Three Finger Jack East Side Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Lodi
Cost: $21-23
I am always on the lookout for new wines, especially red wines. Many red grapes are easier to grow, and the grapes seem more forgiving during the wine making process.
So trying a new red wine is less of a gamble than trying a white you have never had before.
I was pleased but not surprised when I tried the new wine from Delicato, Three Finger Jack East Side Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 ($21-23). Even better, the wine has a great backstory, which you can think about while drinking the wine. The 2016 vintage is the first bottling of this wine, released this year.
The wine is a gorgeous deep red in the glass, with dark fruit aromas. The first sips reveal flavors of black cherry, blackberry, cassis and charred oak with hints of black pepper. The flavors are concentrated, but the wine is silky and supple, with a smooth mouthfeel. The finish is long and smooth.

The majority of the grapes for this wine come from the East Side Ridge in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The area has a classic Mediterranean climate, with warm days and cool evenings. The vineyard is 100 miles east of the San Francisco Bay at the edge of the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta. Cool breezes from the water keep the grapes ripening slowly so they develop maximum flavor.
The site is near where Delicato’s founder Gaspare Indelicato planted his first vines nearly 100 years ago.
The fruit is picked in the cool of the night and immediately destemmed into fermentation tanks at the winery. It then spends 24-48 hours slowly warming up to fermentation temperature.
The winemaker controls the temperature during fermentation and uses pump overs to gain flavor and color extraction. Once the wine is made, a portion is aged on a blend of American and French oak while another portion is maintained in stainless steel to provide the blending options to craft the bold and structured blend.
It is then put in distinctive jug-shaped bottles, shorter than the usual cabernet bottle you see, but still containing 750 ml. It looks like it could be a whiskey bottle or an old timey wine bottle.
Judging by photos and marketing material it looks like Delicato is trying to attract young people who are confident, non-conforming edgy and spirited. But this wine is so good, even us older drinkers will appreciate it.
The brand is based on the legend of Three Finger Jack, an outlaw who roamed the Sierra Foothills during the Gold Rush days, looking for miners to rob. You can picture him riding the lonely foothills as the sun goes down, or waiting in ambush for an unsuspecting miner.
The name itself gets your imagination racing, but no one seems to know how he lost his fingers, or what happened to him. Did he get caught and hanged? Or did he hit it big on a robbery and retire to a ranch? Or a winery? Who knows? But you can think about it while sipping this wine.
The movie “The Mask of Zorro” does have one memorable scene where Three Finger Jack dies trying to do something noble.
“We are excited to add Three Finger Jack into the Delicato Family Wines portfolio,” said Cheryl Indelicato, family ambassador, Delicato Family Wines, “We are building on our momentum by launching a new brand inspired by the Lodi vineyards where my grandfather planted his first vines in 1924.”
Winery: Delicato Family Wines offers a portfolio of premium wines from a selection of notable wine-growing regions in California, Germany, and Chile. It is one of the faster growing wine business in the world, as it continues to add new brands such as Three Finger Jack.
The winery harvests grapes from more than 6,000 acres of estate vineyards in California’s Napa, Lodi, Monterey and Sonoma regions to craft wines that express the diversity of these appellations.
The business started in 1935 when Gasparé Indelicato started making his own wines after moving from Italy to California and planting his first vines in 1924. Gasparé, his brother-in-law, and their twin wives took turns with a hand driven press to produce their first vintage consisting of 3,451 gallons of wine (just under 1,500 cases).
As the business grew Gasparé’s three sons, Vincent, Frank and Anthony, joined. Now Chris and Jay Indelicato, third generation family members and Anthony’s sons, are active.
The Delicato brands include Gnarly Head, Delicato, Twisted, Bota Box, Black Stallion, Loredona, La Merika, Massimo, Brazin, HandCraft, Domino, Fog Head, Sequin, Santa Rita, Toad Hollow, Wolfgang Puck, Irony and several others.
The family is dedicated to environmentally sensitive and economically sustainable business practices.
Goes with: My wife Teri and I had this intense wine with lobster ravioli, one of the things we like to pick up when we visit a Trader Joe’s. They come frozen, and each package is enough for the two of us.
After boiling the ravioli we cover them in some kind of tomato sauce, usually a bottled sauce such as Newman’s Own. This makes an elegant meal that is extremely easy to fix.
The bold flavors of the wine match up well with the spicy tomato sauce, but the wine is mellow enough not to overpower the delicate lobster flavor. It made a great pairing.
You also could serve this wine with juicy steaks, lamb chops, rare burgers or aged cheeses. 

If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at

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