Recently I had the chance to taste four wines from Chronic Cellars, Paso Robles California. The labels are fantastically eye-catching and completely on point for Halloween. But what’s truly important is what ends up in the bottle, not on the label, right? I mean labels can be fun, but you don’t want the vino you’re drinking, whatever the occasion, to be a horror.
Thankfully, the wines I tried from Chronic Cellars would be welcome at any Halloween gathering, without giving your wallet a scare.
I shared them with a couple of friends and we were in consensus that wines were terrific. Here are our takes on each bottle.
We’ll start with our favorite, Dead Nuts 2016. Dead Nuts is a predominantly Zinfandel blend, tempered with Petite Syrah and Tempranillo. We found this to be the smoothest, roundest, and most luscious of the reds. It’s medium bodied, with silky smooth tannins and lovely red fruit. It retails for $25 and Pinot Noir fans especially loved its elegance.
Need a white to bring to a party? Stone Fox 2017 is sure to be a crowd pleaser among white wine lovers. Which isn’t easy as white wine enthusiasts often separate themselves into camps of, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or sweet wine fans. But Stone Fox might bring them together. It hits all the right notes. Lush, without being heavy, fruity without being sweet, and dry without the aggressive acidity that can often be on the finish of many dry whites. A fresh, lightly fruity, and floral nose, with notes on the palate of peach and pear, and nice mineralty on the finish. It retails for $22. Stone Fox is a unique blend of Grenache Blanc, Voigner, and Picpoul.
Purple Paradise 2016 was by far the label we were most attracted to. Like Dead Nuts, Purple Paradise is also a blend of predominantly Zinfandel. While Dead Nuts has 73% Zinfandel, just under the required 75% for it to be labeled simply “Zinfandel,” by US standards, Purple Paradise has enough Zinfandel, 79% to be labeled as a single varietal. In Europe there must be 85% of the grape to be listed as one varietal.
Now, back to Purple Paradise. We found this wine to be rich with bright red fruit and a lot of earthiness. A very earthy nose. Drier with more heat on the finish than Dead Nuts. Dry Cabernet fans should appreciate this wine. It retails for $15.
Sofa King Bueno 2016 is a blend with Syrah, Grenache, Petite Syrah, Mourvedre, and Tanat. It retails for $22. Fruity, fresh and bright this wine reminded us of Chianti, though there is no Sangiovese, the predominant varietal in Chianti, in this food friendly blend.