Skip to content


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

2.    Composition

a.    The percentage of each grape variety present in the wine.

3.    Oak

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!


New Deals 6.28 (2).JPG

Red Wine #1: ’17 Obscura

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

17 Obscura Wine Profile

Mixed February '21 (2).JPG

Red Wine #2: ’19 Dualis

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

19 Dualis Wine Profile

New Deals 6.15 (11).JPG

Red Wine #3: ‘18 Crowded

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)

18 Crowded Wine Profile

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.


It can be an intimidating task to become familiar with wine—a task that can have many details, but one we want to show can be a lot more fun than discouraging. Also, there are a few new faces here on the Wiens Team that know exactly how you feel! Too many questions to ask all at once, or to not even know to ask at all. So, as a tribute to all the newbies out there, we are going to start answering these questions with you. As a fellow newbie myself, I can assure you you’re not alone! These answers will give us a way to all learn together. & if you already consider yourself a connoisseur, follow along anyways; who knows, you may learn something new!


Standing in a room with our winemakers, Joe & Brian, & Blake from Production, probably as red as the wine they were making that morning (from my unnecessary embarrassment), I decided to first ask, “When tasting wine, what is it you’re looking for exactly?” This seems pretty broad now that I’ve heard the answers, but we have to start somewhere! Nevertheless, the flood of answers started crashing in. A common agreeance among them was that wine tasting is all very subjective. Even if you don’t know what you like when tasting, you’ll get there. Ultimately, comparing & contrasting is really the key to this goal. Simply put, try a lot of wine! Blake says tasting wines right after another is the best way to do this. Joe also recommends trying wines back-to-back of the same variety, if possible, to give you a good idea of the varietal (belonging to a single variety of grapes) characteristics. This way, you can get a better idea of what fruit profiles are present, or the level of tannins (the chemical compounds in the grape that attribute to the texture & mouthfeel of wine—truly, another question for another time) & acidity. Brian recommends tasting with other people. You may pick up on certain notes while tasting alone, but drinking with others can give you a more accurate, or even unexpected, outcome. Wine is a great social drink because of this!

So now I have a few good tips for the next time I go wine tasting:

1.       Practice, practice, practice!

2.       Compare & contrast

3.       Try the same variety

That list doesn’t seem so intimidating, after all. Everyone starts at the beginning before they become masters of anything. So, if you feel discouraged from building your wine knowledge, don’t be! The trick is to always be learning.

Bailey Morris, Marketing/ Gift Shop

Think of your own questions you want answered? Leave them in the comments or DM us on social media!