Wine: Babble Red Wine
Grapes: Petit sirah, syrah, merlot, carignane, grenache, malbec
Region: Mendocino County, Calif.
Availability: Trader Joe’s
In the glass: Babble Red Wine is a deep semi-opaque crimson-red color with a dark ruby-red core going out into a fine, light pinkish-red rim definition with medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: It has a delicate predominantly red fruit bouquet dominated by crushed red plum skins, red grape juice, some cassis, milk chocolate, licorice root and phenolic compounds interlaced with fresh minerals and red flowers.
On the palate: This wine is light-bodied in style with a decent red fruit backbone in the form of structure made up of the tannins, mingling with the acidity and the fruit. There are lovely red fruits with red plums, raspberries and cherries dominating through the midpalate. The finish reveals that while not terribly complex, it does have good balance and for an easy-drinking wine, that’s not a bad thing at all.
Odds and ends: My grandfather was a huge fan of Lewis Carroll, who wrote “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” and so he would read Carroll’s books to me when I was a child . Imagine my surprise and disbelief looking at this label, for is that not Sir John Tenniel’s illustration of “A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale” from “Alice’s Adventures”? But wait, there’s something wrong with this one, as Alice has been replaced by a mysterious looking gryphon and the mouse is holding a glass of red wine while telling its tale. It’s an absolutely genius label for a wine bottle and beautifully rendered, with the mouse “babbling,” hence the name. Even if you don’t buy this, you should pick up a bottle and read the Babble, because it is utter nonsense but really hilarious. It’ll have you turn and twist the bottle in hand trying to figure it out. The back label begins, “We won’t bore you with overwrought descriptions of Babble,” so neither will I. It retails for less than $7, so there’s not much to say other than it is a good buy and perfectly refreshing for this time of year.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.