Posted by: Dallas Lawrence | November 29, 2010

A Unique Bordeaux Blend From A Relatively New California Winery

This weeks kicks off a whilewind of posts for the Cork Scrooge as I scower wine isles from coast to coast (literally) for the best Holiday wine deals for you and your family. 

As I began my shopping, making my list and checking it twice, I decided to head first to Costco. I had forgotten just how amazing the California Costco wine isles are compared to the pauper’s selection those of us living on the East Coast are forced to endure from the “members only” warehouse distributer. This week I had the opportunity to stock up on several bottles of wine during our family vacation in Southern California. Costco really does it right by bringing in dozens of red wines from all over the world, affordably priced, and – for the discerning eye – quite enjoyable to the palate.

This week we cracked open a bottle from a vintner I was unfamiliar with – Highway 12 Vineyards – so named for the famed California Highway that stretches through some of the most amazing vineyards that comprise California’s fabled wine industry. The winery is a joint venture between some of the best known names in the Valley: Sebastiani, Serres, Sangiacomo and Hill and the grapes are sourced from several fo their vineywards up and down Highway 12.

As I poured the first glass of the Highway 12 meritage I was immediately greeted by a distinct and pleasant nose from the still very young 2008 Bordeaux Blend. You will notice right from the first glass that given a little time in your wine rack, this bottle will be better, tighter and more flavorful.

Even in its relative youthful current state, the Sonoma Valley blend of 34% Cabernet, 33% Cab Franc and 33% Merlot provides a hefty palate filling drink. The Cabernet Franc really drives the flavor of this wine providing something of a blended taste between a typical Sonoma Cabernet and a Central Valley Pinot Noir.

To be honest, for the first 20 minutes this one was a bit tough to review. The initial aromas and first blush tasting inspired optimism that the wine would open up nicely. 10 minutes later the wine had failed to mature as I had expected, not quite as mature and full-bodied as a “Cabernet” and not as smooth and crisp as a good Pinot.

I was about to write that for $13 a bottle – available widely at Costco stores around the country – the 2008 Sonoma Valley blend had a lot to offer a variety of palates, but just not mine. And then, I poured my third glass 20 minutes into the tasting. Redemption!

The 2008 blend is marketed as Highway 12’s Bordeaux blend, and it wasn’t until I let this youngster fully catch its breath that the dry tannins and fruit filled tastes grabbed onto my taste buds.

All in all, this wine offers a unique blend and for $13 deserves a shot at your next holiday gathering.


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