Friday, March 2, 2012

The Phantom

There is a story that begins, "in the dark recesses of your cellar you sense a presence, hear footsteps."  You stand still, asking, "why is it these things happen to me when I am alone?" You slowly turn, looking over your shoulder only to catch, "in the shadows, a glimpse of muddy boots and old blue jeans."  Sights of "the lurking legacies of hard work and determination left by those who have come before you."

This story is on the label of Bogle Vineyards' Phantom (2008), a blend of old vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and old vine Mourvèdre.  The exact blend is 51% Zinfandel, 47% Petite Sirah, 2% Mourvèdre.  The grapes were cultivated at Bogle's principal vineyard in the Clarksburg American Viticultural Area (AVA), along with its vineyards in the  Lodi and Amador AVAs. The wine is aged for two years in 1 year old, 2 year old and 3 year old American oak barrels.
The winemaker describes the Phantom has having "notes of boysenberry and black fruit are deepened with pipe tobacco and black pepper, with subtle clove and vanilla softly envelop the palate."  He added that the taste of the wine is "intense and luscious, the rich character opens to reveal red fruit of spirited cranberries and raspberries."

For me, the wine pours a dark crimson, with ruby hues around the edge and a center that appears nearly impenetrable to light.  The aromatic elements of the wine hint at black cherries, drawing one into the darkness.  With each sip, apparitions of dark plums, black cherries, and tobacco flavors cross the tongue.  And, just when it seems that the wine is gone, the tongue is gripped by some fairly strong tannins.

The grapes used in this wine -- Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel -- suggest that this hearty wine is best paired with roasted or grilled meats.  One could also pair this wine with earthy dishes, such as a stew or chili.

This wine is available at most wine stores and grocery stores.  The wine sells for about $23.99 a bottle.


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