Jeff’s Corner

Hola Campers,

All eyes these days are turned towards the soon-to-be open Heath Sparkling Wines (this will happen next week, and I can’t wait!), but let’s look away for a moment to check out our just-released 2018 Grand Rouge.

One of the oldest wines in our portfolio, and created by our founder Ned Simes, Grand Rouge has a cult following that rivals that of Bellissimo. Some of our oldest, most loyal members and guests are avid Grand Rouge drinkers, each with their own revered vintage.

It has one of the broadest palate appeals of all our wines, and just yesterday a couple came in and purchased 6 cases (72 bottles) of the brand new 2018. I tried to sell them a pallet (60 cases), but they didn’t have room in their vehicle.

So, what’s led to this enormous, cultic following of our Grand Rouge (or Grande Rogue, as it’s often referred to)? First, it’s a semi-sweet red in a world of sweet wines dominated by whites, blushes, and rosés. 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…

Our 2018 Texas Grand Rouge is 53.8% Tempranillo and 46.2% Sangiovese, with a residual sugar of about 3.5% and an ABV of 13.6%. This is very similar to the super popular 2017.

The color is a bright ruby/purple with brilliant clarity and light to moderate extraction. It has delightfully strait-forward aromas of red plum jelly, blueberry, cinnamon, Luden’s Wild Cherry cough drops (which I loved as a kid), and Welch’s grape juice. At warmer temperatures, delicate floral notes of violet and lilac emerge.

On our palate, this wine is well-integrated with moderate acidity which showcases its sweet fruitiness for a very clean finish. The light structure of this delightful wine makes it extremely quaffable. Cuidado!

Grand Rouge is made for spicy food, and right now I’m thinking about some picante Crawfish Étouffée or Shrimp Creole with Texmati rice and lots of Tabasco.

Laissez les bon temps roulez…