Welcome to Swill or Swell, a weekly series where I taste grocery store wines and let you know if they’re worth the buck or just meant for the drain!
CAVEAT! As you read this, please keep in mind that wine is subjective! This means that everyone enjoys different things and something I like might not be something you like and vice versa. I’ll be as objective as I can with facts about the wine’s quality, but in the end if your opinion differs from mine...that’s perfectly fine! Wine is only worth drinking if YOU like drinking it!
LET’S INTRODUCE THE WINE
Today I’ll be tasting a 2019 Roustabout Meritage from Paso Robles, CA. I chose this wine in particular because I was intrigued by the label. Paso Robles AVA is a specific wine region, which is often a sign of a higher quality wine, compared to wine that just a broad region on their label. It was just $9.99 at Trader Joe’s, so I’m intereste to see the results!
ROUSTABOUT MERITAGE FUN FACTS
Let’s start by talking about the Meritage varietal.
- A Red Meritage is a blend of two or more of the red "noble" Bordeaux varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot. With the blending, one varietal cannot make up more than 90%.
- This paticular blend is is 66% Cab Sauv, 20% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 7% Malbec.
- This type of blend has a bad rep, but I consider them as a work of art. Think of a dish prepared by a chef. You might not like every component on it’s own (garlic, onion, seasoning, etc), but combined together they make the perfect dish!
Now let’s talk a little about the Paso Robles region in California.
- Paso Robles is well known in the wine world, and it known as the Wild West of CA Wine Country. This is due to their rule breaking & innovative nature!
- The town El Paso de Robles (which means Pass of the oak trees) was co-founded by Kentucky outlaws Frank and Jesse James’ uncle Drury around 1869
- Paso Robles is South of Sonoma & Napa but North of Santa Barbara
- Fastest growing AVA: Since 2000, the number of bonded wineries has grown from 50 to over 200
WINE TASTING NOTES
Look: Medium maroon (between Ruby & Purple)
Smell: Right out of bottle: canned tomato! But after half an hour in the glass: bing cherry, cinnamon, chocolate, tobacco, and blueberry
Taste: Right out of bottle: super tart, no secondary or tertiary flavors. After time in glass: Still very fruit forward, med tannin, medium body, med+ acidity. Alcohol is a bit high, but not overwhelming. Bottle mentions espresso and dark chocolate...but I’m not getting that on the palate
Food Pairing - I’m leaning towards something grilled or roasted. Doesn’t have to be red meat though, I don’t think is a punch in the face. BBQ ribs seem like a good option. The bbq sauce would pair well with the fruit forward. You could also do a more powerful cheese like blue or sharp cheddar.
Occasion - Backyard BBQ, weekday meal
Rating - Ok...so I’ve realized I’ve been a little nice in my ratings. So I’m going to get a little tougher with what I consider swill or swell. For me, I wouldn’t buy this again. It was a bit of a disappointment as I was expecting a bit more oak flavors to help round this out. So I’d say, for a CA blend...it’s a swill for me.
Want to learn more? Check out my Instagram every Thursday at 5PM PST for a new episode of Swill or Swell! Have a wine you’d like me to taste? Write your request in the comments below or send me a message on Instagram!