I'm not going to lie to you: I'm a drinker. But I am not the sort of drinker who can write with a sommelier's genius about a wine's nose or residual sugars or whatever else it is that reduces me to sticking with the same bottles again and again and again.
And so it was that I sent the man of the house out with orders to get something -- anything -- from California, and just for fun make sure the anything in question had an interesting label.
He scratched his head, shrugged his shoulders and headed out the door with this ill-defined directive ringing in his ears. When he returned, he had a bottle of Joe Blow Red (I will not even waste your time on the other bottle he scored -- Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin. Sipping it made me sad).
Joe Blow Red ($10) is a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Billed as a serious wine with a none-too-serious label, you definitely get a lot of fun, fruity taste (I'm guessing that's from the Syrah and Zin, maybe?) with a hint of Cab kick. One wine writer suggested chilling it for 20 minutes to make it more refreshing in the warm weather, but me, I'm more of a room temperature red kind of girl, just on principle. Though it took me a while to warm up to it, it's not a bad wine; it's something I could see drinking with a grilled pork tenderloin or barbecued chicken breast, but it wouldn't stand up too well to a nice New York strip steak. And I would bet (just a hunch here) that this would be a perfect base for a homemade sangria.
Just a hunch.
If you try it, let me know what you think.