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Enjoying Wine and Beer in the Augusta GA area

Rabble Red Blend Matches Great Wine To Eye-Catching Label

Rabble Red Blend 2015, Paso Robles

Cost: $17-19

This is another wine where the label grabbed my eye and the wine inside the bottle surpassed my expectations.

Packaging has become more important in wine sales, as new wineries and wine brands spring up everywhere. Producers want to grab our eyes at the store and hope we will be intrigued enough by the package to try their wine. Then they have to deliver with a great wine.

The labels on the Rabble wines do a good job of grabbing attention. They are fascinating. Each features a selection of historical woodblock print renditions depicting nature’s wrath, sourced from the Nuremberg Chronicles, dating back to the 1400s.

The print on the red blend bottle shows an apocalyptic comet falling on Florence, with the unicorn and the phoenix. The label may show you a disaster, but the merlot blend inside the bottle is anything but. It really delivers on the promise of the label.

The bright ruby color in the glass leads to pleasant fruit and spice aromas. The first sip brings notes of black cherry, blueberry pie and warm spice. The fruit and muted tannins are in harmony, with no wrong notes popping up. As you swallow you get a lingering, lush plum finish.

I would describe this wine as smooth and easy to drink. The tannins are subdued and the juicy fruit flavors come through.

Many of the new labels that pop up come from wineries that don’t have their own vineyards, but Rabble does have estate vineyards. The grapes for this red blend come from Paso Robles, and, in fact, all come from the same vineyard at Mossfire Ranch. It is rare to find a blend like this from a single vineyard.

The blend is 90 percent merlot, 8 percent cabernet sauvignon and 2 percent petite sirah. After fermentation the wine spends 10 months in 20 percent new French oak, 80 neutral. You could cellar this wine for another five years, at least.

This is a great price for a single-vineyard wine, and it is unusual that the winery doesn’t brag about that on the label. The Mossfire Ranch vineyard was planted in 1996 on steep hillsides and a rolling valley at the confluence of sun, snow and sea. Temperatures can fluctuate 40 degrees from day to night, which helps concentrate the flavors in the grapes and promotes a more uniform ripeness.

Rabble also produces an excellent cabernet sauvignon for about $25. It is full of red plum and cherry flavors with subdued tannins. It also spends 10 month ins in 20 percent new oak.

Winery: Rabble Wine Company is part of the Tooth & Nail Winery on the west side of Paso Robles, which is a rising star among California wine areas. There are a lot of great wines coming from Paso Robles.

Rabble was founded by Rob and Nance Murray in 2011. Other labels that come under the Tooth & Nail umbrella include Stasis, Amor Fati and Destinata. All have their own special historical drawings for labels.

Rob Murray is a long-time grape grower in California, selling grapes to some of the best-known wineries in the state.

The innovative Rabble labels all incorporate beautiful public domain art rooted in history, showcasing a rebellion in wine.  The wine style exemplifies bright acidity, all while showcasing true varietal characteristics. The Central Coast winery showcases the best fruit from Paso Robles and the Santa Maria Valley.  These single varietal wines embrace characteristics of the grape.

The winemakers strive for balance in all their wines, keeping alcohol levels below 15 percent and keeping tannins muted.

The winery is housed in the Tooth & Nail Winery castle, one of the most visited wineries in the state. The look is French chateau meets industrial tasting room, embracing history, but emphasizing modern quality.

Mossfire Ranch is a scenic 320-acre property on the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail, in the Paso Robles AVA. The vineyards produce great fruit and striking views. The 243 planted acres boast an eclectic mix of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, petite sirah, zinfandel and tempranillo. It was originally planted in 1996 and was acquired by Rob Murray in 2006.

The vineyard was purchased not just for its diverse terroir and varietal holdings, but also for its undeveloped acreage that shows great potential for additional planting.

The Rabble red blend was a great match for the hearty beef vegetable soup.

Goes with: We had this with beef vegetable soup, one of my favorite comfort foods. The smooth, comforting wine was a great pairing for this meal, with all the fruit and vegetable flavors playing off each other.

The wine also would pair well with lamb chops on the grill, duck, pork tenderloin and many vegetarian dishes with mild sauces as well as such cheeses as havarti, Monterey Jack and Swiss.

The soup could be considered a “dump” soup, because after boiling cut up beef and beef shank you just dump in all the vegetables and let it cook. I add extra beef broth and then add the vegetables. Most of the time I do onions, leeks, red potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, celery, canned tomatoes and parsley. Sometimes I add fresh corn and okra.

After all the ingredients are in the soup, it’s ready to eat in about an hour, but I usually let it cook much longer to get the flavors all blended. I usually serve it over noodles. I always make a large pot so I can have plenty of leftovers.

You can tailor this to your tastes by adding whatever vegetables you prefer. With a soup like this there is no wrong way to make it.

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