Varietal: Sangiovese and Merlot
Region: California – USA
Cost: $16 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: Dark cherry color, with aromas of oak, vanilla, and plum. On the palate the wine has great tannic structure, with cherry and hints of smokiness. Pairs well with prime rib, barbecue ribs, and cherries flambe.
My Review: I’ve tried several Biltmore wines before, and some have impressed me more than others. When I received this particular one and was reviewing the tasting notes, the first thing that jumped out at me was the mention of pairing with BBQ ribs. Given that my wife and I had recently talked of picking up some ribs to cook, it seemed like destiny. Destiny is rarely what it’s made out to be.
After cooking up the ribs, and a side of some cheesy chipotle noodles, the wine was opened and poured. In the glass the wine was dark, with hints of violet streaking through it. On the nose I got mostly plum and a touch of cherry. In the mouth the wine brought more of the cherry, though it did, thankfully, avoid being a fruit-bomb, but I never found any of the smokiness that was advertised, which was a shame since that would have been a great pairing with the ribs.
Speaking of the food pairing, the wine paired well enough, but it didn’t really do anything to make the ribs pop like I had hoped it would. As a whole I found the wine underwhelming – not necessarily bad, just nothing to get excited about. The wine wasn’t any more spectacular without the food, continuing to present the single cherry note even after having time to open up a bit.
Like I said, I’d hesitate to call this wine “bad”, but it just didn’t do anything for me. It wasn’t memorable, either in a good way or a bad way. It was a just sorta meh. That’s fine in a table wine, but I can also get table wines that impress me more for less than $16, which is where my hang-up with this wine comes. Knock off $5 from the wine and I might be a bit more inclined to forgive it some of its failings.
*Note: This wine was received as a free sample