The Wine Idiot Reviews: Roustabout Paso Robles Meritage, 2014 ($7.99)
I was loitering in the wine aisle of a very crowded days-before-Christmas Trader Joe's in Hollywood, trying to convince myself I deserved to spend $15 on a Trader Joe's Reserve label pinot noir. But I knew, deep in my heart, that I've reviewed plenty of pinot noir recently, and that it would probably be more useful to my readers if I reviewed a wine that might still be on the shelves in a couple months.
And that's when my eye landed on the Roustabout Paso Robles Meritage. It's a pretty, rustic-themed bottle, and I've had it in my hands a couple times in the past but never followed through on the purchase. It was time.
I'm gonna be honest here--I did not like this wine. This was actually encouraging, in a way, because it means I actually don't just like wine when it has alcohol in it. Upon popping the cork, I got a big whiff of wet bread dough. When I put my nose right in the glass, it did in fact smell like wine, and my hopes rose.
Only to be crushed by the first sip. It's bitter--a lot of different flavors of bitter, sure, but mainly just bitter. If you're looking for a red with absolutely no fruit flavors, I think this is it. No idea how they did that? But they did. I also wasn't able to pick out any pleasant spice notes, like in that zinfandel from the other day. It just tastes metallic. It could be that this particular flavor profile is not my thing, but damn was I pissed I didn't spring for that pinot noir. It turns out that for a wine to be classified as a "Meritage," it "needs to be a blend of two or more “noble” Bordeaux grape varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and the rarer St. Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenère (add any other grape and you can no longer call the wine Meritage)," according to Pragya Purohit, who reviewed the 2013 vintage. I highly suspect this Meritage may have been made from the grapes left on the floor after making a good Meritage.
What the bottle says: "With silky tannins and exceptional texture, this wine opens with notes of black cherries, wild blueberries and cigar box, finishing with nuances of dark chocolate and espresso."
What the Wine Idiot says: Now I remember why I bought this wine. I was super-curious about a wine that describes itself has having "exceptional texture." I think I disagree with everything on this label except the cigar box part, and that's only because I imagine chewing on a cigar box is not a pleasant experience.
Who's responsible for this? "Bottled by Central Coast Wine Warehouse"
Do I need a corkscrew? Yes.
What do smarter people say about it? Couldn't find anything on the 2014 vintage, but John & Linné on Vivino had this to say about the 2012 vintage and I think we tasted similar things: "Every once and a while you meet someone interesting who, given first impression, you may have never been interested in but then they speak and you're intrigued with personality. That is Meritage by Roustabout ($8 at Trader Joes). We love wines from Paso Robles so we gave this a try. Initial rusty red in the glass (sign of good aging), alcohol on the nose , initial taste of metal (iron) mineral, raisin, and currant. Strong tannic finish with a bit of rubber. 13.8% alcohol. Very intriguing and beguiling." Like, everything I detested about this wine, John & Linné love. Agree to disagree, I guess.
Should I bring it to a friend's house? Nooooope.