Variety: Grenache, Syrah, Assorted Bordeaux Varietals
Region: Rhone, Roussillon, and Bordeaux
Cost: $19 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: A dominant nose of raspberry, rhubarb, and wild strawberry are complemented by savory aromas of humid tobacco, lavender, and rose petal. An immediate entry of cranberry and other red fruit leads to a touch of savoriness. The wine is fresh and lively with great acidity and approachable tannins.
My Review: Lots of countries have rules on how you can make wine there. France is probably the most well-known, with their rules about Champagne being the one winemaking rule that most people can point to. David Phinney, founder of Orin Swift Cellars, has found a way around that by sourcing grapes from around the world and making them here in the states.
The wines are non-vintage (even though they’re a single vintage production), but don’t fall into the same categories as a lot of your standard table wines – there’s quality at a great price. I’ve been lucky enough to get to try the current releases of the France, Spain, and Argentina wines, but today we’ll start off with the F4 France release.
In the glass the wine was a garnet color. On the nose I picked up strawberry and lavender, while in the mouth the wine showed some subtly tart notes of cranberry and candied fruit. This isn’t a heavy wine that coats your mouth, instead being bright and sippable, perfect for pairing with a variety of foods.
My wife and I paired the wine with a dinner of orzo pasta and chicken sausage soup. There was diced tomatoes and spinach involved, and the combination made me think a lighter bodied red with good acid would be a good pairing. It was, though truth be told there wasn’t as much acid in the wine as the notes would have lead me to believe. Pairing the wine with the food brought out some aromas of tobacco, though that may have been a result of the wine having time to open as we dined.
For less than $20 I like this wine. While the presentation and lack of vintage will likely place it in the table wine category for most people, and fairly so, it shows more character and substance than most sub-$20 table wines, and I think it’s versatile enough to enjoy by itself or with a range of food. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly wine that you won’t regret sipping on, the F4 from Location Wines is one worth considering.
Editor’s Note: I received this wine as a free sample for review.