The 18th Man Red Blend 2013, well, actually, this is a first for me, I am not exactly sure of the name of this wine. “State of Origin” is written in large letters on the side and 18 or 18th Man is shown in various places on the label, so take your pick as to the name. Anyway, this blend is a single vineyard Estate wine grown in Paso Robles and sold by Trader Joe’s for $7.99. The blend is 60% Syrah, 19% Petit Verdot, 12% Malbec, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. The back label says “vinted and bottled by” Familia Nueva Vineyards, which has been a name that Ancient Peaks Winery (Paso Robles) has used when making wine for Trader Joe’s. So is the single estate vineyard the Ancient Peaks Vineyard? Maybe, but there is not enough information on the bottle to say for sure. Just the same, single vineyard wines from Paso Robles rarely sell for 8 bucks. The current release is the 2013 vintage, which indicates that this bottle has been aged longer than the typical $7.99 Red wine. If you check current store shelves you will see a lot of 2014 bottles and an occasional 2015. The alcohol content is 14.8% which is a little on the large side.
The color is a dark, extracted purple with an almost clear halo. The nose is ripe blackberry and strawberry, molasses, spearmint gum, black cherry, and cedar. This wine has a very good mouthfeel, along with bright fruit flavors and a solid bit of structure. It starts with blueberry and licorice, a little Dr. Pepper, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds cherry, exotic spice and a hint of cold coffee. The tannins and acidity have their place and do not interfere with sipping enjoyment. The finish is strong and lasts and lasts.
The 18th Man Red Blend 2013 or whatever its name is, is a pretty solid cool weather Red Blend. It has enjoyable flavor and enough structure to let the flavors fully unfold. The alcohol content is 14.8%, but it holds that alcohol pretty well, it does not taste “hot”. As for pairing, beef stew or fajitas come to mind or just drink it, there is enough going on in the glass to make it an enjoyable sipper.