Once again it is time for another tasting at Ralphs Grocery Store. Monday (today) we will be tasting red table wines from 5pm to 8pm. Many of the table wines we sell at Ralphs are special red table wines. This simple title lends its name to many great red wines. Legacy from Napa county Estancia from Paso Robles carries the name as well. Even the sought after Opus One is considered red table wine. Many try to emulate the classic Bordeaux style but few hold the stamina to last the ages. California red table wines usually consist of the five Bordeaux wines or any combination of those wines. The five standard wines from Bordeaux are, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc Malbec and Petite Verdot. Any combination of these wines can make up a varietals style called Meritage. A vintner must register his or her winery with the association that controls the meritage and of course, pay a fee. The easy way around this dilemma is to call your product “Red Table Wine”. Being that most taste in wine is subjective red table wines can vary from sweet fruit bombs to tannic,acidic,astringent that peel the enamel off your teeth and taste like an aspirin soup. These wines will calm down after sometime in the bottle and will age for many years to come. The Tannic acid gives wine the capacity to age long years while developing complexity and character.
Wines from the Pacific Northwest also come in red table wine style. Col Solare from Chat St Michelle is a perfect example of cooler climate style wine from the Columbia Valley. These wines can be a bit spendy when it comes to retail price. The flavors run deep with dark fruit notes and complex layers of spice and berry notes. My first experience with the meritage style reds was many years ago when tasting a V. Sattui family reserve table red. The only clue I had that this brilliant red-waxed capped wine might be something special was from the packaging alone. Once opened it began to exhibit note of spice clove, black cherry and banana, which is only found on the very best of selected cabernets. Red table wines can be reasonable if found in local villages across Europe. Many times local merchants will sell what is grown in the region for only a few euros. The wine is usually brought in owners of local wineries and sold to the public as VIN de tableau (table wine). These wines are young and rich and easy drinking.
Whether you enjoy Napa County or European style wines table wines are always a delightful way too add an interesting component to any meal. White table wines also are great to have as a nice change from a single varietals wine. Chardonnay can be boring at times, but a blended Rhone valley white wine can be spectacular on a warm summer day. Nier, Russanne Marsanne are one example of a typical Rhone Blend used in upscale eateries. Excellent with lighter faire as a starter cocktail wine Viognier blended wines bring bright fruit and balanced acidity to many great dishes. Rhone Style wines on the red side also create delicious options for Salmon and Pork entrees. Hope this gives you an idea to try the red table wines in the future and taste some tonight! See you soon
The Wine Guy at Ralphs