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Enjoying Wine and Beer in the Augusta GA area

A Big Bottle Of Big Bird A Cheap Wine Bastard Can Enjoy

rexgoliathfreerangeredinsideRex-Goliath Free Range Red |California

I checked my database and found I’ve reviewed Rex Goliath wines at least 5 times, the last being in 2012. I looked at the dates and found they followed a 3 year pattern or so. These wines are either everywhere en mass at the grocery stores or hidden away. These are non-vintage wines and the price range are similar to Apothic Red which can be $14.99 then it’s on sale for $8 or $9 for month’s on end.

When this brand is $12 for a 750ml I don’t buy it. When it eventually drops to $6.99 I will buy it.

I was in a particularly cheap mood. I peaked in the wine aisle recently while foraging to find Mrs. Dan some Thomas Balsamic Vinaigrette. Fresh Market used to carry several of the Thomas line but they seem to have retrenched to just the Thomas Marinade. So I ventured out to find some to make her happy. I do strive to do that from time to time. It kinda makes up for the cheap wine I force on her.
When we first met we used to cook pork loins in Thomas Sauce. It’s really good. She has since started to use the vinaigrette on her salads. I digress.
rexgoliathfreerangeredbottleUnlike other grocery stores Kroger, or at least the one on Washington Road at Alexander Drive, has a section of 1.5 Liter bottles. I found Cheap Wine Bastard Heaven. They have a slew of wines for $8.99 or so. Yeah, there were some of the old stinkers like Liberty Creek but alas there was my old friend Rex-Goliath. Now they claim they marked it down from $14.99. To be honest, I would not have picked it up if it where $14.99.
Like I said, Rex-Goliath wines seems to disappear then all of a sudden the shelves are filled with every varietal that Rex-Goliiath makes. But what caught my attention, other than the $8.99 price tag, was the Free Range Red. I’ve been fascinated with the jammy reds that are out now. I’ve been drinking them for a while but have failed to review as many as I’ve tried.
I blame Apothic for coming out with the Apothic Dark Limited Release several years ago. It was dark, jammy and quite good. It seem to spawn the Menage a Trois Midnight and the Gnarly Head Authentic Black and on and on and on (at least from my limited viewpoint). When Apothic Dark started coming out as a regular wine (not limited release) I thought they lost their way. After a season it wasn’t black and jammy, it was dark and jelly. It was way too sweet. Now they have Apothic Crush which has taken on the sweet mantel and Apothic Inferno with both jammy flavors and bourbon barrel flavors. The Apothic Dark has started to swing back to just dark and jammy but that’s for another review.

Old Rex has a Free Range Red. That wasn’t around the last time they seem to invade store shelves. At least not in this market. I did some internet searching and found reviews from 2011. I sort of remember seeing it before but not enough to pick it up because the price wasn’t right. It was probably $8.99 but only for a 750ml bottle.

At $8.99 for a 1.5 L I was rather pleased. The label has the usual description about Rex-Goliath being a 47-pound rooster at the turn of the century and a prized circus attraction.

After the boilerplate verbiage about “his royal majesty” it says “Our winemaker was given ‘Free Range’ to develop the best possible red blend. Free Range Red offers jammy red fruit flavors with a smooth and easy finish.”

I like red blends. I generally like the ever expanding jammy “dark” red blends. I’ve even thinking about pushing Pat to having a “jammy red” category in the next CSRA/Coco Wine Festival. Maybe even have BottleReport sponsor the category. Some are like dark dornfelders. Others are laden with fruit but are balanced so not to bring on a sugar rush. Like I said, Apothic Dark seemed to lose its way.

I would love to know the marketing strategy with jammy wines. I’ve heard distributors spout statistics that wine is replacing beer on college campuses but that wine is typically Barefoot or Yellow Tail. The point they are making is this cheap, often sweeter wines, get them hooked and as they get older they will buy sophisticated and of course more expensive wines. There is also a market for sweeter drinks in some age groups. MYX Moscato is a good example. Maybe these jammy wines are a bridge between the Moscato drinks and more expensive wines. I remember drinking Boone’s Farm when I was in school… back when it was wine and not malt liquor… but the gap between it and when I started drinking wine on a regular basis was about 20 years. Once again, I digress.

I like this red blend. It has the usual dark cherry flavors. Their website says “Full-bodied with big and juicy red fruit flavors. Free Range Red is slightly sweet with ripe plum and cocoa, and delivers a mild tannin structure for a smooth, delicious finish.” They list a bunch of recipes that you can pair with it but to be honest this kind of wine doesn’t need to be paired with anything. It will work with just about anything or by itself.

If you prefer a dry cab don’t buy it.

I wouldn’t serve it for the boss to try to make an impression. But I wouldn’t hesitate to open it as the second wine at a Christmas gathering since after the second glass no one seems to notice. Or if a bunch of Alabama or Bulldog fans were over at the house I’d open this first.

This is not super jammy but interesting enough to be called jammy. Maybe a bit smoky. Plummy? Yeah. After the second sip I thought I detected some chocolate notes. Mrs. Dan liked it or liked it enough to where I didn’t get the evil eye. You could put 10 people together and pour this wine and everyone would describe a different dark fruit flavor. Maybe that’s why it’s a blend.

For $8.99 it makes me happy. But it wasn’t the only 1.5L at $8.99. I’m sure I’ll be reviewing another soon. And by the way they had a bunch of other Rex-Goliath varietals except I didn’t see the Zin.

Winery Website: Rex-Goliath

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