-Rainer Maria Rilke
No other color elicits such a strong emotional response as a deep, rich, blood red. Fear, anger, and of course excitement all come rushing into the forefront of our minds when we see this color. In the case of food and wine, our salivary glands are instantly triggered, a possible tribute to the evolution of how we once decided what was tasty- and maybe what was dangerous.
Our newest Barbera to the Cascade Cliffs family, “Blood Red” is both exciting and slightly scary. Exciting because this is one of the richest, most intense red wines we’ve ever produced. And slightly scary for the same reason. If you’re looking to spoil your palette, this is your wine.
A 2009 Estate grown wine, Blood Red is in one sense the result of Bob and Eduardo’s diligence in the vineyard; by consistently, even aggressively pruning and thinning the barbera vines, the resulting grapes are more intense in both color and flavor. The less fruit a vine needs to focus its energy on, the more packed with sugar and acid the remaining grapes will be. There are spots in the vineyard where you can find as little as one cluster of fruit per cane. Long gone vintners from the old country, taught to never waste anything in life – or in the vineyard – are rolling in their graves as I write this.
These powerhouse clusters are just the type of barbera grapes that went into Blood Red, loaded with ripe and vibrant sugars. The varietals naturally high acidity works together with these sugars to create an intense rush of flavors that, unlike many other “big reds”, actually linger and expand in your palate. This is also a wine that spent more time in new barrels than most of the other wines made this vintage, adding more texture and complexity to the fruit.
So what’s with the name? When the fruit was being crushed for this wine, Bob noticed how intense the color was and said it was… “blood red”. The name stuck. Chalk indicators on the barrels it was put into read “CC 2009, Blood Red Barb”. We tasted it periodically throughout the year and just couldn’t get over how rich and ripe this stuff was. As the wine reduced in the barrel, becoming even more rich in texture, it became very clear that we needed to actually have a new label called “Blood Red”.
The bad news: there’s not a ton of it to be had (less than 300 cases). The good news: Cliff Club members all received a bottle of this in their recent Feb. package. Even better, Piedmont Club members will get their lips wet with 4 bottles of the Blood Red, along with 4 bottles each of the new release ’09 Estate Barbera and ’09 Estate Nebbiolo.
I suppose it’s not the most romantic name for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday (unless you’re a vampire), but the color is right on! And Next Saturday, Feb. 12th, we’ll be unveiling our other 2009 Estate Barbera, along with its Piemontese brother, the 2009 Estate Nebbiolo. These are both beautiful wines in their own right, but that’s a story for another time…
With bloody good cheer,