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Displaying items by tag: red blends

Tuesday, 22 May 2018 20:08

Wine Pick of the Week

hidden asset bottle Picmonkey

2016 Hidden Asset


Lucas & Lewellen

Santa Barbara County

Alcohol: 14.1%

Suggested Retail: $29

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 09:55

October 14, 2016 Wine Pick of the Week

FreakshowRed 900 Picmonkey

2014 Freakshow Red


Michael David Winery


Alcohol: 15.5%

Suggested Retail: $20

Saturday, 09 May 2015 11:29

May 8, 2015 Wine Pick of the Week

manteo bottle Picmonkey



2012 Red Wine

American Pioneer Wine Growers

Sonoma County

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $18


“Writers get continual messages about the latest wine releases. Sometimes these accompany unsolicited samples sent for review. Occasionally, however, an e-mailed press release will be intriguing enough for a wine writer to respond and request a bottle be sent. Such was the case with this week’s ‘Pick.’

“According to the Manteo website, American Pioneer Wine Growers marketed wines during the 19th Century using proprietary names derived from American culture.  The name of this company has been resurrected by film director and winery owner Francis Ford Coppola, who apparently wants to develop a brand separate from his own identity or that of two other wineries he owns (the historic Inglenook estate in the Napa Valley and Francis Ford Coppola in Sonoma County). 

"A little internet searching reveals that Manteo is the name of a city in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and that there really was a fellow named Manteo, a Croatan Indian who befriended the English settlers of the Roanoke Colony. Subsequently, he and another of his people, Wanchese, actually traveled to England twice during the 1580’s and lived for short periods there. One can only imagine whether the experience was stranger for the guests or for their hosts.

“It would appear that Manteo was a stand-up guy, who treated the colonists well. The label depicts him as the protector of a white girl, Roanoke Governor John White's daughter who was the first English child born in the New World. We don’t know how closely Manteo resembled his picture on the label, but the packaging of this wine is unusual—it’s handsome and visually arresting.  It doesn’t look like any label we’ve ever seen. 

"The wine's website states, somewhat cryptically, ‘Manteo is the second release in a series of wines that will reveal the name of our new winery in Geyserville.’ The White Doe and Two Arrowheads are additional wines mentioned. Will there be other wines released referencing Indian (native American) lore? We have no idea, but at first glance the theme seems a curious direction. To our knowledge there is no history of Indians vinifying native American grape varieties. However, wild grapes did exist when the earliest European settlers came to this new world and a winery spokeswoman tells us that there is a 400-year-old Scuppernong vine on Roanoke Island. A cutting from it will soon be planted in a vineyard at the as-yet-unnamed winery in Geryserville.

“Marketing aspects aside, we can report that we liked the wine. It’s a blend of eight red wine grapes from Sonoma County: Syrah (28%), Petit Verdot (16%), Cabernet Sauvignon (16%), Cabernet Franc (15%), Petite Sirah (13%), Merlot (6%), Malbec (4%) and Zinfandel (2%). We found aromas of raspberries, white pepper and herbes de Provence (the blend without lavender). In the mouth there is more of that raspberry personality, amplified by plums, some blackberry jam and a bit of spice. This is a dry table wine, but we found it finishes with just a hint of sweetness. There were some subtle aspects we found reminiscent of Rhône grape characteristics (Syrah and Petite Sirah), but more of the personality comes from the Bordeaux varieties and tiny bit of Zin. This Manteo was very juicy and showed a lot of fruit.”

Food Affinity: “Sweet Italian sausages in a tomato sauce with sautéed onions and green peppers.”

Friday, 23 January 2015 12:47

January 23, 2015 Wine Pick of the Week

Sutter Home Red Blend Picmonkey

NV Red Blend


Sutter Home


Alcohol: 13.8%

Suggested Retail: $6


“We didn't particularly like this wine, though others will. Sometimes we select a wine for this weekly feature because it allows us to address a more diverse view of wine than just our own preferences. This non-vintage (NV) red wine is such a case. Wineries are discovering that there's a substantial audience for red table wines sweeter than the traditional style. The Sutter Home Red Blend is well-made; not flawed in any technical way, but it's just too soft and sweet for us. It's comprised of quality grapes—Zinfandel (50%), Merlot (40%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%). Deep berry flavors predominate and there's some vanilla quality, too. What it lacks for our taste—acid, structure and complexity—may make it appealing to that very large percentage of people who have not yet found any red wine that they like. To call this entry-level red wine is not really damning with faint praise. It's modestly-priced and might be a good bottle to have on hand when you're preparing a meal featuring red meat for guests who might not ordinarily favor red wine.”

Food Affinity: “(See comments above) Might also be a winner for those who like chocolate truffles.”

Friday, 26 December 2014 12:14

December 19, 2014 Wine Pick of the Week

14 Hands Red Blend Picmonkey

2012 Hot to Trot Red Blend


14 Hands Winery

Columbia Valley, Washington

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $12


“Blended wine from Washington's Columbia Valley appellation is an appealing combination that offers reasonable sophistication at decent price. Winery says it's mostly Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, with a little boost from other unidentified grapes. We found aromas of raspberry and blackberry with maybe a bit of spice in the background. Flavors tend toward blackberry, plum and Bing cherry. Nice feel in the mouth—decent tannins without being too obvious. The finish is reasonably long, but clean. Overall, we found this blend to be a satisfying wine appropriate with meals or as an aperitif.”

Food Affinity: “After initial review this wine was enjoyed with a grilled New York steak, but we found that hint of cherry to remind us of Sangiovese. Italian dishes in red sauces would also be good companions to Hot to Trot.”

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