It was my daughter’s last night home before she had to head back to college to start her second semester. The night was raining and cold and there were two good NFL playoff games on TV. We asked her what she wanted to eat her last night home; no surprise for a teen from Texas who attends college in Ohio she wanted Tex-Mex. OK! We began discussing the many different Tex-Mex restaurants around town to decide where she wanted to eat dinner. Her decision was take out so we could stay home, warm and dry, and watch football! That worked fine with me because most of the local Tex-Mex restaurants serve great margaritas and very bad wine. Furthermore, it provided me an opportunity to open a sample I had recently received from Trinchero Family Estates that would pair well with Tex-Mex. Trinchero Family Estates is a powerhouse of wine and spirits, with many familiar labels. Please visit their web site to see their entire portfolio of wines and spirits.
Sutter Home Red Blend: This wine poured a vibrant violet into the glass and opened with an inviting aroma of red berries with a touch of mocha and vanilla. On the palate it offered flavors of red cherries, raspberries, pomegranate and cranberries, dark chocolate, black coffee, licorice, a hint of baking spice, with a smoky leather finish. It was very well balanced with round acidity and refined tannins that lingered on the palate in a dry, mouth-watering finish. I could not believe it was a Sutter Home wine that retails for $6. I have had far more expensive wine that was considerably less balanced and flavorful than the Sutter Home Red Blend. The Red Blend was crafted from 50% Zinfandel, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Zinfandel came from the Sierra Foot Hills and Lodi; Merlot was sourced from coastal vineyards; and the Cabernet Sauvignon was also source from Lodi, California. The Zin is evident on the palate, providing much of the flavor and body. I recommend serving the Red Blend slightly chilled at 60ish degrees Fahrenheit. This was an easy drinking wine perfect for weeknights and casual dinners with friends that is great on the wallet and the palate. Furthermore, it would be a great wine to assist a white wine only drinker transition to red or serve to a “wine snob” without them seeing the bottle to aid in new perceptions. This is a new wine for Sutter Home, launched in December 2014, and widely available at wine retailers nation-wide. It contained 13.8% alcohol.
Inexpensive wine from the US scares me at times because those wines have a tendency to be fruit bombs with no acidity and quite sweet; I simply cannot and will not drink them. (My husband has done me more than one solid by chugging a glass of bad wine for me that we were served by friends while they were distracted that I simply could not drink yet did not want to be rude about it! The man is a saint!) It does not cost a lot to produce a well-made, balanced wine with round acidity, tamed fruit and well delivered tannins; countries outside the US do it all the time. Yet frequently US wine makers do not provide consumers these wines under $20. However, I must say I love it when a wine challenges my thoughts and perceptions of wine, which is why I am always open to trying any given wine, you just never know what you might be missing if you don’t have an open mind! The Sutter Home Red Wine did just that!
As I said above, our dinner consisted of Tex-Mex take out from a favorite local restaurant called El Norte Mexican Grill. I paired the Sutter Home Red Blend with El Norte’s Mercado Style Tacos (handmade masa tortillas stuffed with slow-cooked spicy beef, then folded and grilled, garnished with lettuce, tomato, roasted poblano pepper strips and guacamole) and El Norte’s famous white cheddar queso. The meal was delicious (as always) and the wine paired beautifully with the beef tacos with the balanced dryness of the wine taming the spice in the beef. Additionally, Sutter Home suggests pairing the Red Blend with Beef Stew. It would also pair well with pizza, burgers, steak and barbeque.
Sutter Home has a great web site that is both educational and entertaining. If you are a wine novice or long time wine drinker wanting to learn more about the drink you love I recommend you visit their web site. About Sutter Home from their web site:
When the Trinchero family bought the Sutter Home Winery in 1948, they had a vision, a passion, and apparently, an insight into consumer tastes. In the early 1970s, Sutter Home started a trend when the company created White Zinfandel, introducing a new, sweeter flavor profile. They changed the way Americans enjoyed wine by offering them high-quality varietals at an affordable price. By the 1980s and 1990s, Sutter Home became a household name and the second largest independent family-run winery in the United States.
Sutter Home continued to reach beyond the bottle by launching one of the first breast cancer awareness programs in 2001. Through the Sutter Home for Hope® program, the company has raised more than $800,000 toward breast cancer awareness and research. Then in 1990, the Build a Better Burger® recipe contest was born, demystifying the wine experience by pairing America’s favorite everyday meal with its favorite wine brand—Sutter Home. And with an exciting $100,000 grand prize, it continues to bring together burger and wine enthusiasts every year.
With a fresh new label, Sutter Home continues to reflect the evolution of the brand and its consumers. With 20 different varietals to choose from in the Sutter Home portfolio, there’s a wine to suit every mood and every palate.
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with Sutter Home’s Red Blend is Ain’t Messin Round by Gary Clark Jr. Sutter Home is not messing around with this wine. It is flavorful and well balanced and an easy wine to drink.
Get your own bottle of Sutter Home Red Blend and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!
13 responses to “A Pleasant Wine Surprise”
You had me at 50% Zinfandel……Salud!
Yes, the Zin really impacts the round flavors and acidity of this inexpensive surprise!
Great night and great song!
Thank you for reading and commenting. It was a fun! 😉
I’d love to make the transition, but I’m still afraid of migraines! But it’s nice to see an affordable wine like that.
I wish I could help you!!
Sounds like my kind of fun! To top it off – queso! Pour me a glass of that. You reminded me of how Mexican food ( my fave cuisine I might add) varies so dramatically even between regions in the US – including CA between Nor Cal and So. Cal – another fine reason to get on over to Dallas. I commend you for your brave curiosity – your review was well done on Sutter Home – those Lodi blends are getting better and better – especially on the wallet. Gotta save the dough for that cheese. Xoxo
I was totally channeling you as I was sipping and writing. This wine is so up your alley. When you come to Dallas you MUST let me know!!! Cheers
I will! I need to book a Tex Mex Queso tour of Dallas – with a side of wine. Xo
WE use to have a El Norte also. It was awesome until new ownership took over. Great read! I wish we had more Tex-Mex by us. It is not too popular here. :o(
Really? I wonder if they were connected. Ours is just a family owned local spot but they could have had one in NJ too, you never know! You are welcome to come to Dallas! I will make sure you get good Tex-Mex!
I don’t think it is connected. It seemed to be just a single place and never mentioned anyplace else. When they sold the new people kept the name but the food went down hill and we joke (but not really) that is now a front for something else. No one ever in there, but it remains open. LOL
[…] with you (remember how much I enjoyed that Sutter Home Red Blend that retailed for $6; read “A Pleasant Wine Surprise” here.) So I ask you once again, “What does a wine label mean to […]