The online home of Mark “The Cork Head” Stuart, Certified Wine Professional, speaker/educator, judge, and columnist.

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December 2017
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Big House Red

Big House Red

So I just got through tasting and reviewing the three Big House wines that were sent to me by the distributor.  While writing my tasting notes a different thought process rolled through my head.  Let me explain…

A few years and beers ago my pal Dale, the bartender at Latitude 32 Grill and Pub in Pacific Beach, CA recanted a story from the previous night where a well dressed woman sashayed through the door of this neighborhood pub and asked to see the wine list.  Ever the clever lad Dale is, he went back to the office where he scribbled in large permanent marker three words on a coctail napkin.  “RED”, “WHITE”, “PINK”.  I don’t think she’s been back.

Big House wines offer the same unrepentantly simple offerings.  Big House Red, Big House White, and Big House Pink.  Currently, the 2008’s have been released to most major supermarkets.

While I was tasting through the bottles I was reminded of the many reasons we all enjoy the beverage.  One of which is foremost in most peoples mind; simply for the sheer pleasure of enjoying a glass of wine.

Big House wines are never going to score the highest marks with critics, nor where they intended to.  They are meant to offer a medium for which to share a few laughs with friends and be an uncomplicated partner in the process.  At this, these wines very much succeed.  Plus, shopping for red, white, or pink wine doesn’t get much easier than this.

As these wines were not made for critics, I’m not going to score them, but I’ll offer my take on how they go down and you can decide if you want to give these inexpensive (around 8 bucks), well marketed, niche wines a go the next time you run into one at Safeway.

2008 Big House White:

I found this wine to be clean and aromatic.  It has a lightish body with medium acidity.  Peaches, white flowers, and orange blossom on the nose, with river rock and chalk minerality showing through on the palate.  The finish is short and clean like the entirety of the wine.

2008 Big House Red:

Relatively light in color and body for a red consisting largely of syrah, petit syrah, among a number of other varietals.  Cherry and sour cherry plus a little plum surrounded by a vanilla-carmel shell.  Medium-minus soft tannins that melt away quickly as does the finish.  This is a wine that can be served at room temperature or chilled, whatever the occasion would call for.

2008 Big House Pink:

Red-salmon, almost light pinot in color.  Very rich on the nose for a rose, it shows the grenache sour cherry aspect well, and may be just a hint vegetal–but not to any offensive level.  Medium alcohol and body with what seems to be a very minor note of older oak as well.  Blueberry bubble-gum plus a rush of non-descript mash of frutiness on the palate.  Dry.  This wine is exactly what it is supposed to be.  Simple, inexpensive, likeable.

I wonder now about that day at Latitude 32 if the bar had these wines to offer, would she have returned for another visit.  From what the bartender said about her, well, probably not.  But many others just might have.

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