18 October 2010

Westside Red Troublemaker

Occasionally here at Casa de Benito I'll point to one the dogs or The Roommate and just say, "Troublesome!" with no further explanation. So when a wine called Troublemaker showed up for review there were some chuckles.

The Westside Red Troublemaker is comprised of 53% Syrah, 37% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache, sourced from Paso Robles, California. $20, 14.5% abv.

Big fruit, touch of cedar, touch of tannins on the middle of the taste, with a tart, fruity finish. Raspberries, bit of brambles, chocolate on the aftertaste. I had this with a burger and fries and it was an excellent pairing--this is a wine for your pizza, gyro, steak sandwich, etc. I'm not saying it's a fast food wine, but it's got a character that lends itself exceptionally well to pub grub. Consider this for BBQs and events like Thanksgiving when you've got a lot of different and competing flavors on the table.

This classic Rhone GSM blend is made by Austin Hope of Hope Family Wines, and combines wine from three vintages: 2007, 2008, 2009. That's part of the "Troublemaker" tag, an irreverent approach both to the construction of the wine as well as the marketing behind it.

There's a video inspired by The Office. Having seen a thousand bad internal corporate parody videos (and being responsible for more than a few myself*), I winced as soon as I heard the theme music. But it's actually entertaining and informative. "Creating a wine? That's like giving birth, but you're not naked." Also love the bit with the graphic designer.

Good little wine here, and worth checking out. I'm impressed with these experiments that Hope is conducting with wines like this and the Candor line.

*I spent several months in my junior year of high school as the producer of a daily morning TV show broadcast on public access cable. School started at 7 a.m., but by that point I'd been up since 4 a.m. writing stories, prepping the studio, and filming the program. After school I wrote stories and lined up interviews. Fascinating time of life. Doing high quality TV work (we won Cable Aces and other awards) made me particularly sensitive to the terrible, embarrassing internal videos produced by various companies I've worked for. Even if I was drafted to help, it involved a ridiculous script written by an unfunny manager, acted out by terrified employees not quick enough to run away, and all filtered through HR/Legal to strip out anything interesting. The result was always a source of unintentional humor for the viewers and eternal shame for those who put it together. Kudos to the Hope folks for putting together something decent.

Note: This wine was received as a sample.


Dr. Debs said...

Agreed on the wine--and the video. Though my favorite bit may have been the "casual Friday" reference!

Benito said...

Dr. Debs,

I usually don't watch the promotional videos for wines, but decided to give this one a shot. It was funny, and also interesting to drink the wine while watching it. I think it also helps demystify wineries somewhat--at the end of the day they're regular businesses, sometimes physically connected to a farm. I think between movies and advertising, the reality of the wine business gets overly romanticized. Winemakers are too busy doing normal work to spend all their time playing the lute and composing poetry.


joelcpeterson said...

Thanks for the fun review Benito. We put this video together to just have fun and laugh about wine, winemaking and marketing. As you mentioned, it is fun and we're certainly passionate, but it's also a serious industry and we have real jobs. It was our way of having a bit of fun releasing the wine. Glad you enjoyed it. Cheers,
Joel Peterson
Director of Communications, Hope Family Wines

Benito said...


Thanks for the input, and I'm always excited to see anything that makes wine more down to earth and relatable to the everyday American. I once offered a friend a glass of wine and he said, "I'd love to, but I'm not dressed for it. I'm not even wearing a tie." Note that at the time, I was wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt.

Wine's not just for weddings and fancy dinners, it's for popping open when you get home and take off your tie. The sooner we as Americans learn to lighten up about the whole wine thing, the more fun we'll all be having.