“Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards has a substantial pedigree. The firm has been producing quality Santa Barbara wines for nearly two decades. Their 2016 Hidden Asset is a blended red wine that includes five constituent grapes. Five varieties is not so unusual these days, but often the five selected are what are known as ‘Bordeaux varieties.’ In the U.S. such wines can be included in a category oft referred to as ‘Bordeaux Blends’ or ‘Meritage’ wines.
“Hidden Asset contains juice from three grapes grown in California, but native to Bordeaux: Malbec (32.5%), Merlot (30%) and Cabernet Franc (2.5%). But this blend becomes a bit more unusual for the inclusion of Syrah (26%) and Petite Sirah (9%). These are also grapes native to France, though not from Bordeaux. Syrah is the principal grape of the northern Rhône Valley. Petite Sirah, also known as Durif, has Gallic ancestry, but it’s obscure in that county and has made its reputation in California.
“All these grape varieties are worthy. Any of them can produce a fine wine by itself or in blends with other grapes. We tried to define Hidden Asset’s personality in terms of Bordeaux (or blends of their grapes as grown and vinified in California) and of the Rhône. We failed. It didn’t seem have the complex subtleties of the former style of wine, nor the leathery, smoky power of the latter. That doesn’t mean it fell short of the mark; it was just a wine that was quite different for our palate. Hidden Asset shouldn’t be over-analyzed. It stands on its own.
“The 2016 Hidden Asset is a rich wine; powerful in a red fruit way. It finishes long and will complement many dishes that have assertive flavors of their own”
Food Affinity: “The winery suggests Hidden Asset is a good choice for a barbecue. We think we’d try to pick up that Syrah quotient by pairing it with a big grilled patty of ground sirloin that’s been wrapped in bacon.”