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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wine of the Week: Mercury Rising Bordeaux-Style Tastes Pricier Than it Costs

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 11:00 AM

"Exceptional value-per-dollar ratio" is how Cinnabar, or at least their publicist, promotes their wines. Based on our tasting of their 2008 California Mercury Rising "Bordeaux-style" wine, we see substance in the statement.

click to enlarge Cinnabar_1_.jpg
We taste wines blind-ish. We don't brown bag and mix them up to confuse ourselves, but we do taste without wine-maker notes, price, or press materials. In this case, we concluded that Mercury Rising "drinks like" a wine priced $38 or less. Once we pulled the spec-sheet, we were happy to find a suggested retail of $21. 

"Bordeaux-style wine" is a francophile way of saying "blend," or at least type of blend -- blends, actually -- common to Bordeaux.

Mercury Rising incorporates all five primary varietals of the grapes that the French allow in Bordeux reds. These include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec, in this case all sourced from four different NorCal regions.

Inside Tip: If they were to say "Meritage" instead, they would have to pay a fee, as Meritage is a name created, marketed and licensed by a company.

All that said, $21 for as wine that drinks at $38 -- well that may be all you want to know. If you want some tasting notes as well, here you go:

Wine: Cinnabar Mercury Rising 2008

Notes: Pomegranate juice brightness in color. Nice mouth of red fruit and a light dust of cacao. Somewhat soft, somewhat lush. Lightly warming with a hint of baking spice and a back-of-throat heat of black pepper or the residue of a jalapeno (in heat, not flavor). Drinks like $38 or less, sells for $21 or less.

Where to score it: Mercury Rising is available in San Francisco at Whole Foods, Cost Plus, Tower Market and Andronico's and has a tasting room in Saratoga.

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Ben Narasin


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