Michel-Schlumberger 2007 House Red

Sonoma, CA, USA

Unspecified blend (Rhône varietals + Zinfandel?), 15.4% alc.

$6 at the Oakland, CA store

This one was a gamble (well, all GO wines are, but some are riskier than others), although there are many good tasting notes for this winery on CellarTracker. The wine pours inky dark purple-red and exhibits a somewhat hot, sharp nose of roasted dark fruits (plum, blackberry, and blueberry?) with a faint note of something unpleasantly toward the solventy end of tarry and slightly brambly, subdued pepper aromas, making me wonder if there’s Petite Syrah in the mix. It’s too much of a varietal soup for me to pick out any single grape with confidence, however. Blending is a bit of an art; sometimes, the resulting wine benefits from synergies among complementary strengths and weakness. Other times, it seems that the blend can be no better than the worst wine in the vat, and blending just dilutes flaws rather than fixing them.

Overall, I found this wine to be a bit one-dimensional and too hot on the palate, with a somewhat astringent finish, even though there are obviously some ripe tannins in there. There’s an abundance of muscular fruit here too, but I felt that this wine lacks balance and is just sort of difficult to like, thickly coating your tongue without providing much pleasure. Swirling it around in my giant Riedel glass didn’t bring out much good in the way of aromatic complexity, nor did air over the next hour or next two days. This reminds me more of some of the overweight Syrahs and blends I’ve had from So. Cal rather than a Sonoma Valley wine. If you like a big bruiser of a Rhône Ranger, you may enjoy this wine more than I did.


14 thoughts on “Michel-Schlumberger 2007 House Red

  1. Alan Reinke

    As of Thursday, the Berkeley store still had some of the 2007 red. For $6 I think it is a real find. Sure it isn’t subtle and nuanced. Sure it is a big wine and a bit hot. However the flavors are good and the price is right.

  2. Charles Merrill

    I think the 2007 Red is drinkable with meats and pasta. I had also tried the 2005 Syrah and liked it better although a bit oaky.
    Thought it has more structure. This winery has some really fine wines, but the 2007 Red is not one of them, but the price is competitive in the $6 range.

  3. Robert Seeds

    Today the Berkeley store had a syrah from this label, 2005, for 5.99. I’ll try it tonight and let you all know what I think

    1. Robert Seeds

      I’ve now opened the 2005 syrah. It tastes like oak but not really like wine. I’ll take the splinters out of my tongue and try it again later.

        1. Robert Seeds

          18 hours later the oak is not so obvious, and there is black fruit and a bit of white pepper, but it also seems rather hot to me.

      1. BargainWhine

        I’m not really drinking again yet, but my wife wanted something, so I opened this (the 2005 La Source Syrah) tonight. In the few tastes I sipped and spat, my impressions were that it’s much like the House Red, hot and a little strange, and, as you say, quite oaky. However, if you’re not as picky, and you want a sweetly ripe, full-bodied red, this is good for $6.

          1. BargainWhine

            Haven’t tried it, but it’s supposedly much better than the Red reviewed in this post. It’s gone from the Berkeley store, but was still at the San Pablo store, although they got only a few cases of it.

  4. Robert Seeds

    This was hot and boring. It clearly had some really mediocre syrah in it (there is a mess of really mediocre syrah in California) but beyond that it is just a mess. The non vintage pinot is better.


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