Must-Try Wine of Week: 2013 The Convoy Santa Barbara County Red

The popularity of red blends has soared in recent years, with Nielsen’s January 2015 report indicating that the red blend category accounts for $900 million in retail wine sales. “Wines & Vines” Direct Shipping Report indicates that red blends were the third-most-shipped wine in 2014, after cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir.

This wine was first introduced as a Trader Joe’s exclusive last year and is now available in limited quantities. It is vinified by an unnamed winery “just off the 101 Freeway as you are heading north from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.” The winery owns several premium vineyards in Santa Barbara County, allowing it to access the quality grapes that go into this bottle.

The red blend consists of 40 percent cabernet sauvignon, 25 percent syrah, 20 percent tempranillo, 10 percent grenache, and 5 percent petite sirah. It is aged 18 months in oak and checks in at a modest 13.9 percent ABV.

Dark reddish purple in color, this bold, rich wine has delicious flavors of blackberry jam, cassis and spice, framed by modest tannins. It is a big gulp of dark red grapes, but is angelic on the palate, and aims to please.

The Convoy has a pleasing label that suggests a more expensive wine than its $9.99 price tag. Serve this big boy with a rib-eye steak, osso bucco, rack of lamb, or braised short ribs. It is available at Trader Joe’s stores in Orange County.


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