Archive for the 'Blend' Category

Thorny Rose

Thorny RoseThorny Rose — Red Blend

Thorny Rose Wines, Columbia Valley

Washington USA,    2009

$5.99 for 750 ml (on sale), 13.5% Alc.


I discovered this wine on a sale rack at the local drugstore, discounted from the original $11.99 price.   A deal like that is hard to pass up!

And when I poured a glass of Thorny Rose Red Blend, I was glad I took a chance on it.  Everything about this wine is appealing.  The color is rich, much like a Cabernet or Merlot, and the aroma confirms a likely blend of the aforementioned two.   The taste is lovely, with the rich, round, silkiness that Merlot offers and just the right amount of grip from a Cabernet Sauvignon.   Although I think the Thorny Rose Red Blend description on its website is rather overboard (Sassafras?  Really?)  I do appreciate the fun attitude and unpretentious marketing.   This wine definitely has enough depth to enjoy entirely on its own, but it would also provide a great accompaniment to dinner.  And best of all, your guests will think you’ve uncorked (well, in this case, unscrewed) something special!

Definitely recommended.

Wine’s Website:




Matua Valley Hawke’s Bay Merlot-Cabernet

Matua Valley Hawke’s Bay Merlot-Cabernet

Hawke’s Bay Region, New Zealand, 2010,  *$13.00 for 750 ml, 13.5% Alc.

Red Wine


It has been a while, I know!  This is partly due to the fact that my husband and I have been working in a rather remote, undeveloped country in the South Pacific where wine is anything but cheap!  So, I’m forced to break my ten-dollar-rule, hence the asterisk above.  The other note on the price is that, although the local cost translates to approximately thirteen USD, I imagine a bottle might cost slightly less elsewhere on the globe.

So, how was it?  I enjoyed this Merlot-Cab blend quite a bit.  I wouldn’t say it is vastly superior to less expensive wines (Lindemans comes immediately to mind) but it is still a good deal.   I also found the blend of  varietals nicely balanced.  I’ve no idea what percentage of each goes into a vat, but it had just enough tannin to keep a grip on the smooth, easy Merlot flavor.  None of this satisfied me in the wine-notes department, however.  I wanted something interested and fun to say!  Alas, my muse failed me.  The label describes the wine as showing “blends of ripe plum and berry fruits with a well balance, generous palate.”   That’s a bit generic, but true enough, I suppose.   It is also a fact that this blend goes excellently with shrimp pesto pizza,  if anyone is interested.

Bottom line:  This is a solid choice bound to please most red-wine drinkers who actually judge a drink on its merits and not on fancy prices.

Wine’s Website:



JackaRoo Big Red (Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz blend)

Jackaroo Big RedJackaRoo Big Red
2003, SE Australia, $7.35 for 750 ml
(49% Cab, 44% Shiraz, 7% Merlot)
(Red Wine)

According to my Google search, “Jackaroo” is an Australian term for an apprentice on a cattle station or ranch…. Well, that makes me want to say something cutesy involving Australian slang and barbecue, but I shall refrain from doing so. You’re welcome.

In short, “Big Red” is a good description for this JackaRoo wine. While it doesn’t have a lot of depth, it is full of easygoing, juicy, round flavors, and it also has a good dose of tannins that save the wine from simply tasting like a fat, fermented grape.

The tasting notes cite flavors of blackberry, spicy aromas and a hint of vanilla oak. The Big Red did have a plump, berryness that I can see described as blackberry, and I did get the vanilla oak flavor (more oak than vanilla), but honestly, I would never describe the aroma of this wine as “spicy.” It just isn’t.

While I would have said that this wine was okay (not great, but okay), unfortunately, my Big Red had an undercurrent of unpleasant spoiled, nutty flavors that tasted as though it had not been properly sealed. In other words, it tasted oxidized. I don’t know if this is a problem with all JackaRoo Big Reds, or just a flaw in the bottling that I happened upon.

Bottom line? While the JackaRoo has potential, the flavors I found were ruined by the funky, old taste of oxidization. For the price, I have found other wines that have a bit more depth and taste much fresher. Sorry, apprentice. I think you’re fired.

wine’s website: couldn’t find

Mattie’s Perch

Matties Perch Cabernet/ShirazMattie’s Perch. Cabernet-Shiraz

Australia. On sale for $3.99 for 750 ml (normally$6.99)
(Red Wine)

Australia is famous for its good, inexpensive red wines; particularly, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. While many folks turn their nose up at the low-end prices and dismiss these wines as just “big red juiciness”, I say phooey on them. It is true that the land of Auz has put out tons of red wine for people like me to drink. And for that, I thank the good vintners from down under.

Now, I’ve read some good and bad things about this particular wine, so I thought I should explore it on my own. Here’s what I thought:

Mattie’s Perch Cabernet-Shiraz from Australia smells sweet and fruity. Tastes pretty much the same: a lot like drinking grape juice, but with alcohol and just a tiny bit of acid to twang your tongue. It’s a little softer than a lot of other reds and doesn’t have the strong flavors that a lot of folks acquire a taste for. For the price, it’s not a bad wine if you’re just looking for something casual to sip on.

But, if you like the complex feel and layered texture that a lot of Cabernet Sauvignons or Shiraz offer, you might not like this one as much. It’s a little less complicated, I think, and just plain friendly. Not recommended for wine snobs.

wine’s website:

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