The 2009 Whiplash Redemption Red Blend is 65% Syrah, 25% Barbera and 10% Zinfandel sourced from more than one California grape growing AVA. Whiplash wines are the value brand for Reata Wines from Napa Valley. The Barbera grape was the 2nd most planted grape in Italy until 1985 when a group of idiotic producers added too much methanol to their wine, a little increases the alcohol content and a lot kills you and several dozen people died drinking their wine. It wasn’t the Barbera grapes fault, it was entirely the winemakers, but sales of Barbera wines plummeted and just recently started to rebound. The blend is aged in a combination of stainless steel tanks and neutral French and American oak barrels. Neutral oak barrels, are barrels that have been used multiple times for aging wine and no longer have much oak to impart to the wine. If there isn’t much oak characteristics left in the wood, why not just use all stainless steel? Well, the same wine aged in stainless steel tastes slightly different when aged in neutral oak. The alcohol content is 13.2%. This wine should sell for between $10 and $13.
The color is muted cherry red with a clear halo. The nose is a good mix of red berries, fudge brownies, spearmint chewing gum, a bit of bacon fat and a faint whiff of smoke. This is a well balanced wine, for a blend that is big on fruit, it has enough length that the flavors can all find a spot to shine. It starts with rich, extracted blackberry, followed by strawberry, a sharp hit of non-sweet cola and dark chocolate. The mid-palate brings a slight tug from the tannins, a healthy wallop of raisin spice (but not over-the-top) and tart raspberry. The acidity makes its presence know on the finish and helps a fairly full finish last a very long time.
The Whiplash Redemption Red is a whole lot of fun to drink, there is a ton of flavor going on in your glass. My first thought on sipping this Red is that it reminded me of a Rhone Valley wine, because it had good fruit and balance. But on second thought, the balance is the only thing that is Rhone-like, this is a blend that tastes like California, rich, spicy and delicious. Whiplash Redemption is a pretty cool name for a bottle of wine, the label is way too boring for the name and the wine inside the bottle rocks.