Purchased: Corvallis, OR 11-6-2014
Veris Cellars was recently purchased by Castoro Cellars and they have announced the retiring of the JanKris, Ben Hogan & Nova Vita lines leading to no additional information regarding the vinification of this wine. The blend, according to the bottle is listed as: 65% Merlot, 20% Sangiovese, 10% Zinfandel & 5% Tempranillo. Taste alone would have led me to believe this was solely a Sangiovese/Zinfandel blend. I would never have guessed Merlot or Tempranillo.
Recently Bargainwhine reviewed the JanKris 2011 Crossfire and the 2008 Ben Hogan Tribute Carnoustie and in the process, JWC commented that the Ben Hogan label was the higher end wine ($28) with the JanKris normally retailing for $10. So, while I don’t consider $6 a great bargain on a $10 wine, given the other two favorable reviews, I thought I’d try the Riatta. Considering Bargainwhine’s comments regarding both wines from the same producer needing air, I decided to decant this one. Before decanting, I always taste.
I wish I knew the actual measured brix of this one. Unfortunately again, because of the Veris sale, there are no click-able links on the old label wines. This one is sweet, Apothic-style sweet (if you are familiar with that mainstream brand), with a heavy fruit (yes I will say exceedingly jammy) flavor. Color is a burgundy/plum cross. Bouquet is also very fruit forward. My hope when I poured it into the decanter was that any tannins that might exist (they weren’t readily evident upon first taste) would have time to balance out that sweetness. I just left the wine alone in the decanter for two hours before tasting again.
Decanting did make a bit of a difference but not enough to make it worthwhile. What would definitely be called (affectionately) a “fruit bomb” was slightly more balanced after 2 hrs in the Winebreather; not much else changed. Now, don’t get me wrong, while this wine is not to my taste, it is an extremely popular style with so many stores, being a front-runner (as I mentioned, think Apothic Red blend or Menage a Trois…both big sellers in the main stream wine market). If you like those, then you will like this at 2/3rds the price.
I was expecting a bit more closed, restrained style…coming from California in 2011. That is not to be found here.