Two curious red wines passed by my lips recently. One, the Curious Beasts Blood Red Wine 2011 and the other the California Square Three Red Blend 2012. Rarely do I see a bottle wrapped in paper or other material, other than some Riojas from Spain. The Curious Beasts Blood Red wine comes in a very Halloween thought-provoking blood red and black with a series of animal and human skeletons drawn on it. I think the bottle cover itself would be a topic of discussion at a Halloween party or a Klingon convention. The Curious Beasts Blood Red wine is an uncommon blend of Merlot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc.
My review in a minute, but first the other bottle of discussion is the California Square Three Red Blend 2012. What makes this wine interesting at first glance is that it comes in a rectangular bottle, not round. I do not recall any other wine bottles that come in this shape, and if you do not read the label, you may mistake it for a bottle of balsamic vinegar, which it is not. The only other recognizable rectangular bottle for me comes from Johnnie Walker scotch. One of Johnnie Walker’s reasons for the square bottle is that it was more efficient for packing and shipping. This is also one of the reasons for the California Square wine too.
The three grape varieties that go into this wine are Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, and Syrah. Again a very uncommon blend. If you were counting, there were five, not three grape varieties. I’m not sure why, but maybe in the initial vintages only three varieties were used, and the name stuck. Between these 2 wines the difference is one has Cabernet Franc while the other uses Sangiovese in the blend. Well how did these wines taste? Read on.
Curious Beasts Blood Red Wine 2011 (BC $19.99)
Deep ruby black in colour, almost solid at the core. Medium intensity youthful nose with aromas of plum, purple and black fruit, sweet candied berries, vanilla and a hint of sweet spices. Dry, but very fruity on the palate. Medium minus acidity/tannins/alcohol and body. Lighter mouth feel, with flavours of jammy sweet fruit, plums, red cherries and roses. Some roundness in the mouth together with a mineral edge. Medium length with no tannins noticeable to the finish. Very soft with sweet fruit and vanilla on the finish.
“reH Hlvje’lljDaq ‘lwghargh Datu’jaj.” (May you always find a bloodworm in your glass.) A Klingon toast!
Rating: An easy red sipper, very fruity with light body, but also a bit elegant.
California Square Three Red Blend 2012 (BC $22.99)
This wine was deeper ruby/garnet in the glass. Youthful nose with lots of vanilla, red berries, and sweet spices on the nose. Quite a fruity nose. And also a touch of milk chocolate. A bit of residual sugar in this wine making it slightly off-dry. Medium body, tannins and acidity. Very round mouth feel. Flavours of sweet cherries, blueberries, ripe raspberries, red plums, red currants, red fruits, and hints of cloves and milk chocolate. All these flavours do not hit you at once; rather there are layers of fruit and spices that wash over your palate. The wine has a medium length, finishes with flavours of chocolate and sweet & sour cherries, and some pepperiness.
Rating: A fruity red wine, for a party or casual dinner with friends. BBQ or other peppery dish would pair nicely.