Budget Wine: Black Ink Red Blend California 2013

black inkSouth American wine conglomerate Guarachi Wine Partners, producers of this red blend, have some imaginative people in their marketing department

The bottle advertises a wine that is exotic, decadent, and mysterious, so my expectations are through the roof. On their website they gush “Black Ink is an ode to fantasy through the arts, portraying elegance with an edge.  In a celebration of decadence, juicy blackberry cobbler meets smoky licorice with a hint of spice. The capsule is marked with the allusive squid in a nod to the deep dark red hues within the bottle.”

Translation please. What exactly is an “allusive squid” and what does squid have to do with “red hues”? Is a squid elegant or decadent? I confess I never thought of squid ink as elegant or edgy so thanks to the poesy of these scribes I now have a new world view. Does this have anything to do with what’s in the glass?

The wine is ruby with a hint of purple and transparent, not inky at all. The nose has the juicy blackberry, smoky licorice thing going on so here’s to truth in advertising. It’s supplemented by obvious oak. The meager palate opens with a bit of sweetness and quickly turns sour on the finish. It’s about as decadent as a night at home watching reruns of Frazier. The oscillation between too sweet and too sour is mysterious only if “mysterious” means weird.

A blend of Syrah, Merlot, Malbec and Zinfandel if that matters.

Score: 81

Price: $8

Alc: 13.5%

Bowie’s “Telling Lies” comes to mind




  1. I have been fooled by similar bottles countless times. The description on paper is enticing, hitting all the right chords. Within seconds after a whiff and first sip, you realize the map has nothing to do with the territory. You have been taken once again, courtesy of marketing wizards who have sold you eight dollars of nicely packaged language. I now only buy such kinds of at-risk wines at Trader Joe’s. If the bottle is in the 8 to 12 dollar range and seems like thinly-disguised Charles Shaw, I demand a refund. In fact, TJ employees constantly encourage customers to do that.

    Re: Allusive Squid. You might have to consult a semantics whisperer to sort that out.

    One possible guess. The word for ink in Spanish is “tinto”, which also means red wine as you know. So perhaps the tinto of the squid ink is meant to suggest something about the color of the wine? I better phone a friend.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.