Mon 27 Sep 2010
The restless, seething mind of Jeff Bundschu must keep him awake at night. The man who created Wine Brats some 20 years ago (!) has now come up with Blue Nomad Wine Company, and while this venture includes winemaker Keith Emerson — no, not that Keith Emerson — who makes the wine for Gundlach Bundschu Winery, of which sixth generation Jeff Bundschu is president, the family winery is not connected with Blue Nomad.
Blue Nomad, at this moment, produces two wines that debuted (actually in Memphis) in mid-August: a white, the Bright Light 2009, with a California designation, and a red, the Rockus Bockus 2007, from Sonoma County. Both are multi-varietal blends.
Bright Light 2009 is an unusual combination of chardonnay with gewurztraminer and albariño. The wine is incredibly clean and fresh; peach and pear, lychee and melon are seamlessly woven with a wafting of jasmine and honeysuckle, and then, after a few moments, with notes of tangerine and dried grass. Flavors of roasted lemon and spiced pear (with a hint of dried thyme) are bolstered by tongue-grabbing acidity and a long finish jazzed by the slight bitterness of lemon pith and lime peel. Drink through Summer 2011. Very attractive as an aperitif or with grilled seafood like shrimp and mussels. Alcohol content is 14.1 percent. 1,000 cases were produced. Very Good+. About $10 to $13, a Good Value.
The Bright Light label, designed by artist Andrea von Bujdoss of Brooklyn, screams retro-Hindu-psychedelic with pink and yellow hearts, stars and curlicues. And it glows in the dark, always a handy feature when you’re drinking in a closet.
Rockus Bockus Red Wine 2007 is a kitchen-sink blend of cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, syrah, malbec, merlot and petit verdot; what, no alicante bouschet? This is a juicy, succulent red wine with sufficient acidity and tannin to lend a moderately serious backbone. Scents and flavors of ripe black currants, black cherries and super-dark plums are permeated by traces of bitter chocolate, lavender and ancho chili. A velvety texture is slightly roughened by chewy, grainy tannins, while the finish opens a vein of polished graphite-like minerality. A little suave, a little earthy; a little intense, a little shameless. Drink with burgers, steaks and assorted usual suspects through 2012. Alcohol content is 14.4 percent. Production was 1,800 cases. Very Good+. About $13 to $16, not a bad price.
The bizarre but admittedly striking label art by British illustrator Ben Newman represents a contemporary country mouse/city mouse depiction of Bacchus, god of wine. Yes, now you get it, Rockus Bockus!
Tasted with Jeff Bundschu in Memphis.