August 30, 2006
Big Smile California Red (about $10)
Mel Master's Tortoise Creek wines are terrific examples of what you should be able to get in a bottle for very little money. They aren't fancy, and that's the thing: they don't have a drop of pretension in them, from the silly labels to the deliciously easy-drinking juice in the bottle (not to mention the prices).
The owner of Mel's in Cherry Creek, Master is fairly Francophile when it comes to wine, so it was a surprise to find his latest wine is a) from California, and b) a decidedly un-Francophile and unusual blend of Napa cabernet, syrah, zinfandel and nebbiolo. The result, however, reads on the tongue as a perfect bistro red, juicy with dark red fruit flavors yet balanced with enough acidity and herbal notes that it breezes across the palate. Bring on the steak frites.
This review first appeared in the Denver Post.