I have been searching for some lower priced wines that I can serve at a large birthday party and at a wedding, and I have already reviewed a possible choice here but I think I may end up serving this Sagelands because it is extremely accessible and I think most people will love it.
A friend of mine suggested this wine to me and after taking the bottle home I came across the "best buy" designation in my latest Wine Spectator. This wine is a big commercial release, which I tend to try and avoid (both drinking and writing about), but I'm always on the lookout for good values and great flavors regardless of the provenance. Produced by the Chalone Wine Group, which owns the Chalone and Dynamite labels among others, it's almost a textbook explanation for why America loves Merlot -- approachable, fruity, a little bit of spice, but generally something you would want to drink while standing around in an art gallery or reheating some leftovers at home.
Colored somewhere between blood and ruby red, the wine opens with a nose of plum, rasins, eucalyptus, and i'll be darned if it isn't a little bit of cooked artichoke aroma in there. The body of the wine is soft with fruit flavors of currants, plum, and notes of black pepper. The tannins sit forward in the mouth, softly, and allow the wine to finish very smoothly.
I think this is a particularly good cheese wine (not for the kind of serious cheese you might be used to serving with wine, but mellower, art party type of cheese) that you might throw into a picnic basket and head off into the hills for some prosciutto and brie sandwiches with rosemary fig confit.
Overall Score: 7.5/8
How much?: $12-15
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
Warm Up: Tannins I'll Drink to That: Winemaker Andy Erickson Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 17, 2016 Vinography Images: Bright Emerald Warm Up: Hermitage I'll Drink to That: Winemaker Jean-Louis Chave World's Greatest Sommelier Success Stories Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 4/17/16 I'll Drink to That: Christian Seely of AXA Millésimes A Rescued Vintage: 2013 Burgundy Highlights from La Paulée
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune