“We cannot command nature except by obeying her”. This text which reads like sage advice appears on the back of this week’s Wine Wednesday feature, the 2013 Rob Murray Vineyards Force of Nature Red Blend. The label on the bottle is an Armageddon type scene with fiery explosions engulfing a city. It’s what appears to be more like nature’s fury than force. (Nature’s force can be good at times, right? Maybe in the bottle, fury turns to fortune. Read on…..)
It got me thinking that growing grapes is like any other type of agriculture where the farmer must deal with what Mother Nature doles out – some years good – others not so much and to a winemaker comes the task of how to treat the grapes your given to arrive at a successful wine. Or in this case, you can just bottle it and blame Mother Nature.
This wine is a blend of 67% Merlot, 11% Cabernet, 11% Syrah and 11% Petite Sirah. When I opened the bottle, upon taking that first sniff, I decided to give it some time. However, even after about 30 minutes I still wasn’t pleased. After researching this wine for this review, I found the suggestion that it should be decanted for 1 hour. However when we tried again the next day, it quite honestly didn’t seem to help it – not enough for me anyway. The nose, was sort of confusing – sort of everything at once – bombarding – much like the depiction on the label. When I thought I could sort a few things out I thought I detected, dark fruit, mostly plum, a touch of spice, leather and cedar. On the palate, I found this wine to be unexpectedly sweet almost sweet like Concord but not with the Concord flavor. Not fruit forward, just sweet. There seemed to be this large gap between that experience and then really bold tannins. The wine lacked balance. Even after decanting I feel this wine fell short.
Ironically we opened this on a night when I had decided to doctor up a frozen pizza so I didn’t have any big pairing in mind for it. The sweetness of the wine, in my opinion makes it difficult to pair with food. It worked with the pizza, but not well enough to consider a second glass. In this case, the Force of Nature sided on the unfortunate.