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January 6, 2017 Wine Pick of the Week

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Bogle Essential Red 2014 Picmonkey

2014 Essential Red

 

Bogle Vineyards

California

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $ 10

“Ask somebody in the wine business about the secret of Bogle’s success and you’re likely to get the response, ‘they over-deliver,’ meaning that their affordably priced wines almost invariably taste better than you might expect.

“Bogle provides what the consumer wants, without gimmicks or cutesy labels. Their wines have tended to be defined by the names of grape varieties in straight-forward fashion. However, as blended red wines have become more popular in the marketplace, wineries are stretching to put names to their products in this category. By law, for a wine bottle to be labeled with a varietal name such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel, it must contain at least 75% of that grape. Any less and you must either give it a proprietary name or simply call it ‘red wine,’ a generic definition that carries little prestige for the average consumer.

“Essential Red is Bogle’s blended red wine. The 2014 vintage contains nearly equal parts of four varietal grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon (28%), Petite Sirah (27%), Zinfandel (25%) and Syrah (20%). As such, it gives Bogle an entry in this very popular category of blended reds. It also ticks another box on a wine marketer’s wish list—it’s just a tiny bit sweet. When Bogle was contemplating producing a wine to appeal to those consumers who might have put been off by bone-dry reds, there was some difference of opinion. Marketing factions lobbied for sweetness, Bogle winemakers argued against that direction. Apparently, a compromise was reached. Though Essential Red has been on the market since 2011, last week was the first time your reviewer had tried it. A sweet red wine that wasn’t Port? Well, why bother with something like that, went his thinking.

“Why indeed. First of all, Essential Red—at least the 2014 vintage—isn’t all that sweet. This wine is full, fruity and has just enough residual sugar to make it palatable for people who tend to find most red wines too much for them. And there are so many more of those folks than there are wine reviewers who might be used to wines a bit drier. Essential Red might be forgiven if it were just a not-quite-dry red wine not showing any particular character of its own—there’s certainly a market for that taste (or lack of it). However, Essential Red exhibits a lot of personality. There’s definable fruit—aromas and tastes of cherry, plum and berries. While it didn’t taste exactly like any one of its components, we found aspects of Cabernet and Zinfandel and a little brooding smokiness likely contributed by the Syrah. There’s a lot to like in this wine, even for a jaded reviewer.

“With national retail pricing hovering around $10, Essential Red is affordable and likely to please a lot of consumers. If it serves as an introduction for those who hadn’t previously enjoyed red wines, it’s almost a public service. Your reviewer enjoyed drinking the 2014 Essential Red through an entire dinner and forgot that he wasn’t supposed to like it.”

Food Affinity: “Pretty much anything you’d ordinarily pair with red wine should work. Meat loaf or stuffed bell peppers with a tomato-based sauce that would contribute both acidity and sweetness might be very nice.”

 

Editor’s Note:  Wines reviewed in Taste CaliforniaTravel are encountered by our staff in several ways. They can be discovered at trade tastings or visits to wineries. They may also be purchased by staff members for their own tables or be those sent by wineries for possible review. This is an editorial feature, not advertising, and appearance cannot be secured by payment. More information can be had by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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