punk rock redWine marketing. Ya gotta love it.  So the label on this wine says “…merlot is known to be angry, rebellious, stripped down, yet aggressively modern. These high energy slamming grapes capture your attention and imagination, smashed berries with hints of anarchy, leather and spice in every seductive, radical sip.”

Huh? Merlot? That soft, mainstream, innocuous, approachable grape that everyone wanted until overcropping, overproduction (and the film Sideways) took it down a few notches.

I get it. This is Erik Turner’s wine; Erik Turner of the hair-metal band Warrant from the late 80’s. So the rebel stance has to be put out there. But really, this is a nice, cute Merlot, with a little pop and sizzle to it—anarchy and rebellion not so much.

Bright black cherry, good intensity on the nose with some candied fruit and quite spicy, like Cinnamon Hots candies.  The palate is full bodied with a glycerin mouth feel, a hint of sweetness and very little acidity although it has some tang on the finish, with a slow build on the medium-grain tannins. The length is surprising, it sneaks up on you. All in all a bit confected but rich and smooth with just enough structure to remind you it’s wine.

Speaking of confections, I paired it with some 72% chocolate and it was quite good—it is unusual for a red wine to pair well with chocolate.

Made for Mr. Turner by South Coast Winery in Temecula with 60% Wild Horse Peak and 40% Temecula grapes.

It’s only appropriate to sip this along with the Warrant ballad “Heaven”.

Score: 84

Price: $10 (ave.)

Alc: 13%