Let me be clear: my beef isn't that the majority of these wines taste like ass. It isn't even that somehow this trend has become so ubiquitous it has skewed the way an entire category of wines is being talked about. It's that it is misrepresentation. At a minimum, under-representation. Imagine filling up your gas tank with the usual Plus grade and then realizing that it's actually diesel.
While I am a huge advocate of bringing adults off the wine-drinking sidelines - and acknowledge that these wines play an important role in that evangelism - the way these wines are being marketed is causing me to retreat to imports and varietal wines simply to avoid the entire category. And that's a crying shame. Some of the most enjoyable wines out there are blends. But how's a consumer supposed to distinguish between incredibly enjoyable wines like Paraduxx (Duckhorn) or Phantom (Bogle) and wines with names like Amitage, Refresh, and Menage a Trois Red?
What broke the camel's back was the wine pictured above, the Big Red Monster. It's got trouble written all over it. Roger Gentile, whose opinion I've come to more or less trust over the years, showered it with the following praise:
"I am here to tell you though this is a very tasty wine...It is dense and lush and abundant and linear. What it is not is elegant or refined, more a Hulk Hogan than a Muhammad Ali. Given the price is $10, this is a good drinker and bountiful red that will make a gathering."Okay, so I should have paid closer attention to the Hulk Hogan reference, but there is little to love about this disjointed, silly flab of a wine. Now, here's the thing - Roger's no dummy. He's been selling wine since I was in diapers. So, how can we be so far apart on this? Because "red blend" no longer means what it used to. The market is now so flooded with these off-dry (or flat out sweet) red wines that the category of "red blends" has, regrettably, become synonymous with high residual sugar kitchen sink reds. And this is the baseline against which the above description was based.
For these reasons, I'm done drinking "red blends" for fear of being duped yet again.
Okay, rant over.