Vintner's Blend #10 Reviewed...

"Get out of that taste rut with these originals." by Matt Kramer, The Oregonian, Sunday April 11, 2010

Abacela "Southern Oregon" Vintner's Blend #10 Red Table Wine: Various wines from Abacela winery in Roseburg have appeared in this space numerous times over the years. The reason is simple: Abacela makes terrific wines with grape varieties that other in Oregon never previously pursued.

Most of these exploratory varieties were Spanish grapes such as tempranillo and albariño. But Abacela also planted grapes that other in southern Oregon were already tinkering with, such as syrah, malbec, grenache, cabernet franc and viognier.

Abacela regularly purchases grapes from its southern Oregon colleagues. And that, in effect, is the story of its annual bottling designated Vintner's Blend red table wine. This latest version, Vintner's Blend #10, is sourced from five vineyards in addition to Abacela's own plantings: Alta Seca Vineyard, Delfino Vineyard, McCorquodale Vineyard and Pheasant Hill Vineyard.

This red table wine is composed of a boggling 14 grape varieties: tempranillo (39 percent), syrah (16 percent), merlot (10 percent), cabernet sauvignon (9 percent), petit verdot (5.5 percent) and minor amounts of graciano, cabernet franc, dolcetto, malbec, viognier, tannat, mourvédre, albariño and grenache.

Too often, such wildly disparate assemblages result in a wine of no real character. Such blends can be muddy-tasting and lack flavor focus. That's not the case here.

Abacela "Southern Oregon" Vintner's Blend #10 Red Table Wine (which does not show a vintage, by the way) is a ripe-tasting, rich red with the bright focused spiciness and refreshing acidity of tempranillo enhanced- rather than diminished- by the addition of all those other varieties.

This is a red wine that fairly begs for hearty, robust foods such as bean stews, chili, grilled meats, sausages and the like. Also, it will surely benefit from additional bottle age as the fruitiness of this red is substantial and still quite youthful. Worth noting is that this freshness is enhanced by the use of a screwcap closure.

At $15.95 a bottle, this is an outstanding deal in flat-out good red wine of real character with not a shred of pretension.


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