Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.” Benjamin Franklin

Black Ink Wines and TGIC Importers Inc introduced a red blend of Syrah, Merlot, Malbec and Zinfandel with the simple California appellation that earned 83 points from Wine Enthusiast upon its release. The label, allegedly, displays a squid (although I couldn’t see it) but the name is appropriate enough.  I’ve occasionally used the term “squid ink” in describing a wine’s color and the term here may be a little enthusiastically applied, although the wine is certainly medium to deep ruby.  More importantly: the wine is another crowd pleaser and, priced at $10 U.S., deserves the interest it has been drawing in the trade.

In the glass, Black Ink (2014) wafts a strong aroma of blackberry preserves with whispered notes of white pepper along with mashed blackberry and black plum. Straight to the point, these notes carry into the taste. The winemaker’s notes refer to smoky licorice. The licorice (not the smoke, more like smoked paprika for me) eluded my aged taste buds, though some cherry developed in the glass with air. The wine has a glycerin feel on the palate and finishes warmly in the back taste, blending some heat along with some sweetness that I found interesting.  At 13.5% ABV, the heat was surprising, but worked nicely against both the wine’s texture and sweetness.

One professional review referred to …”robust, dark, inky, tannin-rich…”  I found the tannins as rounded and soft as to be almost imperceptible: not a fault in a crowd pleasing, “safe” wine (see previous review for definition of “safe.”). There’s a reason why red blends are a dominant segment in the wine industry, and Black Ink serves as an example. Not made to be complex and analyzed over philosophically, it is a fruit forward, but not jammy wine that pleases the mass senses and does so at budget friendly prices. In fact, releases from TGIC refer frankly to Black Ink as a “juicy new red wine blend from California”.
TGIC Global Fine Wine Company (aka Guarachi Wine Partners) was founded in 1985 by Alex Guarachi of Chili and includes Black Ink of California in their portfolio of many fine wines including Bodega Norton and Pascual Toso. Guarachi Wine Partners has since become the #1 importer of South American wines priced over $10 and works with both international and domestic partners.
……………………. Jim

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