It's always a little icky to think that the wine you're drinking is just some marketer's idea of targeting a specific segment or niche in the marketplace. What happened to passionate people coaxing bottled poetry from the earth in the pursuit of something transcendent of mere grapes??? I mean, c'mon, isn't that where we all want our wines to come from?
Well there are only so many of those types of wineries and wines, and the reality that's been beaten into everyone in the market these days is that its possible to make perfectly good wine, even excellent wine, under the guise of huge corporate behemoth wine companies and in service of very specific marketing aims. In fact, that's where most of the really affordable wine is being made these days, and there's nothing wrong with a drinkable wine that you can buy in most any supermarket. Witness Two Buck Chuck (not that I would consider that drinkable under most circumstances).
Two-Tone Farm is a new venture by Beringer that seems specifically targeted at, well, me. To be exact, me about 8 years ago: a young, urban, single professional interested in music, nightlife, decent food, fun with friends, and, oh yeah, drinking decent wine that I don't have to pay an arm and a leg for.
Hip art on the labels from Santa Fe painter Patrick McFarland; a promotional CD filled with music from (halfway decent) small bands to accompany every release; not a single cork used on any bottle they produce - screwcaps all the way. This is a brand that has been carefully focused on a very different segment of the wine drinking public than those who would normally consume any of the 121 million of bottles that Beringer produces a year.
All of this would be just an interesting marketing anecdote, and might not even merit mentioning here at Vinography if the wines weren't actually decent. This Merlot reminds me of the reason that Merlot became so popular in the first place. It's easy to drink, has great fruit flavors and mellow tannins, and goes great with lots of different foods.
Two Tone is made by Danielle Cyrot, a young (not even 30 yet) winemaker whose name might ring a bell only for the most extreme and long standing fans of French Burgundy. Cyrot comes from a family of winemakers in France who are part of the Hospices de Beaune. The name Cyrot does not appear on any label, but there is a vineyard with that name, and a family with decades of history producing Burgundy. After spending most of her life thinking she wasn't going to be involved in wine at all, she found herself at UC Davis for a Physical Therapy degree and just for kicks took a couple of wine classes. As they say, it was all downhill from there. Cyrot is now the assistant winemaker at Stags Leap in addition to her role at Two Tone.
Despite their very focused and well executed brand campaign, Two Tone doesn't yet have a Web site, so I'm unable to direct you to where you can find out more information about the wine or the winemaking.
But maybe you can just go out and buy a bottle and see for yourself.
Garnet in color, this wine has dominant aromas of bright cherry and plums, with a hint of earthiness. In the mouth its all cherry and cola flavors supported by light tannins, with the plum coming back in the smooth if unimpressive finish.
This is a great wine for exactly the purpose the brand was created: everyday casual dining. Give it pizza, give it meatloaf, give it fried chicken.
Overall Score: 8.5/9
How much?: $12-15
This wine should be available at supermarkets and at your local wine store.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
What's Holding Wine Back in America Vinography Images: From the Fog The World's First Wine Bar Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 31, 2015 Vinography Images: Sky Drama Secrets of the World's Best Wine Lists Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 24, 2015 Vinography Images: The Happy Canyon Drinking Time Itself: The Champagnes of Anselme Selosse The Great Prosecco Crisis of 2015
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