Tamas Double Decker Red (2008)

"We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy." --- Ben Franklin

You don’t always get what you pay for. Sometimes, you get more. That’s the case, I think, with a 2008 Tamas Double Decker Red.  This wine is a crowd pleaser because its blend offers serious varietal character and its fermentation offers the aromatics and fruit flavors so popular. First the grapes: a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and (the surprise) Barbera.  The exact mix is a family secret and I can only offer that you can taste the contribution of the Barbera and that it makes this wine even more enjoyable. Barbera grapes have the potential to offer rich juicy black fruit (blackberry, plum, black cherry and raspberry) but also enough acid to balance the fruit. Tamas Double Decker Red takes advantage of this potential. Fermentation of the grapes is at cold temperature in stainless steel, thus preserving the fruitiness.  Each grape variety is aged separately in oak and stainless steel, with the contribution from the wood mellowing the product. Tamas refers to the wood used as “neutral oak” and this is a good reference because while smoothed from aging in wood, the wine does not suffer “vanilla-itis” and, in fact, offers a little spice in its finish.  In the glass, Tamas Double Decker Red shows as medium ruby. Its nose is fruity and offers chocolate plum. The wine is smooth and in good balance and of medium-light body with lush flavors.

Recommending wines to others whose tastes are varied and almost certain to remain unknown is more than a daunting exercise.  It’s probably foolhardy.  Tamas Double Decker Red is not complex, and the wine snobs will like to focus on such a fact. While not complex, I would say Tamas Double Decker Red is straight forward in its presentation, and the direction is delicious. Double Decker Red is an excellent “everyday” wine.  And at an average retail price of $10, I’m surprised more of this wine is not flying off the shelves.  I’ve tasted many bottles costing more than twice this amount and they drank poorly in comparison.  Wine Enthusiast magazine awarded Tamas Double Decker Red a “Best Buy.”  Tamas Double Decker Red comes from the Central Coast area of California, and is the entry level label for Wente Vineyards (the oldest family owned winery in the United States).  With this being the “entry” label, I think the wine speaks well on behalf of the vineyards of Wente.

This wine is a natural to pair with another glass of itself. A red that is refreshing and fruity enough to offer casual, carefree summer appeal.  And it’s a natural to enjoy with the take away from your restaurant dinner of lasagna.

…………………… Jim
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