I was lamenting the influx of poorly made $15 wine, and then I find one that is worth $15. The Hayman & Hill is a fine introduction to what the English call claret, the French call red Bordeaux, and I call enjoyable. (California uses meritage, a term that is best left undiscussed.)

This California wine is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot, petite verdot and cabernet franc. It has some cabernet oomph, while the malbec and merlot soften the cabernet and the petite verdot and the cabernet franc add some interest. It’s not especially fruity, jammy or oaky, though the tannins aren’t quite as refined as they could be. Still, it’s a fine example of this style of wine, something that is almost impossible to find at this price (available at Goody Goody, Kindred Spirits and Majestic).

It’s definitely a food wine; in fact, it’s not going to be nearly as enjoyable if you drink it on its own. It’s just too big. I had the Hayman with mushroom barley soup last night, and I was surprised and pleased at the pairing. It should also complement any red meat or red sauce.

After the jump, some local wine notes:
• The 25th annual Dallas Morning News Wine Competition is set for Feb. 16-17 at the Dallas Convention Center. It’s the largest U.S. commercial wine competition outside California, and the fourth largest in the United States. The results, released in April, always bring a series of sales on medal-winning wine.

Savor Dallas and AFI DALLAS will offer a free screening of Food Fight, the award-winning documentary about the growth of the organic movement in the U.S. It will be held 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 9. Email for tickets.

• Corbett Canyon’s non-vintage merlot, which comes in a three-liter box and costs about $10, won Best of Class for Merlots below $15 at the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. I’m told the wine is available in this area, though I haven’t seen it yet. When I do, I’ll taste and review.

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