Dinner with our kitchen tiles from Italy and Cuba behind it.
Dinner with our kitchen tiles from Italy and Cuba behind it.
Hey Mambo Sultry Red Blend 2014, California
Cost: $11-13
S ometimes a bottle of wine will catch you with its label or its name. That’s good marketing. The question is whether you will buy another bottle after drinking the first.
If you do buy another one, that’s good wine making. The best wineries can do both. Some do one or the other, and that leaves them less than successful. This wine comes from a very successful company.
I like the Hey Mambo bottle and label. It’s a fun, catchy story. But they really got me with the wine.
Hey Mambo Sultry Red.
Hey Mambo Sultry Red.
You don’t need a deep, complex wine every night. Sometimes you just want one that’s good and tasty and matches the simple food you’re eating.
The first aromas I got from this wine were vanilla and cherries, and then a whiff of leather. In the mouth there was a lot of jammy fruit, especially blackberry, plum and fig. The finish is longer than I expected it to be, with notes of coconut and cedar.
It’s sort of a kitchen sink blend, with 11 different varietals from 6 different regions. The blend is 37% zinfandel, 23% barbera, 11% petite sirah, 9% ruibired, 6% grenache, 4% tempranillo, 3% carneilian, 3% merlot, 2% pinot noir, 1% mourvedre, 1% cabernet franc.
The region breakdown is 33% Northern Interior Valley, 30% Lodi, 27% Paso Robles, 4% Clarksburg, 3% Lake County, 3% Santa Barbara.
All of the variety adds to the complexity of the wine, but it remains very smooth. This is a very drinkable wine for all occasions, but the price makes it a winner for everyday, easy meals.
The wine also comes with an easy-opening plastic closure. I’ve never seen one quite like it before but it is very easy to open and fits easily back in the bottle to keep the wine fresh for your second glass.
I like the story about the name on the label. When I saw the wine I started singing in my head the old Rosemary Clooney record from the 1950s. The label of the wine bottle says the wine is a tribute to music and dance and wine. “Like riffs from old Blue Note records, our stripes cue up syncopated rhythms–lively and exciting, just like our wines.”
So dig out the old records (or search YouTube), pour a glass of wine and enjoy.
Winery: Hey Mambo is one of several labels owned by 3 Badge Beverage Corporation. The organization started about 11 years ago as The Other Guys, a division of Don Sebastiani & Sons, but its roots in Sonoma run much deeper.
August Sebastiani, president of 3 Badge, is a fourth-generation member of one of California’s pioneer wine families.
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His great-grandfather, Samuele Sebastiani, opened his winery in Sonoma 112 years ago. The winery grew under Samuele’s son August, when it became major wine producer. As the family grew the original winery was sold and the Sebastiani family planted new branches.
One of those was Don Sebastiani & Sons, which includes such big brands as Smoking Loon and Pepperwood Grove. They are known for producing quality wine at a good price and for coming up with catchy names and labels.
The Other Guys became a stand-alone company under the Sebastiani umbrella in 2010 and has been growing ever since.
Under 3 Badge Beverage Corporation, the company’s wine division became 3 Badge Enology (no longer The Other Guys, Inc.) and the spirits division became 3 Badge Mixology (no longer 35 Maple Street Spirits).
The company’s wine brands include Leese-Fitch, Plungerhead, Pennywise, The White Knight, Hey Mambo, Moobuzz and Gehricke; its spirits brands include, Uncle Val’s Gin, Kirk and Sweeney Rum, Bib & Tucker Bourbon and Masterson’s Whiskey.
Last year the 3 Badge wine division moved into the old Sonoma Firehouse, originally built in 1948. The company got its name because August’s grandfather earned three different service badges while he was a volunteer firefighter.
Hey Mambo also makes Swanky White and Dry Rosé.
Hey Mambo and Tombstone make a good weeknight combo.
Hey Mambo and Tombstone make a good weeknight combo.

Goes with: Teri was out of town so my son Michael and I opted for a quick frozen pizza and an evening of “X-Files.” We tossed our favorite frozen pizza from Tombstone (pepperoni for him, sausage for me) into the oven and in no time we had dinner.
The Hay Mambo was perfect with this simple meal. It’s a nice, fresh wine, with a lot of fruit, and the food was just right. I don’t like to cook big meals every night.
Hey Mambo Sultry Red also would pair well with a juicy burger, pasta and tomato sauce or perhaps a beef dish from your favorite Asian takeout place.

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