Wine: Hob Nob Vineyards Wicked Red
Grapes: Grenache (40 percent), cabernet sauvignon (35 percent), syrah (15 percent), pinot noir (10 percent)
Region: Vin de Pays D’Oc, southern France
Availability: Widely available in retail, including Lee’s Discount Liquor and Total Wine &More
In the glass: Hob Nob Wicked Red wine is a deep purplish-red color with an inky dense core going out into a blood-red rim definition with medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: It has big bold redolent red and black fruit melange dominated by crushed cherries, black currants, plums and raspberries. All of this lovely fruit is laced with hints of white and black pepper, spice box and freshly cut tobacco leaf, as well as touches of anise and allspice.
On the palate: This wine is an immediate fruit bomb of killer blackberries, cassis and juicy Concord grapes. While all the upfront fruit is working your taste buds over, there’s softness in the mouthfeel that indicates well-ripened tannins and rounded acidity, meaning nice balance in the wine. Through the midpalate there’s persistent fruit and toward the back end to the finish, there’s a kick of sweet black licorice, mocha, peppery spice character and soft minerals.
Odds and ends: According to the dictionary, hobnob originated in the 18th century and means “to drink together, taking turns toasting one another,” but is based on Middle English, where habbe and nabbe together mean to give and take. The company has one of the most innovative and interesting websites of any wines in the market. It keeps changing and it is a lot of fun to play around with, including great tips for food and wine pairings. The wine itself is in a distinctive and now limited edition bottle for 2012, and sports the now often-seen screw cap. It originates from France where this brand was “invented” by the storied Georges Duboeuf winery from Beaujolais, but using fruit from the south of France. I can think of nothing more appropriate for Halloween and shortly thereafter, the Day of the Dead or Dia de Muertos, for which it almost appears the gorgeous designs silkscreened on this bottle were created. Wicked Red needs to be paired with something meaty and bloody to celebrate, so why not try it with a slice of rare beef, perhaps even carpaccio. Finally, the price is to die for at just less than 7 bones per bottle at Lee’s, perhaps a bit more in other locations. Drink it now through 2017.
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.