designated “California”; 13.2% ABV
65% Syrah, 25% Barbera, 10% Zinfandel
$4 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 23 Oct. Online price around $10.
I tend to be repelled by wines with corny names and sourced over a wide region. However, this one won me over by having a vintage and with the promising blend of three grapes I like that could go quite well together. There’s no point in blending if the components have no character, and these grapes can all be nicely tangy. When I read it, I thought the blend would have structure from the Syrah, acid from the Barbera, and spicy fruit from the Zin. Although the wine was not like I imagined, it was still pretty good.
I was surprised because I had imagined a full-bodied red, but when poured it was on the lighter end of medium-bodied. It was a bit dull until it had aired for about 15 minutes, when it became something like a nice Pinot Noir – delicate and very nuanced – with darker-than-Pinot flavors: blackberry, blueberry, sweet and tart red cherries, maybe black raspberry, only mildly tangy. It did not really stand up to the kabobs I was eating. After being open for about 45 minutes, the fruit became a little heavier, standing up better to the grilled meat, but becoming a little unbalanced. After being open an hour, the wine integrated very nicely, showing its full complexity. While I didn’t give it the chance to last until the next day, I’d bet this wine is best in the first couple hours after opening, as it’s quite soft and gentle.