The Billy’s Shadow Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz Merlot 2014 is a $8.99 Trader Joe’s import wine, a blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Shiraz (exact same grape as Syrah), and 11% Merlot sourced from vineyards in South Australia. In Australia, this wine is sold under the Jamiesons Run brand (known for delivering good wine for the money), a label that has been around since the 1950s, but the winery has been sold off and only the brand name survives. Trader Joe’s says this wine saw a mix of French and American oak, they never mention the word “barrel“, so I wonder was it aged in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks with oak barrel staves or chips added in? For under $10, it’s hard to complain if oak barrels were not used especially if the oak influence comes out well-balanced. This is a 2014 vintage so it was aged (both with oak and without) for a good amount of time, particularly considering the value price tag. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The color is a dark, barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is dark and brooding, extracted blackberry, molasses, coffee, smoke, blueberry, a little spice, and a touch of toasty vanilla. This is a big, chewy Red Blend with mocha, cooking spices and rich fruit. It tastes of blackberry, licorice, Starbucks Mocha, plum, and black pepper. The mid-palate offers smooth blueberry, spice, and creamy vanilla, with a shot of tart cranberry. The tannins are sweet and the acidity is balanced by the body of the wine. The finish is full and you will still be tasting it an hour after you finish your glass.
The Billy’s Shadow Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz Merlot 2014 is a very solid big boy Red blend with a good deal of power and weight behind it, if no-one told you, you would never guess $8.99 a bottle. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is very reminiscent of Bordeaux blends and Red blends from Northern California and the Shiraz changes that up with a blast of sleek fruit, licorice, and spice. This is a cold weather wine, it would work well with summer BBQ, but this blend has enough oomph behind it to fortify you in the season of cold winds and snow.