A month or so ago en route to visiting my sister I had stopped at Fairview Wines, which is near her house and one of my favourite wine shops, to pick up a couple of bottles for us to enjoy. They were holding a mini-tasting of a few bottles of California wines that were a recent addition to their shelves. I of course sampled the collection and happily purchased Stark Raving Red. I found the small taste I had to be simple and enjoyable, and I thought it would be a great companion to hockey night at the rink, snacking on assorted cheeses and watching my husband on the ice.
Rosenblum Cellars are a collection of 30 small wineries located across the state of California, and are known primarily for producing over 20 types of Zinfandel. Stark Raving Red is the result of their penchant for experimenting with unconventional varietal pairings in order to produce a whimsical, engaging budget friendly wine. Paralleling their grape experimentation, they do not use a vintage so they are able to select grapes from an array of harvest years. Grapes in this bottling were sourced from the Central Coast [80%] and Lodi [20%]. With a goal of creating new wine lovers and also appealing to the budget-conscious, they believe their playful and bold blends “prove a little dose of madness can lead to extraordinary things”.
Dark ruby in colour, after aerating aromas of fresh raspberry and strawberry mingled with earthy tree bark and sweet vanilla in the glass. Jammy raspberry and cherry flavours united with tart cranberry and odd but pleasant sweet caramelized onion notes in the medium body. Spicy black peppercorn along with traces of mocha and woodsy oak lingered neatly in the moderate finish. Although I’m not a fan of the “6% other” grape content, jammy flavours and a straightforward sensibility make for a fun, friendly glass.
34% Tannat, 28% Zinfandel, 18% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Sirah, 6% other
Vinted & Bottled by Rosenblum Cellars, Sonoma