Big House Red
Red Wine Blend
It's not often that I drink boxed wine and actually, this is the first boxed wine that I've formally reviewed here on this blog. Not that boxed wines are bad, but they tend to have a sketchy reputation. Fortunately for the wine drinkers among us, boxed wines are making a turn for the better. This is one such wine...
This is the 2011 Big House Red, a red wine blend that is comprised of over 15 different wine varieties! Does that sound crazy? Yes. Because it is crazy. I have a feeling somebody just tried to embody the whole Go Big or Go Home idea and thought, "Hey, why not!!!" In a way, it's kind of like when you were a kid and would mix ten different kinds of fountain soda together and called it a "suicide." It's kind of like that... except this stuff actually tastes good. According to the data sheet this stuff is:
14% Petite Verdot
2% Negro Amaro
1% Petite Sirah
and 5% Other Esoteric Reds.
The grapes were cold soaked for a couple of days, then fermented at 60-65'F for two weeks. The wine was then malolatic fermented and a small portion of it put in oak. To say there's a lot going on here between the wine-making process and the 15+ varietals of grapes would be an understatement. To my palette, it tastes primarily of Syrah and Tempranillo, but you can definitely tell there's other stuff going on and some flavors that are difficulty to pinpoint.
It pours a transluscent ruby red and has aromas of cherry, raspberry, and a hint of pepper. On the palette, it's very fruit-heavy with sweet red cherries, red raspberries, a bit of plum and cranberry, and a mild touch of earth and oak in the finish. The tannins are moderate, smooth and well-balanced.
Big House Red is fruity, jammy, and sweet without being cloying, and the moderate tannins really help balance out all the fruit. There's quite a bit going on here through all the red fruit flavors, with a lot of mild background notes. This actually surprised me and I kept taking another sip just trying to pinpoint all its nuances.
I'd say this 15+ wine varietal blend is a success, especially at $22 for a 3 liter box. But yeah, it also comes in regular 750 mL bottles if you just don't want to buy a boxed wine. Granted, though, the box version will keep for 6 weeks after opening... totally worth it.
If you're curious about the Big House wines, back in the Fall I reviewed their Cabernet Sauvignon and their "Naked" Chardonnay. Check it out...
Drink This: if you want a fruity red wine with lots going on and good balance. I say opt for the box version, if you're going to buy it.
Don't Drink This: if you want a dry, dark, and brooding red. This is a much more light-hearted, fun wine, but complex nonetheless.