Will It Blend?

Ex-Libris uses the best of blends

What's better than splurging on a pricey bottle of wine with dinner?

According to Polaner Selection, a top New York-based importer and distributor of artisanal wines, the answer is simple: a $20-dollar bottle that tastes identical to one that costs twice as much.

Such is the guiding principle behind Ex-Libris, the company's value-driven proprietary project, which derives its name from the Latin term for "from the library."

Through its relationships with several world-class wineries in Washington and California, Polaner was able to go into the vaults to source exceptional lots of wine from the best possible vineyards. The result is Polaner's own distinctive, encyclopedic blend; for just under $20 for 750 ml, the 2008 Ex-Libris Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon drinks like a wine in the $40 range.

The 2008 vintage is a predominantly Cabernet-based, Bordeaux-style wine with all the concentrated blackberry fruit you'd expect from a good domestic Cab. But it also has the extra depth and balance that reveals its true pedigree. Enjoy the bottling all winter long with braises, stews and other rich, cold-weather fare, or on your Thanksgiving table come Thursday.

If only all scholarship were this fun.

Available in the store and online at Crush Wine & Spirits, Winfield Flynn Wines & Spirits, Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit, Chambers Street Wines and Sherry-Lehmann