Chateau Julien 2010 Royalty Red

So first, my apologies for taking a month to write another post. The end of February was filled with craziness (read: my 32nd birthday) and March got off to a smashing start when I managed to slice my thumb open with a dull boxcutter blade and ended up in the hospital getting stitches. Plus there’s been basketball, and as a University of Kansas alum, it’s something akin to a religious experience.

That said, I got the stitches out today, so I popped a bottle of wine when I got home. Here’s what I’m sipping right now:

Region: Monterey County, CA
Grapes involved: Merlot, Cab Sauv and Syrah
Cost: $12-ish
Food pairings: The first thing that comes to mind is a turkey sandwich. You’ll see why. Otherwise, go for something that would work with a slightly sweeter red (*not* a *sweet* red, but an off-dry-ish red), like brie covered in berries or something. Plus, I’ve got this sort of obsession with any kind of Syrah blend and a hunk of fresh mozzarella. I don’t know, it’s just lovely.

The wine, if it isn’t apparent in the photo, is a nifty pretty sort of mulberry color, bright and rich and jewel toned. It smells like cherries, carnations, a hint of pepper and lots of berries. It’s a fairly fruit-forward scent – not the raspberry jam bomb of a lot of Zins, but still pretty fruity.

Tasting it, I get cranberry jelly. Absolute, total, no-questions-asked cranberry jelly. Hence the desire to put this with a turkey sandwich: my first few sips made me think of Thanksgiving like woah.* It’s got all the components: tons and tons of bright, tart, very red berry, a hint of clove and allspice, the barest hint of cinnamon, something reminiscent of orange peel. It’s backed up by a hint of vanilla (read: oak), a touch of rose petal and a bit of strawberry and red raspberry. The mouthfeel is soft and luscious and medium-bodied.

So this is pretty much the consummate red blend that’s uber-popular right now. It’s bright and fruit-forward, slightly (but not overly) sweet, has very soft tannins, and is possessed of the requisite (sorry, y’all) annoying name.**

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*I missed Thanksgiving last year due to a badly-timed massive stomach bug, the details of which I won’t share here. So thinking of Thanksgiving makes me alternately really happy (because it’s my favorite holiday ever) and slightly sad (because I missed stuffing my facehole with stuffing last year and I still have 8 months to wait before the next Thanksgiving facehole-stuffing extravaganza).

**I’m not kidding. Red Blends have some positively nonsensical names: Apothic, Hey Mambo,  Rex Goliath Free Range Red, and (I wish I were kidding) Yellowtail Sweet Red Roo (y’all, my head about exploded. That said, the label resembles a bright red disco ball, and I am totally on board with that). I never thought I’d love Blackstone for anything, but the fact that they’ve named their red blend nothing more than “Red Blend” makes me adore them right now.