew it was my kind of place when I saw a small group sitting at one of the tables enjoying bread, cheese and a bottle of wine. It turns out you can buy wine or beer at retail price and enjoy it in the store. Kaya's even sells fresh Bosnian bread on Fridays.

Much of the shop's charm flows from its owner, Kata Lozina, whose nickname is Kaya. After chatting for just a few minutes, you'll feel like you've known her for years. And although her shop is small, there's plenty of reasonably priced wine with labels you don't see everywhere.

One of the wines she introduced me to during my visit was the 2006 Algodon Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blend from Argentina's Mendoza province, selling for $12.99. It was the first Cabernet-Syrah blend from Argentina I'd seen.

The 2006 Algodon won a 90-point score from the Wine Advocate and is definitely ready to drink. This medium-bodied, complex red filled with berry fruit and black pepper spice is made of 65 percent Cabernet and 35 percent Syrah. It has been aged nine months in French oak barrels, which has given it hints of vanilla. This is a round wine with soft tannins and a long silky finish.

This is not a wine for casual sipping, however. It has a high alcohol level of 15 percent, and it needs food. It calls out for steaks and grilled beef.

I wanted to compare the Algodon to an Argentinean Cabernet without Syrah, so I bought the 2006 Bodega NQN Malma Cabernet Sauvignon from Neuquén in the Patagonia region, priced at $9.99. We don't see much Argentine wine from Patagonia, which is in the southern part of the country and is one of the southernmost wine-growing regions in the world. This is an emerging area, as most of the wine-growing efforts in this region began in the last 10 years.

This Cabernet is also a medium-bodied peppery red, but it is drier than the Algodon and not as complex. It's also a more austere wine with less fruit flavor. It has sharper, mouth-puckering tannins, which you may or may not like. This is also a bit high in alcohol at 14.2 percent, and it needs food. Like the Algodon, it would pair well with grilled red meat.

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