2008 Novella Synergy

2008 Novella SynergyPrice: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

This wine was once a part of the Eos Estate Winery portfolio. If it still is it is no longer recognized as such. Nary a word about it can be found on their site. That said according to my friends at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) they are indeed still affiliated but appear to be keeping it on the down low. Curious…

Anyhow the bottle had this to say: “Raspberry, black cherry and lilac aromas open this full-bodied, supremely balanced wine. Cherry and berry flavors lead to a long, elegant finish of blackberry, cedar and spice.”

What I Think:

I had this one many moons ago but hadn’t tried it in ages. So when JerryK recently recommended it I decided to give it another shot. A kitchen sink blend this one is 45% Zinfandel, 25% Petite Sirah, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Sangiovese. Quite a hodgepodge wouldn’t you say? How did it turn out you ask?

The nose greets you with wafts of black cherry aromas. The first sip shows this same nice, plush fruit. The palate is smooth and balanced throughout before leading to a creamy finish laden with cedar, dark berry and vanilla notes. These eventually give way to pleasant barrel tannins which linger nicely. This wine is not complex by any means. That said it is not one dimensional either and to me that is all you can ask for in a $7 wine (and more). I’ve had many a bottle that cost three times as much and yet deliver far less. If you are a Zinfandel lover looking for a reasonable priced bottle look no further. Same for those of you that just love at a tasty bottle of wine…

Rating: Buy It

2007 Novella Synergy Blanc

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the bottle “In the tradition of our popular Paso Robles red Synergy blend, we are very pleased to offer this special winemaker’s cuvee of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat Canneli and Pinot Grigio. These varietals collectively highlight the diversity and quality of the Paso Robles appelation. Enjoy this unique and refreshing blend with soft, mild cheeses or baked chicken.”

What I Think:

I stumbled across this one when reading about a customer service story. My first shot of getting my hands on this brought the Chardonnay home. While not bad it was easily forgettable. This one, however, stands up and catches your attention. An interesting blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat Canneli and Pinot Grigio with percentages unknown (I emailed the winery to see if they will provide them for us). The order here is from the bottle and typically the first grape listed is the largest percentage wise. While I get grass and mineral (Sauvignon Blanc) on the nose the initial palate is more green apples (Chardonnay without the oak) so guessing those two grapes are almost equally accounted for. The Muscat appears briefly around mid-palate adding a nice touch of sweetness and finishing with a pleasant lingering citrus flavor. A very pleasing effort and one that I will be buying more of.

Rating: Buy It

Editor’s Note (19-Oct-2008):

I emailed the winery to try and get the tasting notes to determine what the blend percentage was here and surprisingly heard back (thanks AC!). As I guessed the order was true to the percentages and the mix was 55.6% Sauvignon Blanc, 40.8% Chardonnay, 3.3% Muscat Canelli and 0.3% Pinot Grigio. Looking forward to my next bottle!

2004 Novella Synergy

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the winery “Spicy notes of clove and black pepper enhance blossomy aromas of cherry and blackberry. The flavors of freshly picked raspberries and blueberries explode in the mouth leading into a lingering finish of smoky oak with hints of tobacco.”

What I Think:

Not sure what led me to grab this bottle. Most likely I saw it, knew it was a newer label at TJ’s and wanted to give it a go in case it was a gem. Getting home I find a whole new world. This wine is made by EOS. I had a few bottles of their Zinfandel during the BevMo 5 cent sale. I found that the blend was mainly based on Petite Sirah (62% Petite Sirah, 19% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and minute amounts of others). Not sure how this adjusted my expectations but found it all interesting while the cork was in the bottle.

The notes are a bit sparse. On opening the nose seemed hot and spicy. On the tongue it started the same with cloves leading the way. Towards the middle it showed some darker berry flavors that were on the weak/flaccid (when is the last time that has been used when not discussing ED) side before ending even a bit tart. After a few days it showed a bit more. The fruit was a bit richer, a bit bolder tending towards chewy. The nose still seemed hot with some subdued dark fruit lingering. On the palate the fruit was apparent but the overall profile tended to the generic side.

All in all a typical manufactured type red, trying hard to please everyone which while usually making a decent wine also limits the upside as it can only be so good. At $7 it is tough to reconsider. At $5 it would be worthy. Even with all that this is a wine that someone else could love. Give it a go if it suits your style. For me at this price I am buying Carmenere.

Rating: Skip It