The title of this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, as only one of these wines is self-described as “off-dry.” [Please see update below] My wife called to say she would bring home some ribs and tri-tip left over from a work luncheon. Anticipating that at least the ribs would be a little sweet, I thought it was the right time to open the
Red Velvet 2011 Zinfandel
back label says “off-dry”
Lodi, CA; 13.5% ABV
from Cupcake Vineyards, Livermore, CA
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 17 June
However, I quickly got bored with this wine. Its flavors are not bad — tangy medium red cherry and raspberry, some raisin, and a little black raspberry after some air — but the wine is rather simple and I found its sweetness a little cloying. If you’re looking for a reasonably tasty sweet red that’s not too sweet, you could certainly do worse. However, I decided to move on to a “more serious” wine.
Pra Vinera 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
North Coast, CA; 13.9% ABV
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 9 June. Likely still also at Berkeley.
This wine has been around for a while, and I hadn’t been too curious about yet another generic Cab. However, during the last sale, I saw many people eagerly making off with boxes of it, so I decided to finally try it. Last night, I thought it would be some relief from the “off-dry” Red Velvet. However, very much to my surprise, this Cabernet did not taste all that much less sweet. Granted, it was more substantial and complex than the Red Velvet, with flavors of blackberry, dark cherry, and some cranberry, but it was also sweeter than I really like, certainly than I expected. I would guess that’s why many folks liked it so much. You could drink off-dry wine without being called on it. 🙂
Both of these wines went fine with the lightly sweet meat, and I’d call
them both [see below] the Red Velvet Drinkable.
Update 19 June: I opened the stored half bottle (stoppered with very little air) of the Pra Vinera a few days later. At first, it tasted much like it had on the first night. However, after about 20 minutes of air in the glass, it showed nice acid that balanced the jammy, ripe fruit. I now suspect I was wrong about its containing a lot of residual sugar, and I have to change my opinion to Thumbs Up.