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Cryptic Red Blend 2011
This wine's subtle toasty notes and ripe fruit flavors will be enhanced when paired with roasted or grilled meats, hearty pasta dishes, or wood-fire oven pizzas.
Blend: 45% Zinfandel, 25% Petite Sirah, 23% Bordeaux Varietals (Cabernet & Merlot), 7% Other Red Varietals
The alchemic blend is comprised primarily of Zinfandel, followed by Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon with small amounts of Barbera and Merlot to add red fruit character and a lush mouth-feel. As for encryption, the process of encoding messages or information that only authorized parties can understand, well that’s a little like winemaking.
The Winemaker, Antonio Trevino, puts much time and energy into each blend and he wants to keep his recipe secret. His desire to keep his blend under wraps ultimately became the inspiration for the Cryptic wheel, a reproduction of a 16th century French encryption machine.
Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredible range of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from tiny, family-owned boutiques to massive corporations, and price and production are equally varied. Plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Valley area, while Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.
Each American Viticultural Area (AVA) and sub-AVA of has its own distinct personality, allowing California to produce wine of every fashion: from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate vineyard acreage. Sonoma County is best known for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône Blends blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with cool climate varieties such as Pinot noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, any wine lover will find something to get excited about here.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.