Last Chance Rack: 14 Hands Hot to Trot 2010 Red Blend

see: gold on the label. no good.Upshot: Sometimes, just sometimes, don’t judge a wine by its label.

I’m really digging on some red blends these days. It isn’t because I can’t handle the purity of any one grape. More likely it is due to budgetary restrictions that I opt for a safer bet. I admit it, I’m a low end wine drinker–unless you’re buyin, mister (or miss, I don’t discriminate). But blends are great. They go way back to dusty old French monks and can be crafted with such mastery that they cost $40,000,000. But they’re also good for evening out flaws in the grape. More varietals in the mix means more flavors to work with in order to get the best bang for the buck.  Sort of like what this does. (We call it the Jesus-erator, but it has yet to work on water.)

So it was that I bought 14 Hands: Hot to Trot Red Blend for $8.99. Now that’s a bargain.

The Wine Curmudgeon gave Hot to Trot some love, even if he found the name silly. A side note, I don’t know how I’ve lived this long without his straight-shooting advice for the, ahem, thrifty wine buyer. Because as anyone who has read my wine “reviews” may have picked up, I’m a sucker for good design and cute animals on wine labels. I never would have bought this on my own, even with the horses. The font situation is a mess l and I hate anything that’s shiny and gold on my wine bottle. But you know…books : covers :: wine : wine labels. Or whatever.

The results are in! The Trot is an easy sipper. Red fruits abound straight out of the gate but they are mellow rather than fangy. Underneath, you will find some black currant and wet soil, if you are so inclined to taste for things like soil in the flavor profile of your beverage. It’s a Columbia River Valley wine through and through. Made up of primarily Merlot, the Syrah and Cabernet add some structure and spice and that keeps things interesting. (I could have sworn there was some Pinot Noir in the mix, but alas I would have been wrong so I’m glad I didn’t.)

Best Use: Home alone after a day shopping and spending waaaay too much on that pair of shoes, luxuriating in a bubble bath that, like this wine, may be inexpensive but it doesn’t leave you feeling cheap.

Soundtrack: Erykah Badu

Food Pairing: Pizza from Vito’s in Cherry Hill, NJ. I’m sure they deliver to the West Coast.

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