castle rock blendCastle Rock’s negociant, business model produces value-priced wines with some personality. And this one is no exception.

They claim it’s fashioned after the “great wines of Bordeaux”. But Bordeaux has nowhere near the sun and temperatures of the Columbia Valley. This is no Bordeaux but it’s not jammy or alcoholic either, and it’s made from Cabernet and Merlot so there’s that.

Black cherry, charred wood and smoked meat aromas make you think barbecue.

On the palate it’s simple but structured, dry with sneaky, medium-grain tannins and bright medium-plus acidity. The charred wood carries through on the palate, but chocolaty, midpalate richness blooms before turning nervy and taut on the finish.

Very nice with steak, this one grows on you, a wine for grown ups.

Edgy and defiant. “I’m learning to survive on earthworms and houseflies”

Score: 88

Price: $12

Alc: 13.5%