Bigger Than Your Head Alternative Reds: Not Cab., Mer., or P.N.
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Bigger Than Your Head Alternative Reds: Not Cab., Mer., or P.N.

February 8


by Fredric Koeppel


Looking for something different to fill your glass? Bigger Than Your Head has the post for you, exploring unusual varieties. One highlight includes Castoro Cellars Reserve Tannat 2016, Estrella District, Paso Robles. 100 percent varietal; it aged 18 months in French and American oak barrels. The color is opaque black-purple with a transparent rim; the whole ripe, fleshy enterprise exudes elements of blackberries, currants and plums, permeated by hints of cloves and smoke, lavender and grilled, slightly charred meat; this displays tremendous traction on the palate, sliding through lip-smacking acidity and tannins that grow a bit shaggy as the moments pass; an oak nuance comes up in the finish, lending smoke and woodsy notes.

No, friends, there’s not a darned thing wrong with cabernet sauvignon, merlot or pinot noir wines — unless they’re made in an overwrought, obtrusive manner — but they tend to dominate the discussion of the world’s red wines and so-called “noble” grapes. If you’re just a tad weary of those wines, I offer alternatives in today’s post, with grapes that include alicante bouschet, carignan, malbec, petite sirah, sangiovese, tempranillo, syrah/shiraz and tannat. Our Seven League Boots touch down in Mendoza, Tuscany, Paso Robles, Alentejo (Portugal), Chile’s Maule Valley, Apulia, Arroyo Seco, Oregon’s Umpqua Valley and Monterey County. Oh the things you’ll see! And the wines you’ll taste! Enjoy, in moderation, of course.

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