The StoryThe Dearly Beloved I Thee Red 2016 is a kitchen sink blend, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Sirah sourced from vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. Trader Joe's sells this blend for $7.99 and the Dearly Beloved website shows they produce 2 Red blends and a Chardonnay and the website prices are $12 to $14 (and I think I've seen this at Target and maybe other stores). The Dearly Beloved brand has been around for a while, CWF first encountered these wines for the 2009 vintage and its major claim to fame is the painted on Mexican Day of the Dead skull for a label. Dark bottle, red label, a flowery skull and you have a Red wine that kills at a Halloween party. I think skulls are appropriate year-round, but that's me. The 2016 vintage is fairly lengthy bottle aging for a $12 to $14 wine and seriously long for a $7.99 Red. The website says they ferment and age each grape varietal separately and then create the final blend. The back label mentions oak seasoning flavors but doesn't specify how the flavors got there. The alcohol content is 14.5%.The Tasting NotesThe color is black cherry red with black highlights. The nose is pretty decent, spicy with ripe berries, a little chocolate, some pepper, slightly smokey, and savory. This is a medium-body Red blend, full-flavored with good structure, wasn't expecting this for $7.99 or even $12. It starts with blackberry, sour cherry, light herbs, black pepper, and licorice. The mid-palate throws in some orange zest, tart cranberry, dusty tannins (you feel them more than tasting them), with a late hit of jammy raspberry. The acidity is nicely balanced, pair this with stews, steaks, that sort of thing, something hearty. The finish is bold, fades quickly, but lingers on.The Summary * Ok, maybe I short-changed this Red by calling it a Halloween party wine, it's a legit Red blend. I know wine tastes are subjective, but I like this style of Red blend, I like some rough edges over soft and smooth. * It had a skull on the label, it had to be good. You can pick a wine by the label and skulls and skeletons haven't let me down, yet. * I more I drink under ten dollar wine, the more I am amazed at how many of them I actually enjoy.
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