leave your inhibitions at the door
Is this where I mention I got a bottle from the winemaker to sample? And that, although it was a freebie, the opinions here are still mine and that I’m not going to be persuaded by it’s low, low price?
I received this wine a while ago and finally got a chance top open it. It’s described simply as a “California Red” which means that it’s a blend of various red wine grapes – probably Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah – that come from all over California.
For those of you not familiar with how appellations (where the grapes were grown) work, here’s a simple rule of thumb – the smaller the better. Let’s say that you have two red wines from the same vintage, one says Napa Valley on the label and the other just says California. The one from Napa is obviously from a smaller geographical area than the one from California. Napa is known for being a terrific grape growing region so chances are the wine is made from good ingredients. The one that says California might actually have some grapes from Napa, but there’s also a chance that the grapes came from Death Valley or just outside Tijuana. About 99.999999% of the time, the one from Napa Valley is going to be a better wine. That 0.0000001%? That one was corked.
Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, Dead Bolt…
I used to be the snobby type to avoid wines that just say “California” as I knew that the quality usually isn’t there. But with these damn kids taking all my wine money for something called “college savings,” I’ve had to be more open to mass-produced wines and learned that there’s a time and place for them.
That’s where Dead Bolt fits in. Some wines are great by themselves and some, like Dead Bolt, shine better when served with food. Even then, you have to be smart about what you’re going to serve it with. If I’m going to spend a significant amount of money and effort putting together a meal of Wagyu NY strip with a blackberry gastrique, I’m going to look past Dead Bolt. But on the flip side, I’m not going to open a 1961 Chateau Mouton Rothschild to enjoy with a burger on a Tuesday night by the pool. I’m sure it’ll still kick ass, but a good food-wine pairing has to go beyond pure flavor to other factors, right?
Anyway, I had the Dead Bolt with a burger and it was a great pairing. In the glass it had a dark rich purple hue. No signs of age which is good, since this is meant to be enjoyed now.
It was dry, with medium acids, low tannin levels, and notes of plums and cherries coming through the nose and on the palate. There was a slight tinge of green pepper, but not much oak to speak of. As expected for a California red, it had a large, jammy mouthfeel. Since it only had 13% alcohol, I felt it was a little out of balance. I wish it would’ve had more body to counter all that fruit. But it wasn’t straight-up Welch’s grape juice like other reds I’ve tasted. That fruit-forwardness worked well with the burger, which was loaded with black pepper and topped with pepper jack cheese.
So there’s definitely a time and place for this wine. And I don’t think the winemakers are saying their wine is better than that ’05 Harlan for which you plunked down $500. Here’s one of their tweets –
Yup, I’d say uncomplicated is a good descriptor.
But wait… it’s Friday, right? This is the day I devote to music on this site. Dead Bolt has a clear passion for rock & roll – the label has that heavy metal album-ish cover design and their Tumblr is devoted almost exclusively to music.
Here’s a cool song featured there from M83 that appears on the “Divergent” soundtrack.
I saw these guys at Lollapalooza a couple years ago and loved their show. Here’s their big hit from a couple years ago –
So thanks to Dead Bolt wines and cheers to another weekend!