Saturday, May 23, 2015

Review: *** $$ Ojai Vineyard Ojai Red, California, NV but 2012/2013 estimated

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Ojai Red.

By way of background, opening thoughts: Ojai Vineyards is home to a range of attractive red and white wines from this Central Coast, California, region.  The Ojai Red is a mutt - blended from surplus wine in the bottling tanks after other, more purebred, bottles are filled.  So each vintage is an adventure.

Original tasting and review, June, 2014:  This is Ojai Vineyard Ojai Red, California, NV but 2012/2013 estimated, finished at 14.5% alcohol.  (The 2012/2013 vintage is presumed from the May, 2014, bottling date.) The wine is a blend of 1/3 syrah, 1/3 sangiovese and 1/3 pinot noir - a real dog's lunch from a varietal perspective, but hopefully it will show up much better on the nose and palate!

In the glass: Deep magenta, with hints of bright purple and almost opaque in the center.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows a bright aromatic purple, almost generically merlot-like.    From the aroma, seems like this will be bright for sure, but maybe surprising with layers of flavor.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact more nuanced and layered than the nose suggests, bringing soft red currants together with bright plum and a little hint of softening creaminess.  Seems a bit hot and big at the moment, but with opportunity to knit together over time.  Finish ends up in your cheeks, bringing the acids you'd expect from a red currant-tinged wine, but with a slightly darker feel.

In summary: Overall, rates an easy stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, luring one back for another sip at another time.

Updated review, a year later, now two or three years from vintage date, May, 2015:  Still a nice deep magenta color.  Fruit driven nose for sure, with touches of oak coming through now.  Sip is better laced-together too, with the acidic red currants also displaying the richer layers from the syrah. Almost picks up a plus for the added plushness.  It will pick that plus up over time, I predict.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Ojai Red.

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Notes from the vineyard:  Ojai Red is made from the same terrific vineyards that we make our more expensive single vineyard wines. Those wines are carefully decanted (racked) from barrel to the bottling tank, but a substantial amount of wine (5-10%) is left behind and we collect and settle it in fine French oak barrels. The clear wine from this second settling is blended with some of our small experimental lots that we don’t have a home for, and voila—this becomes OjaiRed. This current bottling (laser etched on the bottle 05/2014) worked out particularly well—I hate to say it but it’s one of our best ones ever! A blend of 1/3 syrah, 1/3 pinot noir and 1/3 sangiovese, it possesses the freshness of sangio, the richness of syrah and the elegance of pinot. It is delicious today and will age gracefully for the next ten years if you can keep your hands off it. 

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