Wine: Oreana Winery ? Red Wine 2005
Grape: syrah (55 percent), cabernet sauvignon (45 percent),
Region: Santa Barbara, Calif.
Price: $5.99 per bottle.
In the Glass: This Oreana Winery ? blended wine is a deep garnet red color with a dense opaque core going out into a fine slightly tinged rim definition with medium painted viscosity.
On the Nose: There is a tremendous olfactory explosion of berry fruit character with crushed blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and Morello cherries and underlying notes of spicebox, black peppercorns, tobacco and earthy minerals.
On the Palate: In the mouth, this wine just hits the palate with a serious fruit force, dominated by black cherry preserve, forest berries, spiced cranberry, huckleberry sauce, aniseed and blackened steak. The midpalate is really very balanced, and while the tannins are powerful, they are also harmonious in mingling with the fruit, yet showing some rustic pepper character from the syrah. The finish is excellent with some raspberry jam and Good Earth Tea, while lingering for at least 25 seconds.
Odds and Ends: The name of the wine is literally Question Mark (?), and the Oreana Winery is the only one located in the middle of downtown Santa Barbara, making visits easy.
A thoroughly well-made wine that is absolutely drinking deliciously right now and for another 2-3 years to come. This wine can handle a lot in the food department, but might be especially well-suited for sturdy, hearty meat dishes, especially off the grill.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.