Sunday, January 25, 2009

*** $ Opici Homemade Style Barbarone Red, CA - Review and Rating

Find retail pricing and availability for Opici Homemade Red Wine.

Review: I recall Opici Homemade Red wine from the big, classic, 4 litre glass jug from some years back.

And sure enough, one of my children gave me just such a jug recently as a birthday present. Now I'll apply it the same tasting standards that I've used with such astronomically-priced wines as Dom Perignon and Mollydooker Velvet Glove. The acid test for a jug wine - part of what I call my "take one for the team" series.

The Opici story itself began when prohibition was repealed in 1933, when Joseph Opici persuaded a former supplier from California to ship him one railroad car full of wine. Joseph invested $1500, and the Opicis were in the wine business. In 1934, Joseph founded the American Beverage Distribution Company, based in New Jersey. Today, in addition to the California-based labels, the Opici Import Company represents wines and spirits from Italy, France, Spain, Australia, and Estonia.

As a brand, Opici Homemade Style Barberone Red is a unique wine, designed to pay homage to the art of home winemaking. “Barberone” is a dialectic word for a vineyard worker. Years ago, the vineyard workers would receive grapes as part of their compensation. These grapes were used to make a hearty, full-flavored rich “home” blend.

In the glass, Opici Homemade Red shows as a deep dusty red - it is not opaque, but translucent throughout the glass. Aromas are bold, hearty, sweet - a sort of beef stew of red wine. Chewy, fat, old stewed plums, heavily compoted.

On the palate, a sweet rich middle comes to the foreground first - it's those stewed plums again. Sweet, but nicely balanced with just a bit of lifting acids. It is a simple flavor with a simple fade into a tannic-free, quick finish. An alcohol heat (not surprising, given the alcohol level of 14%) brings the plum essence along for more of a ride than you might expect from such a "practically free" wine. Satisfying.

Opici feels almost like a meal unto itself. Almost a lightly-sweet port. Still, I would recommend it with a big, tomato-y, hearty meal - something that will stand up to the big, fullsome middle, the light sweetness and the alcohol punch. On that basis, a full three stars out of five on the Spirit of Wine scale. That makes this an awesome value for a jug wine.

If you keep your expectations reasonably in check, you are likely to be much more that satisfied with Opici Homemade Red.

Find retail pricing and availability for Opici Homemade Red Wine.

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