Sunday, December 29, 2019

One More One-Hitter: End of Year Barrel Bomb

I guess I wasn't completely accurate -- there is one more Naked Vine left in me for 2019.

The Sweet Partner in Crime and I recently returned from a whirlwind holiday trip to visit various family and friends. We started with my fam in Eastern Kentucky, then made our way back to our until-recent home Newport to spend some time with friends, and concluded our jaunt in Dayton to see the SPinC's family.

Thanks to a new Yeti cooler, we were able to pack along holiday meals for both families, including some truly decadent ice cream from the Berkey Creamery and a holiday ham from the Meats Lab at Penn State.

We arrived in Dayton on Christmas Day, only to discover that Pam's brother-in-law, Dapper Donnie, had been hit hard by the flu and spent Christmas Eve in the hospital. Alas, he wasn't able to join us in our holiday feed -- so we sent him a hammy care package. Donnie did send us a gift, though -- a bottle of wine that goes right along with the bourbon-barrel theme we've had running through the site's electrons this year: Barrel Bomb 2017 Red Blend.

Barrel Bomb has a similar origin to some of the 1000 Stories wines I've covered recently. The wine's made from a blend of red grapes sourced from Lodi, California. I'm not sure what the exact blend is, but figure that Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon figure heavily. The wine comes in a stubby bottle with a replaceable cork -- which might make it easy to lose among the bourbons in your liquor cabinet.

Let's start with the truth-in-advertising bit. "Bomb" is an accurate descriptor for this wine. Any wine backboned with Zinfandel has the potential to wind up as higher potency, but the trend over the last decade has been towards more restraint in alcohol content. By contrast, the folks at Barrel Bomb decided to party like it's 2010 all over again. This wine clocks in at a muscular 16.5% ABV.

The winemakers, however, throttled back on the fruit-foward nature of these grapes. The flavor is actually somewhat restrained, if you can believe it. Perhaps the 12 months that the wine spends in oak, with the last 90 days in bourbon casks, mellows it out. The nose is big and fruity, with vanilla riding the back of blueberry and cherry. The body's not subtle -- big fruit, licorice, and smoke over a pretty considerable tannic base that hold on through a powerful but balanced finish.

In my mind, I think this might end up a better end-of-night sipper than a real dinner pairing. There's a little "portishness"  here, so I tried it with some really nice brie that we got as a gift from Lady Vertu, and it worked well -- although I'd probably go with even a bigger cheese, like a Stilton. Chocolate is also an obvious accompaniment.

All in all, if you're looking for something to sip on during these colder months -- you might give this a try. Also, if you're giving any more gifts, the aesthetic of the bottle itself is interesting.

Barrel Bomb retails for $16-18. They also make a straight Cabernet Sauvignon, which I haven't tried yet.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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