A few months back I decided to fill out an application for the Wine Century Club, a group that you can become a member of after you’ve tasted 100 different grape varieties. I sat down with the application and picked my brain for which varieties I’ve tasted. It was easy to come up with about 60, but then I was stuck. Just past half way I found myself left with more tasting to do. Since then I’ve worked my way up to about 80, but it’s tough for someone focused on everyday wines to come across 100 different varieties. But I’ll get there soon.
Given this Wine Century challenge, I’m always excited when I come across a wine with unique grape varieties in it and thanks to Big House Red I was able to check off two more: tannat and sagrantino. And if you’re just starting your Wine Century adventure you could be 13% done with one sip of Big House Red. That’s right, there are a whopping 13 different grape varieties in this wine and the Wine Century Club does allow wines in blends to be counted. Well, that’s true in most cases but there is one exception, the 2005 Giribaldi Cento Uve Lange DOC which has a staggering 152 grape varieties in one bottle and has been ruled as a non-qualifying wine for initial membership. So, my quest continues.
The 2008 Big House Red is a blend of 23% syrah, 14% petite sirah, 9% grenache, 9% montepulciano, 6% mourvedre, 6% sangiovese, 6% aglianico, 6% tannat, 5% nero d’avola, 4% sagrantino, 3% touriga, 3% barbera and 3% petite verdot. The wine was barrel aged in mostly French and American neutral oak.
This wine is available as either a bottled wine or a bag-in-box, but we only tasted the boxed version. And it’s no ordinary box, rather it’s an “Octavin Home Wine Bar” which is branded name for an octagon-shaped box. It looks a little nicer than a regular square box, but to my eyes it functions the same as any other bag-in-box packaging.
The artwork on the label is a little campy / cartoony, which doesn’t set the mood I usually want with a wine, but the juice inside is what really counts.
The complexity on the nose of this wine is outstanding, but not surprising with all the different grapes that go into it. It has mostly raspberry and cherry aromas, but also some cola, leather and black pepper. The palate is bursting with plum, cranberry, red raspberry and black cherry flavors with some spicy pepper kicking in on the finish. The acidity is nearly perfect and smooth tannins give it a nice mouth feel.
It’s not what I would call an elegant wine, but more of a fruit bomb. But it’s still enjoyable as a fruit bomb. This would be a good wine to enjoy with burgers off the grill.
Wine: Big House Red
Variety: Red Blend
Price: $21.99 for 3L (equivalent to $5.50 per bottle)
Here’s what others thought of the this wine:
- The Wine Cask Blog
- The CorkHead
- Norcal Wingman
- West Virginia Gazette
- Wine Chicks Guide to Inexpensive Wines
Disclosure: This wine was received as a sample.