Maiden Santa Barbara

The old school BRAVE & MAIDEN. The original UNION, before everything else and of COURSE before the RIDICULOUS new appt-only no-expense-spared winery on Refugio Rd in Santa Ynez. This was (and is) easily one of 2 or 3 of the most incredible bargains in red wine blends on the Central Coast at 24.99.

Deep deep garnet. Big smoldering lurid nose rimming with mint and greasy pump and Oompa Loompa chocolate and all the curry-comb your twisted little heart of funky darkness can handle.

In the mouth, beautiful concentration spilling a little of its low-budget nutty guts and eucalyptus vanillin against a briar & sharp acid backdrop that become structural centerpiece as soft tannins duck out of sight. Through all–nose AND palate–black cherry bounces up unforgivingly like a seal at the aquarium.

Deep rosy and intensely fruited, this is the PERFECT blend of crowd-pleasing attraction and geeky nuance.

You can’t taste this wine at the winery, but it is fairly well distributed. The winemaker was gracious enough to give me a tour of this place, and tasting there is reserved for the black-label stuff. Get an appt at this tasting room next time you are up in these parts. And in the meantime, find yourself some UNION. Quite possibly the world’s most perfect Monday wine. They told me once what it is, but I’ve forgotten. CF & SY? CF, ME & SY? Something like that.

2011 BRAVE & MAIDEN ESTATE ‘Union’ Red Blend SantaYnez Valley Santa Barbara County 14.3

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