All over California wineries are adding blends to their portfolios to take advantage of the new interest in how various varietals come together, given the artful touch of the winemaker. Of additional advantage to the winery is the fact that underperforming varietals, in terms of sales, can be blended to create a wine that is seemingly better than the parts. It is important to remember that even a single varietal has to be blended with other barrels of the same varietal to meet the house style. Still, winemakers love concocting new recipes.
2014 Robert Hall Cuvée Robles, Paso Robles
List price 14.99; Our price 13.50
The aroma is reminiscent of fresh cherries with hints of black pepper and spice. This bold, full-bodied, Rhône-style blend delivers a mouthful of berry flavors with a lingering spicy finish. Enjoy with a wide range of food including hearty cheese, grilled meat and roasted lamb. This wine won a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
2013 Bogle Phantom Red Wine, California
List price 20.00; Our price 15.99
Phantom is full of concentration and intensity, and will tease, tantalize and linger long after the last sip is gone.
Wild berries, black pepper and hints of juniper are framed by the influence of oak aging with baking spices with a hint of toasty vanilla. On the palate, the entry is explosive, supported by chewy, chalky tannins that will age this wine for decades. From Bogle…who would have thought?
2010 Terra Savia Meritage Reserve, Mendocino
List price 22.00; Our price 18.95
This blend comes from organically-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. This medal-winning vintage shows bright spicy berry notes with darker, more earthly tones with a firmer tannin structure. The Sanel Valley region of Mendocino is known for relatively soft, riper berry notes in its wines.
2013 William Hill Bench Blend, Napa Valley
List price 35.00; Our price 29.99
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave this wine a 90-point rating: "The wine that stood out for me was William Hill’s 2013 Bench Blend Proprietary Red, which is composed of 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Petite Sirah, 18% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. This large cuvée of just over 4,100 cases is outstanding. Deep blackcurrant and blackberry fruit intermixed with some loamy soil undertones, pepper, and forest floor are all present in this opaque ruby/purple, full-bodied wine. It was aged 18 months in 40% new French oak and is drinking beautifully already, but will last for at least another 4-5 years. This is the sleeper selection in the William Hill Estate lineup as far as I’m concerned."
2011 Eponymous Red Wine, Macallister Vineyard, Sonoma
List price 45.00; Our price 35.99
The grapes come from a sloped area in the MacAllister Vineyard, near the ridge of the Mayacamas Range on the Sonoma side of Mt. Veeder. This vintage immediately pleases with complex aromas hinting of cassis, spicy oak notes, and raspberries. The wine has a firm body and a very well-balanced structure. The flavors replicate the aromas and add nuances of chocolate and rhubarb. This wine’s elegance and refinement starts with the lush entry and continues through the mid-palate on to a long, pleasing finish. Pair with red meats and hard cheeses.
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