An odd selection that caught my eye... The 2003 Desolation Flats "Rustler's Red", a blended California table red that combines Petite Sirah, Cabernet, Petite Verdot, Malbec and Refosco. The last grape was used to produce the favorite wine of Augustus Caesar's second wife. Unlike some other "kitchen sink" red blends, this one has a solid character--I got a lot of the Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon, but the other grapes obviously added complexity and I'm sure the Malbec did wonders to soften the edges.
It's a strange little wine, and a good bargain at $9. There's a hot, alcoholic aroma on top (13.9%), tinged with dark plum, but the flavor is remarkably soft and well rounded... yet the finish is surprisingly tannic and dry. I served it with beef and noodles in a cream sauce, earthy country fare for a hardscrabble wine. Highly recommended for both the interesting palate sensations and the lovely logo design.