Tame & easy this week, just like the bottles of red wine I’m about to get into. I feel like when you know very little about wine, the words ‘red wine’ are equivalent to a haunted house (…hear me out). It can be scary, but you’re also a little curious to see what all the fuss is about. Maybe that’s just me though, pretty dramatic… Halloween on the brain & all. Anyways, I want to change that narrative. Let’s do it together. To ease your red wine terrors, I asked our winemaker, Joe, what red wines on our current tasting menu he would recommend to a newbie. He was happy to oblige, so we’re talkin’ red wine today.
Before we begin, I’ll let you in on a few secrets. Okay, they’re not secrets, but you may not have known if you really are new to wine! With each wine, I’ll give you:
1. Joe’s Comments
a. The percentage of each grape variety present in the wine.
a. This includes: How long the wine has been aging in the barrel, what kind of wood was used, & the relevant age of the barrel. The months present in this section are applicable to the amount of time spent in the barrel. If you see A/F when reading today, or on any wine profile you encounter, that stands for American/ French. There are several different kinds of barrels to age wine in, but the real difference between them is the region they come from. Yes, it does make a difference! Also, depending on the context, another word for aged can be ‘oaked,’ just so we’re clear. If a wine is not oaked, then an N/A will take this information’s place—Pretty self-explanatory. When you see a percentage accompanied by the term “new,” the number is speaking of the barrel’s age. Wine barrels can last up to 100 years, so they’re reused pretty often. If a barrel is 100% new, it’s never been used to age wine before, & so on down the numerical list to determine a barrel’s age.
Learn more in our blog post all about barrels!
4. Tasting Notes
a. Notes given by the winemaker to explain further the intention & execution of each wine.
5. Food Pairing Ideas
a. Just in case you decide to try them at home with a nice meal!
1. “Easy drinking.”
2. Composition: 88% Temecula Valley Merlot, 12% Temecula Valley Petite Sirah
3. Oak: Aged 15 Months A/F, 30% New
4. Tasting Notes: Red fruit, and peppers dominate the aromatic profile on this vintage, with incredibly smooth tannins make it a big red that can still appeal to a wide audience.
5. Food Pairing Ideas: Thin crust pizza, parmesan crisps, truffled french fries
1. “Jammy. The Zinfandel variety tends to be more approachable” (& takes up half of the wine!).
2. Composition: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Zinfandel
3. Oak: Aged 12 months A/F, 25% new
4. Tasting Notes: Latin for “dual”, our 2019 Dualis combines two big reds, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, with each variety lending its own qualities and dimensions to this unique blend. Zinfandel brings rich, dark fruit character with a hint of black pepper spice, complemented by the more substantial Cabernet Sauvignon with red fruit notes and firm tannin structure. This wine drinks very enjoyably now, yet will age gracefully in the cellar for several years.
5. Food Pairing Ideas: Black pepper crusted burgers, carne asada, pulled pork
1. “Made to be fruit forward & smooth.”
2. Composition: 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Syrah, 14% Sangiovese, 9% Zinfandel, 8% Petite Sirah, 6% Grenache, 5% Malbec, 3% Dolcetto, 3% Mourvedre, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Primitivo (WHOA! Crowded, indeed…)
3. Oak: Aged 13 months A/F, 25% new
4. Tasting Notes: Like your favorite recipe, the 2018 Crowded weaves a variety of flavors together in a balanced, harmonious blend. Our winemaking team begins with many different red wine lots, carefully crafting each new Crowded vintage into a wine that showcases an enticing bouquet of toasted oak and fruit-forward aromas, a “Big Red” palate, and approachable tannins on the finish. Very food friendly, this wine pairs nicely with almost any dish.
5. Food Pairing Ideas: Roasted turkey, lamb kebob, grilled pork loin (but also, literally anything tastes good with it)
Alright, now that you have your shopping list, it’s time for some education. Don’t worry, I’ll give you some time to get your wine. Next week, we’ll get into at least 5 of the varieties mentioned in these wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Merlot, & Syrah. That way, when you get them, you’ll know a bit more about what you’re drinking! Until then, even if you don’t try these, try a red wine! Explore what you’re afraid of, especially with wine, you may be surprised.