Wine: Grand Pacific Starliner Red
Grapes: Petite sirah (50 percent), grenache (28 percent), pinot noir (7 percent), cabernet sauvignon (5 percent), merlot (4 percent), syrah, zinfandel
Region: St. Helena, Calif.
In the glass: Starliner Red is a fairly deep ruby-red in color with a semiopaque appearance, going out into a light pinkish-red rim definition and surprisingly high viscosity.
On the nose: There is excellent red berry fruit at first, then crushed brambleberry, loganberry juice, vanilla, creme caramel, oak references and raspberry jam, with just a hint of underlying mineral character.
On the palate: Starliner Red is a lovely, rounded blast of berry fruit with dominance by raspberries, blueberries and boysenberries. Then the fine structure in the wine goes into a soft, lush fruit midpalate with lots of berries, then minerals and hints of aniseed. The finish is wonderfully supple with no obtrusive tannins and a nice lingering blackberry, cherry and licorice root finale.
Odds and ends: This is a mega-blended California wine that will be a sure-fire hit with consumers at less than $5. This wine is made for prime rib, so try it with a good slice medium-rare with plenty of au jus on the side. Because it is from the well-regarded — for California — vintage of 2005, it should have about two to three years of life for good solid drinking.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at email@example.com.