NV Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the winery “Many of you remember the old Rabbit Ridge Allure. It was a Rhône style blend made from various grapes we found that particular year that we thought would make interesting wine. It was very good, was a great value, and was like a wine from Cotes du Rhône or Provence.

We have not produced an Allure since 1998. Now however, a dream comes true for Rabbit Ridge with the release of our Allure de Robles. Our vineyards in Paso Robles are in the ideal climate for Rhône varietal wines. Allure de Robles is an estate grown wine that is a Chateau Neuf du Pape style. This wine is primarily a blend of Grenache, Counoise, Syrah and Mourvedre. The clones of the grapes are predominantly from Tablas Creek Winery and Vineyard Nursery, meaning they are cuttings from Chateau Beaucastle in Chateau Neuf du Pape. The wine is from 2003 and 2004 vintages. We made Allure de Robles a non-vintage wine in order to keep it in true Chateau Neuf du Pape style.

Allure de Robles is priced extremely moderately at one-third to one-half of what similar wines are selling for from the Paso Robles region. 1,994 cases produced.”

What I Think:

Again, TJ’s gets accolades for getting the prices they do, however it is that they do it as this wine cost double direct from the winery. I found myself opening this after dinner one evening as I didn’t want to finish the Rosenblum Petite Sirah nor the Navarro Pinot that were the open and available options. First off, this is never the ideal situation for opening a bottle of wine you’ve never had before. You want a known commodity. Something that when you pop the cork you know it is ready to drink. It doesn’t need air or food to be at its best, something like this Nero d’ Avola. Since I had nothing of the sort on hand I pulled the cork and hoped for the best.

This wine is made out of a mixture of grapes from 2003 and 2004 and was the first of this label that they had produced since 1998. Try as I did, I couldn’t find anything specific on why it had not been made over the years or a blend percentage by year. The wine is primarily a blend GSM (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre). GSM’s can have quite a different look and feel based on which grape is dominant. I would never think of the Australian version as elegant or the French as a bold offering. Since no blend percentage was readily available and the name implied a leaning towards Europe my expectations were set accordingly.

Even as I was opening this bottle I was thinking that it looked very light in color. I had a misconception that lighter color always meant lower alcohol content. This was quickly erased when I saw this one measured in at nearly 15%. I guess darker only means stronger when it comes to beer… Initially, I was getting more floral notes on the nose than fruit. With some time it seemed to get a bit fruiter and familiar on the nose. When I say familiar over the two days I was drinking this wine there was something nagging my mind that I should know based on what I was drinking, alas it has yet to come to me. On the palate there were loads of light, forward fruits with raspberries being the most prevalent. This held quite well through the mid-palate before giving way to a slightly peppering, simple finish. This was certainly a pleasant effort. With the loads of raspberries and hints of strawberries I came around to thinking of it as a poor man’s, fruit-driven Pinot Noir. This realization really came to the fore when I paired a glass with some turkey tacos which easily overpowered this wine. To recap, everything about this wine is light; perhaps almost even a bit rosy (is that what was nagging me). If this appeals to you I recommend giving this one a go. Given that it is light and refreshing It could be perfect pre-meal wine for a summer barbeque. I wonder if it would work chilled?

Rating: 12th Bottle

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17 thoughts on “NV Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles

  1. I didn’t think this wine was light at all. It seemed on the heavier side, a blend heavy on the Syrah and Mourvedre side. It must be a difference in the vintage, funny they do not list the vintage on the bottle. Also, I believe I paid $4.99 instead of $5.99. I thought this was a decent wine for the price. Maybe you should give it another try, since I think this wine might have changed a lot since this review.

  2. I just opened a bottle bought last weekend, and I feel the same as Gary. Definitely heavy on the Syrah and not as fruity as you describe. Perhaps I need to let it breathe.

    I also paid $4.99 (in El Cerrito, CA) and suspect that the blend may have changed since your review.

  3. @Gary Had a bottle of this labeled 2005 and agree it was not light. It that what you are drinking? I am thinking it is a “12th Bottle”. Things were a little off as my in-laws were over and I had it with an early steak dinner at 3pm. Given being out of sorts I’ll certainly give it another try

    @Jason As mentioned mine was labeled 2005, same as yours? Excited to see it is no longer NV…

  4. The Allure de Robles from Rabbit Ridge is indeed 2005. As our grapes have matured and we finally have enough grenache it will always be vintage dated from now on. Because 2005 was such a large Syrah crop this wine does have more Syrah in it. In fact there is even some Petite Sirah. The next grape is Grenache and then Mourvedre. I grew up drinking Guigal Cotes du Rhone it was always a great price and a good value under $10. That is what I want to do with Allure de Robles especially since most Cotes du Rhone wines are over $10 some well over—-Erich Russell winemaker/owner Rabbit Ridge.

  5. @Erich Thanks much for the comment, glad to hear we can look forward to a vintage moving forward. What is the blend percentage for the 2005? I applaud your approach on making a wine that is a great price and good value. As a consumer I can tell you we are all looking for more of that!

  6. Much delayed in posting this but received an email from Rabbit Ridge eons ago with the blend percentage on the ’05 and ’06 along with a preview on the ’07. They had this to say:

    “The 2005 is 63% Syrah, 10% Grenache, 4% Mourvedre and the rest 10 other varietals
    The 2006 is 53% Syrah, 17% Mourvedre.11% Grenache and the rest 10 other varietals

    The 2007 is still in barrels but the grenache and mourvedre percentage will go way up in that year. Instead of making the wine the same year in and year out I am letting the harvest aide in making the blend and hopefully creating a unique wine every year instead of something tasting almost the same every year.”

    Like the approach of letting the harvest decide! I’ll be keeping my eye out for more of this one…

  7. Don’t know what vintage you reported on but it surely does not match up with the 2007. Full bodied, deep and bold, with substantial berry notes. This blend of unspecified varietals blew me away.

    I was drawn to the price, and intrigued by the whopping 15.4% alcohol. Not always, but often, high alcohol content signals a bold, substantial, full bodied wine. This certainly lived up to that expectaton.

    As of this writing, at just under $5.00, I consider this to be one of the best values in red wine today

  8. @Jerry Thanks for the note. As you may have noticed in my comment above The blend is primarily a GSM with the Syrah being the majority and ten varietals making up the last 10% or so. I shot off an email to get the specifics on the ’07. I picked up a bottle of this on my last visit and am looking forward to trying it. Hope I enjoy it as much as it sounds like you did!

  9. Jason,

    Thanks for your comments. Curious to hear your reaction. If you enjoy big ballsy wines for cheap, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

    Let me know what you think.

    Regards,
    JerryG

  10. Awesome! Our store got a whole pallet, so we’re ready for the Holiday Flyer and I have my 2 bottles already stashed. I’ll update you as soon as I crack one open. ; )

  11. @Jerry I gave it a try last night, here was my tweet “Drinking the Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles (tj’s, $5). Big wine @15.4% a bit hot. But bold, fruity and enjoyable. I’ll be getting more.” I was very happy it had the structure to balance out that high ABV%. I plan on posting a full review in the next few days.

    @Angela Let us know what you think! Anything other wines of interest we can expect in the Holiday Flyer?

  12. Such an interesting wine. I have always felt that great Rhone wines can be made and are made in PR. But the reason I typically pass on them is value and extraction. For 30-40 per bottle, the usual going rate for wine down there, you can get the wonderful Kermit Lynch Les Pallieres Gigondas. This is lower alcohol, more old world styled wine. But Allure des Robles is really nice. Mine is marked 2007. Very heavy and alchoholic (15.4) to my taste but tasty and still well balanced. It is (again to my taste) better after being open a day and aired out. I am a big buyer at this price and I am pleased as can be to keep some wine $$ here in CA! Rabbit, we miss you up here in the north but keep up the the good work.

  13. Killer value for under $10!!!
    A coworker gave me a bottle of 2005 Allure de Robles for xmas. Having been a wicked “old vine zin” fan for years, all I can say is this was a tremendous change! Loved it, hooked, and am running out to look for more! Hope the 2007 outdoes the 05!

  14. We bought some of the 2008 last weekend at local TJ’s, just got back and bought the last four cases that they had in stock, what a great wine for the money(4.99).

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