First sip "Wow, S come try this!". Second sip, my mouth was watering, "JPH, is dinner ready yet?!?"; it does have an intense fruit taste - I got the blueberry notes for the first time, there was a taste of pepper. I was excited, this wine may be a find! Third sip "mmmm, now for the Vinturi."
After the Vinturi: Shudder. My mouth was like a cotton ball had been shoved in it, and my brain could not register that this was from the same bottle of wine. What had just happened?!? The same happened after it was unaerated the next day. It became a tannic hodgepodge of rough flavors.
Raymond is a savvy businessman (ok, there is no Raymond, it is the name of the original owners of one of the estates). The bottle says that they use the age old system of interplanting a variety of grapes on their California property, so the grapes are mixed when they are harvested. "Really?" I ask, because when they list their acreage on the website, all of the fields are described as varietal specific, I wonder, where is this mysterious field of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel (the five primary grapes in this blend of seven)???
I say this because this wine, to me, was like a pretty good fake Chanel bag. Looks classy, is smooth, feels good and you could easily pull it off for one event, but pretty soon, the facade will fade and you'll be left with tatters.
The best way to serve this wine to get full impact of the flavor, price and marketing is: Have a few friends over and pour it quick. Enjoy that first glass, and then move on to another bottle of wine for dinner. It is wholly enjoyable if it does not have time to "open up", because I'll tell you, aerating this wine is like opening Pandora's Box.
Roasted Root Vegetables
And, since Fall is my favorite season, I'll leave you with the beauty of the compost bucket. In what other season can we simply toss such beautiful vibrant colors on a pile and wait for them to break down into nutrients to be used again??? To me, Spring is the season of mud; Summer is the season of brightness and sunshine; Winter is the season of darkness and Fall is when the sunshine and trees are golden and nature shows her true colors.
(Take THAT Monet!)