Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Field Blend: 2009 Whiplash Redemption

Whiplash Redemption is the unfortunate name of a very decent field blend red from Reata of Napa Valley.  At their website they offer a corny story about training a particularly spirited wild horse.  I won't recount the story here because, if the truth be known, I didn't read it.  If you want to read the story of how this wine acquired its Whiplash Redemption name go to www.whiplashwines.com.

The blend here is standard California fare for this kind of offering: 65% Syrah, 25% Barbera, and 10% Zinfandel.  These are all fruity grapes and the wine displays aromas of red fruits like strawberries and cherries and palate flavors of black fruits like plums and blackberries.  This unpretentious red's charm lies in its inherent amiability and wide variety of applications.  Have it with your red sauce pasta, barbecue, grilled meats, hamburgers, cheeses...you get the idea.

Historically a field blend was a red wine made from an assortment of grapes grown together in the same vineyard, harvested at the same time and vinted together on-site, an economic way to make wine for sure.  While this blue collar version of winemaking seems unsophisticated, I'm not so sure it is, at least in current application.

Today the grape varieties used in California field blend red wines like Redemption are sourced from vineyards that have historically demonstrated their prowess.  One hundred fifty years ago European immigrants carried cuttings of such grapevines from their homes in Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, or lesser regions to their destinations in California with the intention of making the same kinds of wines they had back home, ie., field blends. Using their historical advantage, savvy contemporary winemakers can now pick and choose what fruit from what place offers what component that would be a desirable dimension to flesh out a blend.  Not unsophisticated, but rather, historically enlightened.

Whiplash was the best selling wine at last Friday's tasting here at the store.  This wine was about as soft and easy-drinking as they get and that was what our tasters wanted that evening.  This Friday, September 6th from 5 to 7pm, Tommy Basham of Continental Beverage presents an array of wines that will include Villa Rubini Friuli Italian Pinot Grigio.  A century ago, before Bolla and Santa Margherita amongst others fundamentally simplified the product, Italian Pinot Grigio was more in the style of a lush French Meursault.  Rubini is a throwback to that style and a white wine counterpoint to Whiplash.  Please join us on Friday and experience Rubini.

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