The 2010 Triptych Red (a triptych is a 3 panel painting or carving) is a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 20% Petite Sirah sourced from Broken Earth Wineries Estate vineyard, Shimmin Canyon Vineyard, in Paso Robles, located inside San Luis Obispo County which in turn is inside the larger Central Coast AVA and situated about half way between Los Angles and San Francisco. This is a Rhone style (France) blend, when you see Meritage on the label that indicates a Bordeaux style blend. The Grenache underwent extended maceration, to put that simply, that means they left the grape skins, seeds and sometimes vine branches in with the juice during fermentation. With extended maceration, they leave all the bits and pieces in the vats even after fermentation stops, this allows them to extract every last drop of flavor and texture out of the grape and vines. It also softens tannins, not that Grenache usually has tannin problems. They imported the yeasts used to start fermentation from the Priorat region of Spain, simply because the winemaker likes how that yeast enhances the fruit and mouthfeel. That is a pretty good resume for a wine I found for $8.99 on sale, though their website lists it for $15. The alcohol content is a stout 14.5%.
The color is black cherry red with a crimson halo. The nose is a good mix of fruit and spice, black cherry, Christmas spice, a whiff of smoke, menthol and sweet strawberry. This a medium bodied wine, but with a lush mouthfeel and loads of flavor. It tastes of plum and black cherry, Altoids spice, baking chocolate and cranberry. The mid palate shows a little earthiness and some creamy blueberry. The tannins hover around the edges of this wine, bring structure but never getting in the way. The acidity is well balanced and helps a fruit/spice finish tingle on your tastebuds for a respectable amount of time and actually almost fades away, then comes back strong.
The Triptych Red is a fun wine to drink, there is a lot going on in the glass and the addition of Petite Sirah instead of Mourvedre to the usual GSM mix brings an interesting change of pace. If you are a fan of the wines from the Southern Rhone Valley, you will like this wine. It is Paso Robles, not French, so it does not have the structure of the Rhone Reds (it’s not too far off), but it has appealing lush fruit and interesting spice flavors in abundance. I found this wine at a Meijer’s supermarket, 5 years ago you would never have expected to find interesting, unusual wines anywhere but the cool wine shop in town that “gets it”. Today cool wine can be found next to the canned peas aisle.