I love Coopers Hawk winery and restaurant. I usually love all of their wines. Of course, as in all other things, there is always an exception. This is the exception. The last Coopers Hawk wine I tried was the bottle Nicole got me for Christmas, and that was probably one of my all-time favorites from that winery. This is the bottle she got me for my birthday. I did sample a little beforehand, but was distracted in matters of the mind, so I don’t think the focus was all there. Regardless, it’s a gift, who am I to turn my sniffer up at it?
As you can guess, this was Coopers Hawk’s red wine of the month for April, 2014. It is a straight down the middle mix of syrah and grenache. Grenache is a scary proposition for me; I always feel as if there should be a chocolate grenache cake sitting nearby for me when I’m done tasting the wine. Not the case, unfortunately. Grenache is a spicy, berry-flavored wine that mixes well with other varietals; hence this blend. It also has a higher alcohol content; so if not prepared, the shit will knock the bricks out of your chimney. (Psst…one glass did me in… wait, that’s not unusual with any wine. Nevermind!) Syrah is normally a full-bodied grape. It has flavors of spice, blackberry, and pepper notes. It’s high in tannins, whereas the grenache not as much. The problem is that sometimes the dominant flavor of the individual wines take over and it’s all out warfare between the two blends. It’s almost as if you aren’t sure what you’re tasting because there’s way too much going on. That’s what it felt like here…a lot going on, almost too much high acidity and tannin levels that cancel out the flavors the wines were bringing to the blend.
You’re supposed to have chocolate-covered cherry accents, along with a bunch of fruit flavors, some licorice and a slight vanilla finish. This is what the label promise. I taste nothing more than some slight chocolate notes, very dark fruit (blackberry? jam?), and a lot of what tastes like tobacco. I thought I was nuts or inhaling cigar smoke trapped within my kitchen’s walls, but a quick check of the Coopers Hawk wine blog does confirm that there are notes of tobacco. YUCK. I did not care for that aspect, and as I said, too many individual fruits and entities competing for the singular taste here. I didn’t get any vanilla finish from the wine at all. I let it sit for a full week before I ventured another glass. I will still unimpressed by the overall taste.
The wine goes well with burgers- it went over very well with my black bean burgers with the caramelized red onions and spinach salad. I had it the second time with turkey burgers and jalapeno cheddar cheese. That, in particular, set off something in the wine. It reacted very well to the jalapeno cheese. I would say if you’re doing burgers with the wine, try a spicier cheese; if not jalapeno, maybe habanero or pepper jack. This wine would probably go real well with pot roast.
Not sure what the wine retails for, as it was a gift. Usually their wines go for around $13 a pop, often more, depending upon the strength of the wine and whether it’s one of the “Luxe” blends….obviously, the only place you can get a bottle of this is at your closest Coopers Hawk winery, or go to CoopersHawkWinery.com to order a bottle for yourself. As I said, definitely not in my favorites list. I can’t wait to try my next Coopers Hawk vintage, however. This one was just a little bit too high in acidity and overall fruit overload so it was hard to distinguish one wine flavoring from 13 others. I’m sure this will be right up someone’s alley, just not mine.