California; 13.9% ABV; screw cap
$5 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 17 Sept
On the first night, this wine was a soft, fruity, sweetly ripe red that, with the suggestion of the “seven-grape blend” in the 2011 vintage, I could easily convince myself had some white in the blend. It didn’t have very much in the way of distinctive character, a perfect “house red” for those who want a red but don’t really want to pay any attention to it. It also had a good bit of the “cooked rhubarb” flavor, which I suspect is at least sometimes produced by American oak, that I really dislike.
On the second night (bottle just capped with the screw cap overnight), however, genuine fruit flavors like blackcurrant, black raspberry, and dark red cherry really come forth, with the rhubarb more the background. I wouldn’t call it a seamless blend, the flavors a bit of a jumble, but they are all pretty good fresh fruit flavors, similar to those in M-S Merlots (2011, 2012) although heartier, likely due to the non-Merlot grapes in the blend. It’s still a good “house red,” but now one I like. So, I’ll give this a medium Thumbs Up, with the caveat, odd for a house red, that it’s likely a little young.
On the third night, though, the wine was simpler and a lighter red in flavor, and more acid. Drink this in the first two days.