This red wine blend from Washington state has been a steady, dependable $10 effort since at least the early 1990s. I remember buying it on one of the first Internet wine sites, the late Virtual Vineyard. And why did I have to buy it on-line? Because availability was limited. (I’m writing about the problem of wine availability on my wine blog this week.)

It’s still not easy to find (and its white blend cousin, also called CMS, is even more difficult to locate). In this area, the CMS Red is at some Central Markets and Whole Foods (but not all) and selected Majestic’s. The price is probably going to be more than $10 as well.

After the jump, more on the CMS Red and some wine notes:

Why the limited availability? Who knows? Just know that you should try it if you see it. CMS is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah – moderate alcohol, pleasant dark berry fruit, some structure and tannins, and solid value. I tasted it against a $25 petite sirah, and there was no comparison. The CMS was a more interesting wine in every way.

Drink this with any hearty late winter dish, like stuffed bell peppers, or even barbecue if this pleasant weather holds. And be sure to ask your local retailer why he or she doesn’t carry it.

• Former neighborhood resident James Tidwell, the sommelier at the Four Seasons in Irving, has become a master sommelier – one of just 96 in North America and 167 worldwide. The honor is probably the highest that a wine person can achieve, and is incredibly difficult to do. James is not only one of the nicest guys in the wine business, but has also been gracious and generous with helping me navigate wine and its complexities.

Savor Dallas begins its fifth annual run next weekend. Among the highlights: The Mansion’s Svott Barber leading a panel on wine for less than $25.

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