October 19, 2005

Wild Bunch 2003 California Red

(Montevina Winery, Plymouth, CA; about $10)

A blend of zinfandel, syrah, and barbera, Wild Bunch’s red might sound pretty weird. But kitchen sink blends are as old as winemaking itself. In “Old World” winemaking areas like France and Italy, vineyards were traditionally planted with multiple varieties, all mixed together, so that in any given year, there was a good chance that something, if not everything, ripened well. It was an added bonus that the wines also tasted more complex, more interesting. Wild Bunch, made by Montevina Winery, a winery in Amador County that specializes in Italian varieties, takes a page from the old country in Wild Bunch and blends the spiciness of zinfandel with the licorice-like black fruit of syrah and the plush juiciness of barbera. The result is a red that’s as well suited to all-American hamburgers as it is lasagna, or spaghetti and meatballs, or tacos—a kitchen-sink blend for our kitchen-sink “American” cuisine.

This article originally appeared in the Denver Post.

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