Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Three Double Deckers

Okay, so that title sounds like the intro to a story about a series of juvenile pranks, but it's not.  It's about three wines sent for review by the folks at Wente.  Double Decker is the rebranded Tamas Estates, which we reviewed some months back.  Those wines were surprisingly good, even though we made a crack about the cheap-looking labels.

Well, the rebirth is a continuation of the value concept, but the labels...the labels...they look like they came right out of the back room at your local Kinkos.  Yikes.  Whimsical to the max.  Reminiscent of a 60's sitcom.  Guys, just because a wine is sawbuck priced doesn't mean it needs to look like it.

Anyway, winemaker Karl Wente is striving to strike a balance between fruit-forwardness (if that's a word) and acidity.  This batch of wines definitely favors acidity over fruit, though the Red Blend seems to hit both points on the upswing.  All of these are widely distributed and are in most large grocery stores in all 50 states.  So, you won't have a hard time finding them.

The bottom line on these is that the Red Blend is worth seeking out.  The others, well....not so much.

2009 Red Blend California $10
Well, now.  This really overdelivers.  Warming, round, fun, and gulpable.  Think chocolate-laced black raspberry candy for adults.   Blend of Cab, Petite Sirah, and Barbera.  Easy drinking, friendly, and crowd-pleasing.  Perfect for backyard cookouts.

2010 Zinfandel California $10
Looks like a Pinot in the glass.  Lightness continues on the palate, but there's a little more to this than the color would suggest.  Subtle pepper, easy texture, but a slight acidic bite on the finish that jolts an otherwise lulling wine.  Tough to taste after the Red Blend.

2010 Pinot Grigio California $10

Transparent on the nose and super light in the glass. The floral characteristics come on like hand soap - slicing and medicinal.  Not much in the way of body here, but it is PG, after all.  Where last year's version of this wine under the Tamas Estates brand had a good boost from Viognier and Gewertz, this one reflects the winemaker's focus on acidity over fruit body.  Not for me, but your mother in law would love it.



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