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The Cocobon Roasted Oak Red Blend is a non-vintage blend of Merlot, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah sourced from vineyards in several California grape-growing AVAs. This wine is available at Trader Joe’s for $6.99, and it is also available at retail wine shops for a similar price.
Cocobon is a brand from The Wine Group, which also sells Benzinger, Cupcake, Concannon, Franzia, and several others. They specialize in value-priced wines and have many bang-for-the-buck wine labels.
There are three Cocobon variations on the same Red wine blend. The original Cocobon Red, Cocobon Dark, and Cocobon Roasted Oak Red Blend. The latter two wines seem to be the same blend that is finished with different methods.
The Cocobon website does not go into much detail concerning how they made their wines. Roasted Oak’s name is slightly inaccurate; wine barrels are toasted with flame at the end of their construction process. Whiskey barrels are charred with heavy flame; wine barrels are lightly flamed in comparison.
The species of oak, how the staves are cut, and the exact amount of toast all contribute to the flavors imparted into the wine. Barrel making or cooperage is an art form, and oak barrels are an integral component of most wines. The Cocobon website says this wine was aged “on” French oak instead of age “in” oak barrels. There are many methods to get toasted oak flavors into wine, and a $6.99 wine not being barrels aged is to be expected.
The website mentions oak spice, vanilla, espresso, and chocolate flavors in the Cocobon Roasted Oak Red Blend. Those are directly related to the type of French oak, and the amount of toast the winemaker specified for this wine. This type of red wine is not intended to be cellared or aged and most likely had a shorter aging period than more expensive red blends.
Red wine with a year or more of oak barrel aging will use oak differently. The longer exposure to oak will require a more subtle use of wood. A value-priced Red blend will need the oak to do its job in a shorter period of time but still find balance. Getting the right flavors at the rich balance is a skill.
Wines such as the Cocobon Roasted Oak Red Blend are recipe wines; these are not wines expressing the vineyard. Instead, the winemaker cooked up and particular blend of flavors using the grape selection and oak. A good recipe will make a good-tasting wine. The alcohol content is 14.%.
Cocobon Roasted Oak Red Blend Tasting Notes
The color is a sell see-thru crimson red with black highlights. The nose is ripe red berries, dark chocolate, spearmint, black pepper, and spice. The Cocobon Roasted Oak Red Blend is smooth on the palate with some sharp flavors on the mid-palate.
It tastes like black cherry, cold coffee, black pepper, vanilla, and plum. The mid-palate adds milk chocolate, a sharp blast of spice (it settles down on the second sip), slightly chewy tannins, and blueberry.
The acidity is solid, the wine has decent structure and good length.
- The Cocobon Roasted Oak Red Blend has a lot of flavor for a $6.99 Red blend.
- Wine geeks may turn up their noses, but the Cocobon Roasted Oak Red Blend is tasty wine at a value price.