Sunday brought a determination to cook many things… of course, when I get my this in my head, that means I must experiment with new wine as well. This one, I normally would have turned away from, because Oprah’s mega-warrior endorsement empire had a shit-ton of propaganda as a door hanger on the bottle (I’m not joking. Head over to your closest Target and look at the varieties they have and confirm that there are paper hangers on every bottle. Very odd, and off putting). This was new, on sale, and it got my interest, so I invested in a bottle. The wines are put out by Alexis Traina, who is a wife, mom, and vineyard director at Swanson Vineyards. So she knows her way around a wineglass, how fares the wine?
Not too shabby. It didn’t bowl me over with the taste, however. I see that there are several other varieties that you can online and vote for, as your favorite. I can’t do that until I try the others..so that’s going to likely be the next few wines I try. Let’s get to this one. Target is introducing the line, so I’m guessing that’s your first bet for trying the wines. Since I haven’t been in an actual liquor store for the better part of two years, I am betting that it’s easily found at the neighborhood Binny’s or the mom and pop booze stop down the block. The line is all red blends, so I will definitely have to investigate further before delivering a final verdict via a vote on the Internet.
The fragrance when uncorked is heady, to say the least (and I am). I had a noseful of aroma that was so strong it made me sneeze. For my sinuses being congested, I was grateful. For the aroma, not as much. I let it breathe for a few hours while I was baking and cooking different things, and then took a whiff. Still pretty potent. It’s a gorgeous burgundy color. Flavors that I detected are blueberry, a lot of plum, dark cherries, maybe some chocolate notes, and a whole lot of strong. It is not a flavorless wine, it is brimming with flavor. Especially after letting it air out for awhile. Holy mother of manicotti, it is strong (13.5%, for the wondering few). I had it with the gluten-free chicken parmesan and the garlic spinach I made Sunday night, and it was perfect! I would say definitely go for this with pasta dishes- red pasta dishes. Not sure that all of this pungent flavor would go over well with any sort of alfredo-based pasta dishes, however.
As for what grapes/varietals go into this blend, good question! Ms Traina and the powers that be have not published what grapes go into this. I am going to guess 40% merlot, 20% syrah, 20% cabernet, 20% pinotage. I don’t recognize the grape blend at all, and there’s something about the fullness of the flavor that brings me to guess a pinotage is somehow involved. I haven’t had one of those in years, and the flavor of one mimics some strong percentage of this. But again, guesswork is never fun, and something tells me that we’ll never quite get an answer from the creator as to what’s in the wine, because who doesn’t love a good mystery? Especially in a red wine blend. I did like this wine very much, but it was way too much in general. Meaning so much going on that you don’t know where to begin, what to concentrate on, what to not pair with it. I love the overall flavor, but it was overwhelming to everything- meaning the meal, the dessert, the water that I was drinking with the wine. And one glass brought about enough flavor that the rest of the bottle is sitting there, not a sip drank since that meal. The wine retails for $12.99 at Target, they have it on sale for $8.99, so if you do want a new experience, this is the week to pick up a bottle and give it a shot. I think the wine is way busy, meaning you’re best off just drinking a glass with a small dessert or a small meal. In my case, it was a full three course meal for one, so it kind of went to waste. I will definitely give her other wines a shot and vote.