The Wine Idiot Reviews: Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles, 2013 ($5.99)
So for this installment, I wanted to do one of my favorite cheap buys. Have you guys ever encountered the Trader Joe's employees who seem to be wine specialists? There's one at the TJ's at 3rd and La Brea, and he's super enthusiastic about helping you find a wine. He's the one who responded, when asked for a crowd-pleasing red under $10, by pointing to this Rabbit Ridge bottle. It became one of those go-to bottles I bought just to have on hand.
I finally moved back into my apartment after having spent the last month at my parents' (Chance is recovering from knee surgery, and my parents don't have stairs at their house), so it was time for a celebratory reunion with my awesome downstairs neighbor, Marti Matulis. He's quite handy with, well, lots of things, and gave our complex's little courtyard area a fabulous makeover a few months ago. He switched out the broken fountain/mosquito-breeding-tower for a little fire pit, cleared a "smoke chimney" in the tree foliage above it, and hung some pretty rad café lights that make the whole thing downright magical. Sadly for me--but awesomely for him--he's hitting the open road soon to become a photographer-nomad, so I wanna get as many Marti-wine-nights in as possible before he leaves.
Which is why we lit a fire, cracked open the Rabbit Ridge "Rhone Style Red Wine," and toasted to friendship and adventure.
It's as good as I remember it, but after having had that actual Rhône-style wine not too long ago, I was less impressed than I originally was. It's not overly sweet, spicy without being too peppery, and bright. Really pretty bright--not, as I've seen written about other wines, robust. It's got a little bit of a kick in the throat as it goes down, and a short finish. I am guessing the fruit I'm tasting is "currant," but--full disclosure--I don't actually know what a currant tastes like. I know what a blackberry tastes like, and this wine isn't as sweet as a blackberry, so I'm going with currant.
Marti decided to take on smelling notes, and he reported that it smells metallic. He's totally right! As for flavor, he said that it's light, doesn't linger, and "does not taste like poop." That's a pretty important thing to note, I guess.
We decided that overall, it's got enough flavor to be interesting, and if you like wine, you'll enjoy it. We also noted that it has a very high alcohol content (the highest of any wine I've reviewed thus far), and we were pretty proud of ourselves for killing such a bottle between us in one sitting. Neither of us were proud this morning, however. That hangover was not fucking around.
UPDATE: The Pontificis Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre blend (only $1 more) is now one of my favorite bottles at TJ's. An interesting double-header would be this Californian version vs. the French Pontificis. Just saying. (You better invite me, it was my idea.)
What the bottle says: "Allure de Robles is a charming red wine made in a Cotes du Rhone style [I would like to point out that apparently whoever was typing up the copy for the label could not figure out how to type the little accents over the letters, and I feel superior because of that]. It is a medium-bodied, barrel aged wine with notes of raspberries, blackberries, black currants, and pepper."
What the Wine Idiot says: CURRANTS!!!! CURRRRAAAAAAANNNNTSSSSS!!! GODDAMN I'M SO GOOD AT THIS.
ABV: 14.8%, which I can attest is quite high.
Who's responsible for this? "Produced and bottled by Rabbit Ridge Vineyards, Paso Robles, CA"
Do I need a corkscrew? Yes, yes you do.
What do smarter people say about it? This is another wine that apparently is not important enough for anyone but Trader Joe's bloggers (there are more than you think) to write about. Wine Today says: "This Rhone style red wine comes out of Rabbit Ridge Vineyads and Winery in Paso Robles. This wine is a combination of a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre’ where the Syrah is the prevalent grape on the tongue. The first smell reminds me of walking into a local flower shop but the taste is blackberry and spice. Lots of pepper. It’s really easy to drink. For those of you buying wine on a budget, this is worthy of buying a case just to have around the house. A perfect middle of the work week wine or purchasing for a party on a budget. No complaints on this bottle as this does not drink like a $6 bottle of wine and is very impressive for the price."
Should I bring it to a friend's house? I'd bring the Valréas "Cuvée Prestige" Côte du Rhône Villages red instead! Better wine, same price, and the bottle looks like you spend way more.