Fall is a good time to start sampling and buying red wines again. With that idea in mind, I have some new wines to share with you. At this time of year, I find I need to make a gradual transition from summer white wines into the heavier fall red wines. Today, I would like to introduce you to a good transition red wine and some others that offer good pairings for everything from wild game to chocolate.
Hopping Red 2009 (48835)
What's with wine and the image of rabbits? It may have all started with the very popular French Rabbit wine but this wine has done as rabbits will do and expanded. So much so that they have now they reached the western shores of the United States. I'm talking about the California Rabbit 2009 Hopping Red (48835). While the French version comes in an environmentally friendly tetra pack the American edition comes in a screw top bottle that is 30 per cent lighter than conventional glass bottles thus reducing this wine's carbon footprint by a whopping 25 per cent.
Being environmental is one thing, but what about the contents of the bottle? Hopping Red is a blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Ruby Cabernet. Ruby Cabernet is a hybrid of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan grapes. I thought the colour of this wine was bright raspberry or cherry with both of those aromas on the nose but was more cherry in flavour. Hopping Red is a dry, light to medium-bodied wine for $13.99. If you want to serve this easy sipper with food I would suggest something Italian and tomato based.
Shiraz 2009 Reserva (133520)
35 South is a Chilean winery with roots dating back a hundred and fifty years. Today, this winery has vineyards stretching from Chile's Bio Bio valley to Elqui. The grapes for this 35 South Shiraz 2009 Reserva (133520) were grown in both the Elqui and the Aconcaqua valleys and after hand picking the juice was fermented on the skins to extract the intense ruby colour. Four months of oak aging helps to integrate a wine with depth and the aroma and flavour of black cherry and red berry fruit with lingering hints of black pepper and toast. Lots of fruit flavours on the palate with blackberry and spice with good balance and a decently long finish. This wine is ready for drinking now but the wine maker suggests it should improve over the next few years. At $13.99, this might be a wine to serve with lamb or venison.
Reserve Langhorne Creek Shiraz Viognier 2007 (923193)
Finders Seekers is a ngociant wine. Ngociant is a French term meaning the wine maker or a wine producer who does not grow their own grapes but sources out fruit from independent growers and then makes their own wine. The advantage of this production system is that the producer is able to select the best fruit available. James Evers a wine maker for McGuigan blends the Shiraz Viognier wine from the region of South Australia with delicious results. A rich purple with some red highlights, this wine fill the glass and offers aromas of plum and a hint of flowers and spice. This medium to full-bodied wine is loaded with plum and ripe cherry fruits and a fine tannic finish. This wine makes a great companion to a grilled steak or pot roast.
Malbec Old Vine 2008 (544403)
I've said before that wine made from old vines has a richness that isn't present in wine from younger vines. Because old vines produce fewer clusters of grapes with fewer berries, the juice is concentrated. Often this is reflected in the price but in this Llama 2008 Malbec (544403) from the Mendoza province of Argentina, that can't be said. For $14.95 a bottle, you get a wine that is produced from vines that are around 100 years old and by award winning wine maker Bertrand Beurdil, formerly of Mouton Rothschild. The dense ruby colour alone tells of what will be found in the glass. Red currant, black plum with a sense of dried fruit and toasty oak is what I noticed in the aroma. All of that and more, this wine has an almost sweet mouth feel. There was some soft, easy tannin in a lingering finish that rounded out the experience. This is a wine that would be good serve with mild cheese, poultry or served with a chocolate desert.