Reviewer’s Note: A sample of the product discussed here was provided to me for reviewing purposes at no cost.
This dry red blend marks the second of two Earth Day-friendly wines I received a short while ago from sustainable producer The Dreaming Tree Wines.
An early lesson taught to me in my very first wine class was that when evaluating wines, personal preferences are irrelevant. What I like or would personally buy or drink does not matter. All that matters, and indeed, all that should be considered when critiquing a product, is how closely a wine adheres to the characteristics that have been established for its variety and style.
Merlot accounts for the majority share of this blend which also includes Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and other North Coast grape varieties. I’ve historically favored Cabernet Sauvignon’s heartier constitution and more aggressive tannins over the softer Merlot when drinking for personal gratification. My fondness for Zinfandel, however―this wine’s next largest contributing grape component―has swelled over the past year. Not that any of that matters. I mention these points for the sole purpose of confirming that while I enjoyed it more than I expected to, I can say from a strictly technical viewpoint that The Dreaming Tree Crush Red Wine Blend 2012 is a skillfully-wrought iteration of what a wine of this style and origin should be.
Deep ruby-colored with a clean, pronounced nose, this wine is at first slow to show me its legs. We hardly know each other, it says, insisting that it isn’t that kind of wine. It stresses that it’s a good wine born of a proper and well-matched union (that of famed musician Dave Matthews and celebrated Sonoma winemaker Steve Reeder) and would like to be friends first. But I am nothing if not a patient observer, and when it does reveal its gams, they move with a deliberate viscosity one might expect of a sweeter wine higher in alcohol. This is nonetheless a dry wine, one with a medium-full body and my full attention.
The wine’s red fruit-laden fragrance feeds me cherries and strawberries at the lower lip of the glass, with cinnamon, baked plum, and spicy vanilla awaiting me at its top rim. Its presence on the tongue weaves raspberry jam, black pepper, and a touch of charred wood into the essences of cherry and strawberry that declare themselves in the mouth as well as the nose. Its tannins are velvet-soft and well-integrated, and contribute to a lingering, enjoyable finish. As for digestible dance partners, its moderate acidity and substantial contribution from robust Zinfandel and Petite Sirah components means this wine waltzes well with a number of foods with pronounced flavors, including firm cheeses, braised or grilled short ribs, grilled sausages, lasagna, your favorite pizza, or virtually any lamb dish.
The Dreaming Tree Wines uses bottles that are a quarter pound lighter than average wine bottles (cutting transportation costs and greenhouse emissions). Those same bottles feature cork closures that are natural and recyclable, and labels made with 100% recycled kraft brown paper. Not a bad way to drink, not just on Earth Day, but every day.
Learn more about The Dreaming Tree Wines at http://www.dreamingtreewines.com/