In homage to being the first California winery to bring in the pinot noir grape, Mirassou winery created Sunset Red, a pinot noir forward blend with zinfandel and a bit of merlot ($12). The result became a topic during a recent book club dinner/winetasting, where 7 women tasted this 2011 new release. The comments varied:
"It's got a smoky aroma and flavor," said one member, while another insisted on tasting cinnamon and pomegranate. "It's better with salad," said another.
Favorable comments continued the more we sipped the silky and sophisticated blend of red-purpose wine with the cherry and smoke forward taste. I attribute the "cinnamon" sense to the zinfandel's spice --- and the smoothness to that touch of merlot blended in to round out the mouthfeel.
The grades for Mirassou California Sunset Red Blend come from the central coast of California, in Lodi, during a vintage season cooler than typical. As a result, the longer growing season allowed the grapes to maintain a low sugar level, which translates to a more flavorful, elegant wine, which this most certainly is.
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