The Story

Bogle Phantom Red 2016

The Bogle Phantom Red Blend 2016 is a blend of 51.5% Petit Sirah and 48.5% Zinfandel sourced from vineyards in several California vineyard regions. Bogle Vineyards was named 2019 Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Bogle is located in the Clarksburg AVA which is south and a little east of Napa in the delta region of San Pablo Bay. San Francisco Bay is on the south side, and San Pablo is to the north. The Bay is the reason that Carneros is cool enough for Pinot Noir, Napa gets cold ocean breezes and Clarksburg and Lodi can grow grapes even though they are some distance from the Pacific Ocean.

Clarksburg had been an AVA that was mainly vineyards that sold their grapes to her wineries with Bogle Vineyards being a notable exception. Bogle’s vineyards and production are run by the 6th generation of the family. They have grown grapes and made wine since 1978.

Bogle concentrates on value-priced wines and the Phantom series is their flagship wine (they have a Phantom Chardonnay, too). This is a wine that I found on sale for $15, so the production details will be more involved than regular Bogle labels.

The first thing that jumped out about this blend was aged in American oak, a mix of first and second-use barrels for 28 months. That kind of extended oak barrel aging is relatively rare in this price range and is the reason this is a 2016 vintage when competing Red Blends currently on store shelves are more likely to be 2017 or even 2018.

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A rough rule of thumb is a wine needs one month of additional bottle aging for every month of oak barrel aging. Twenty-eight months in barrels require time for the wine to balance. Bogle needed to wait 3 to 4 years to release this vintage. Time is money in the wine world and obviously, Bogle thinks doing it right, aging the blend for years is what the wine needed and was the right thing to do.

They could have aged this blend for a year in oak, plenty of the competition take that route. You can add oak flavoring to wine fairly quickly, but the benefits of long-term oak aging do not have a shortcut. This one detail tells you everything you need to know about the Phantom. Bogle did not have to give this Red extended aging. But they did and you are not paying much of a premium for the extra attention to detail.

Petite Sirah and Zinfandel are often blended together, but the usual mix is a smaller percentage of Petite Sirah in a Zinfandel-labeled wine. Petite Sirah is used as a blending grape in countless value-priced blends. So with the Phantom Red, Petite Sirah gets a chance to shine. The alcohol content is 14.5%.

Bogle Phantom Red Blend 2016 Tasting Notes

The color is an opaque black cherry red, emphasis on the black. The nose is dark and brooding, there is extracted blackberry, a good dose of spice, new leather jacket, cigar box, licorice, ripe plum, herbs, and milk chocolate.

This is a smooth Red blend that has some real complexity bubbling below the surface. It tastes of blueberry mixed with black pepper, followed by dark chocolate (almost chocolate milk-like, but not sweet), a sharp splash of spice, and ripe plum.

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The mid-palate brings non-sweet cola, a little cream, orange zest, and slightly tart cranberry. The overall impression is a silky smooth wine with sweet, and sharp flavors popping out. The tannins are sweet and don’t bite and the acidity allows all the flavors to unfold.

The Summary

  • The Bogle Phantom Red Blend 2016 gives you a wine-drinking experience you do not often find at this price point.
  • I found over the years that Bogle wines ten to over-deliver for their price point and the Phantom is no exception.
About the Author
Don’t tell anyone, but there is absolutely no correlation between the cost of wine and the quality of wine.