The Gambler’s Flash Paso Robles Red Table Wine is a non-vintage $6.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive sourced from grapes grown in the Paso Robles AVA inside the Central Coast AVA of California. The back label says this is a proprietary blend which is a polite way of saying, “we ain’t telling what’s in the mix.” In Europe there are different quality classifications for wine, but in the United States, all wine, from 2 Buck Chuck to Screaming Eagle is classified “table wine.” The Gambler’s Flash was vinted and bottled by Familia Neuva Vineyards (this label has been producing wine for TJ’s for years), which is a label owned by Atlas Peaks Winery, a well-respected Paso Robles winery. The fruit came from 2 different vintages, which may indicate that this is a blend made from left-over wine, which is fine with me since there is a long tradition in California of producing good quality value blends out of juice that didn’t make it into more expensive wines. Since we don’t know the blend of the vintages there isn’t much to go on, except as a $6.99 and a single AVA wine it is worth taking a chance. The alcohol content is 14.2%.
The color is black cherry red with an almost clear halo. The nose is smokier and spicier than expected for an inexpensive Red blend, there is cherry, smoke from a grill, herbs, blackberry, licorice, chocolate powder and pencil shavings (I looked it up, pencil shaving might indicate that Cabernet Franc is in the blend). This is a rounded and smooth, fruit-forward Red, with a decent dose of structure. It starts with raspberry, candy bar chocolate, blackberry, a touch of exotic spice, and black cherry. The mid-palate shows pepper, sweet blueberry, and cold coffee. The tannins are smooth and the acidity is balanced though I think this is more of a sipping wine, it will still pair well with comfort foods. The finish is full but fades before too long.
The Gambler’s Flash Paso Robles Red Table Wine is a very solid and tasty California Red blend. Non-vintage with Sparkling wines tend to be the rule rather than the exception, but when I see a non-vintage still wine I tend to get suspicious. But here I am perfectly happy with them using 2 vintages, for whatever reason they used multiple vintages, they got it right and it drinks above its price.