2 Brothers & A Blackout

I think this might well be one of those wines destined to always be surrounded by a story. Reading on the bottle about how these two brothers came together to create a tribute to their mother and raise money to fight the Big Tattoo Reddisease that took her life is one of the reasons I bought this wine in the first place. Well, that and the fact that this looked like a wine that didn’t play around and after the day I’d had, I didn’t need any wimpy wine. Big Tattoo Red from Chile is a 50/50 blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah, promising a glass filled with some substance.

So I buy the wine. I go home and decide that I’m actually so tense from the day that I need a hot bath (a very rare occasion indeed for me to actually sit still long enough to just sit in a bathtub). I pop the cork (actually I twist the cap but that doesn’t sound as dramatic), pour a glass while the water is running and immediately a delicious aroma fills the air. Now I’m getting excited. Should I get some candles to make it even more relaxing? No, I don’t feel like finding any, I thought. I step into the bath that I accidentally made so hot it felt like it was almost boiling… oops. I finally settle in and take a sip of my wine. Wow. Just what I needed! Ripe berry flavors fill my mouth and I’ve decided I like this wine. A lot.  

Hold that thought… PITCH BLACK. That’s right. My power goes out. I should have lit the damn candles! First I go into panic mode as I am, as previously stated, in the bathtub. I can’t see a thing and my first concern is how to scramble out of the slippery tub (I am now completely aware of the danger of bath oils) without spilling my precious wine and soaking my Blackberry. I tried to think of where all of those decorative candles I had stashed randomly around the house were and set out on my wild goose chase. I might as well have had my eyes closed. Now where are my matches?? Finally I find some supplies and decide that the universe must be trying to tell me something. I’m going to finish my bath and try to relax without any distractions (including light… so overrated) and figure this mess out later. So I lit a few candles and settled back into my steaming hot bath with my lovely glass of wine… oh yeah, I also happened to pick up the bottle whilst on my hunt for candles. I mean, who knew how long I would be in there?

Honestly, I’m glad it happened. It forced me to sit back and actually take a deep breath and fully accomplish what I had set out to do… unwind. It allowed me to clear my mind from the day’s stresses and discover a beautiful wine created for a beautiful reason. It was rich and flavorful and I thought it tasted just like fresh blackberries. A bit tart in the beginning, it opened up and relaxed, softening as it had time to breathe; not unlike myself that night. I would suggest this wine to anyone who is looking for a bold red wine with a lot of personality and style. It was complex and well structured and a great value at only $10. Big Tattoo Red gets a BIG recommendation from me. Bottoms up! 

If You Like Licorice…

Cycles Gladiator Cabernet SauvignonVery rarely (and I mean rarely) do I meet a wine that I absolutely just can not drink. I didn’t even make it through half a glass of this and neither did Andrew (my boyfriend and wine drinking partner). Although there are times when we say, “Eh… this is alright,” we still drink it. We poured this down the sink. The first thing that I noticed was how dark the wine was. It was almost black in the glass and it smelled a little bit like tar. That should have been my first clue. I let it sit for a while because I thought that this might be one that needed some air. Obviously I didn’t give it enough. I’m not saying that this is a bottle that no one would enjoy. The flavors were just all flavors I really dislike. It tasted like a mix of rasperry liqueur (think Chambord) and black licorice (think Jagermeister). I literally shivered. This is not a bottle I will buy again. The best part about this bottle is the pretty label.

I Guess I’m Not The Only One…

I was stocking up for the weekend today at Spec’s on Old Farm (in Houston) and I happened to ask if they had Educated Guess Cabernet. The guy I asked said he had no idea what I was talking about but he would definitely check it out for me. I followed him over to the computer and he was speaking with another employee. The other guy asked me, “Are you the one looking for the Educated Guess?” I said yes and he said, “You’re the third person in two days. We will definitely be ordering some. It should be here next week.” So… if you’re on the look-out for Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon in Houston, you will soon be able to find it at Spec’s. Yummy yum yum! I can’t wait! Of course I managed to get by just fine on their thousands of other selections. Thank goodness I was on some sort of time table. If I’m not, I can just get lost in there for hours reading labels. I’m such a nerd… but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Drink up!

Wine As Interesting As Its Label

I don’t have too much to say about Educated Guess other than it was one of the most interesting Cabernets I have ever had the pleasure to drink. It was incredibly smooth with flavors of juicy blackberries, boysenberries and creamy vanilla. I think it may have been the creaminess that made it so unique. That’s not a texture I’m used to in a Cabernet. I wanted to hold each sip in my mouth, close my eyes and savor it. It was jammy without being overly sweet. It was a true delight.

I will say this, however. I ordered this wine at a tapas and wine and tapas bar called Oporto which specializes in Portuguese wines and foods. They offer other Educated Guess Cabernetoptions, of course, or I would never have ended up with this lovely Californian variety from Roots Run Deep winery. I just didn’t love the wine as much with any of the foods that we ordered. The wine was ordered before the food (obviously first priority). We ate curried lamb meatballs, lump crab meat crepes with bechamel sauce, a marinated portobello mushroom stuffed with spinach and cheese and finally baked brie with fig preserves, strawberries and sliced pears. Does that sound like a delicious meal or what? Oh it was. The Educated Guess didn’t taste unpleasant with the food… it just didn’t add anything to the meal and the meal didn’t accent the wine, either. This is definitely a wine I would buy again, but perhaps just to enjoy on its own. I have not found this wine in a store yet but am keeping my eyes open for it. After doing a little research I learned that all the chaos on the label is actually meaningful. Those are five different formulas that are used in winemaking. Who knew?

If you are in Houston and happen to make it over to Oporto on Richmond (which I would highly recommend) you should try the Estampa Cabernet/Syrah blend from Chile. This was my companion’s order and upon first sip I was certain I had once again out-ordered him. It was almost too dry but once it had a second to open up and breathe in the glass it was absolutely gorgeous and it was even better with everything we ordered. I am always impressed with a wine that can pair beautifully with so many different types of foods. That is no easy task. It was definitely much drier than the Educated Guess and had flavors of cherries and black pepper but still had a very slight hint of vanilla on the finish… very seductive. My second glass of the night was a 2004 Barahonda that was also smooth and dry but, like the Educated Guess, did not pair as well with the foods as the Estampa.