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bogle essential redEverybody’s favorite budget wine hits the sweet spot again. Bogle is known for producing varietally correct wines for around $10. A few years ago they introduced this blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Sirah to respond to the increasing popularity of blended wines. Most of those inexpensive blends are awkward and excessively sweet. But leave it to Bogle to do it right.

On the nose ripe plum and blackberry with some raisin character are surrounded by spicy black pepper and musty earth, with hints of oak and thyme providing aromatic depth.

More dark berry with some wood on the palate. Full bodied, soft and caressing at entry, the flavor drops off quickly with dried fruit becoming dominant but the spicy finish then creeps up on you. Tannins are fine-grained but more persistent than the first impression would indicate—the influence of Petite Sirah no doubt. An interesting complex, profile and evolution on the palate, warm, luscious, but also intriguing. There is a little bit of sweetness, a bit over-ripe for my taste, but it’s under control.

One reason for Bogle’s quality is their use of genuine oak barrels for aging instead of oak chips, unusual at this price. This one is aged 12 months in French and American oak.

Score: 88

Price: $11

Alc: 13.5%

This wine is soft and caressing up front but gives you more structure on the finish, like this wonderful duet with Natalie Merchant and Michael Stipe from REM

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