Jeff’s Corner

Howdy Doody, everyone!

My pal and coworker, Gordon, pretty much nailed it years ago when he described our Grande Rouge as “The preferred wine of beer drinkers everywhere.” Indeed, its popularity is undeniable (often our best selling wine), and it fills a very important niche in our portfolio.

So, what has led to this enormous, cultic following of our Grande Rouge (or Grand Rogue, as it’s often referred to)? First, it’s a semi-sweet red in a wold of sweet wines dominated by whites, blushes, and roses. Second, it’s served chilled (I recommend 45-50 degrees), and many folks want their beverages cold.

Finally, it is aged in stainless steel and never sees the inside of an oak barrel. This gives the wine a very bright, clean finish that really allows the fruit flavors of the grapes to show their stuff. When I was a kid, Grapette was one of my favorite sodas. I wonder why…

Well, all this brings us to the new 2015 Grande Rouge, which I am enjoying at my desk right now while I face the burden of writing yet another wine review. At 2.63% residual sugar, we have about the same sweetness as the 2014. However, for the first time, we find Tempranillo blended with the dominant Sangiovese. The alcohol by volume is 13.5%.

The color is a lightly extracted, brilliant ruby. The nose is delightful, with bright aromas of strawberry, raspberry, cherry, and red licorice. Intense red fruit dominates the palate from start to finish, with a crisp backbone of acidity to balance the sweetness.

With medium body and a rich mouthfeel, the new Grande Rouge begs for a broad range of spicy foods. Barbecue, Cajun, and Asian would all be a good choice. Kathy and I will try it tonight with some spicy green chile and beef enchiladas I’m about to make. I’ll let you know how it worked, now off to the kitchen.