2012 Side by Side Red Wine “Bravery Blend” $5.99

Vinted & Bottled by AWD Cellars, St. Helena, CA
13.5% ABV
Azalea Charities
Purchased: Corvallis, OR 11-6-2014
Processed with MoldivI don’t usually buy unknown (content or quality) red blends but the beautiful artwork on the label first attracted me, then I noticed that part of the proceeds went to charity (explained in the link above), so I bought it & the Chardonnay which will have a review to accompany it soon as well.

RS: .30g/100ml
TA: .58g/100ml
PH: 3.52g/100ml
100% malolactic fermentation in French & American Oak.

So…that’s all the information I started out with (nothing available online that tells what the blend comprises).  Bottled in St. Helena drew me. The RS and the 100% new oak put me off. This is pre-tasting.

Color: A nice, semi-transparent, burgundy/plum.
Nose: The first thing I noticed was a yeasty scent followed by alcohol. After several swirls, a plum-raspberry compote fragrance started pushing through.
Body: Medium-light. It’s almost a Pinot Noir style body. Too light for a predominantly Cab/Merlot blend.
Taste: Black cherry (slightly tart), a bit of iron/mineral taste followed by a bit of bread dough aftertaste. It actually, for the amount of RS it contains, has got a dryish (not dry, but dryish) mouthfeel. After a lot more swirling, a bit of plum and raspberry are coming through.

This is a conundrum wine. I don’t know what the blend is. The body is all wrong for cab/Merlot but it has some of each of the flavors. No one mixes Pinot Noir (TMK) in a blend, but the body resembles that. It’s way too fruity for a normal PN though so I’m ruling that out. The bit of bread dough reminds me more of old world wines (same with the lower alcohol taste) but the fruit forward-ness is more new world.  Since I cannot define it for you, I’m doing my best to describe it. Perhaps someone else will buy a bottle and be able to define it. The bread-dough characteristic stays with it, but (as in some I’ve found) does not take it over. The mineral flavor stays in the background but is noticeable.

If you tasted the Four Star red…this is nothing like it. That one was more heavy bodied, a lot more full mouthfeel, slightly sweeter (I’m just giving reference points here since I’m at a loss) and definitely Zinfandel/Merlot/Cab. I only mention this because I’m rating this between Drinkable and Thumbs Up (it’s actually better than drinkable but I’m not going to run out and buy a case) and since that’s the only other red blend I’ve been enthusiastic about, I didn’t want you to think they were comparable, stylistically.

We saved the 2nd half for tonight so I’ll update if there are any significant changes. Otherwise, I would simply note that I think it’s a decently priced red blend that would go well with food or without.


11 thoughts on “2012 Side by Side Red Wine “Bravery Blend” $5.99

  1. lim13

    I believe I’ve cracked the case, PW (no pun intended). I emailed the beverage management side of Azalea Charities. Here’s what the gentleman had to say: “The 2012 Side by Side is a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Blend from California. We are currently working on the next vintage with a new winery from Paso Robles and hope to have a new wine bottled and available for sale some time in the new year (hopefully February or March).”

    1. permiesworld Post author

      Wow. The taste is very much like that but the body…I have no idea what they’ve done to make the body so medium to light. Thanks for following that up. Maybe it’s a Paso Robles thing? I don’t drink much wine from there….just tossing things out there since I haven’t a clue.

      1. lim13

        I would suspect that the light body is due to the quality (or lack of same) of the fruit and the winemaking process. Inferior fruit plus a short fermentation or lack of extraction would contribute to a thin wine. But I suspect there are numerous reasons upon which some of our readers could elaborate. Dluber? Darrell? Others?

        1. Darrell

          The alcohol seems to be there if the 13.5 is accurate. Shorter time on must and fermented closer to white wine temperature possibly plus the inferior fruit Lim mentions. Just a guess.

  2. Seedboy

    I’ve not been in one. I am picturing a wine that was mostly designed to be sell for a small sum and be inoffensive. Rather like Trader Joe’s house label wines. I don’t even buy wine there anymore, just grocery store wines at ok prices. The GO now gets all of the old closeouts and liquidations that TJs once got.

    1. permiesworld Post author

      Thanks…that pretty much fits with what I was thinking. This wine is really fine for an every day style red. It’s actually quite inoffensive (compared to others in its price point).

      Edit: It didn’t evolve really at all in 24hrs. Just pretty much stayed the same.

  3. permiesworld Post author

    I found some more information on this. Interesting. Apparently “Fresh & Easy” (never heard of it, I’m guessing it’s a market?) in 2012 expanded it’s own label of wines. The Bravery Blend (still don’t have the blend contents) and the Chardonnay from Side by Side are one of their limited edition expansion labels. Also, they sold the bottles for $5.99. So there’s absolutely no savings happening here. But at least it gives us an original price and a little more info.


      1. GOWineLover

        Just for clarity, Fresh and Easy has been in CA since 2006, headquartered I’m El Segundo and owned by Tesco in the U.K. To put it bluntly, though I like them for certain things, their venture has been a complete disaster and one of the best examples of international expansion failure in modern history. The chain has hemorrhaged money since day one. Billions down the drain with a complete misunderstanding of the American market.


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