If I were to recommend a wine to you that had a screw cap and a picture of a cute owl on it, was non-vintage AND, here’s the kicker, cost less than $10 would you think that I lost my marbles? I probably would but then again in my defense, as I’ve been known to repeat ad nauseam, finding a fabulous bottle of wine for $100 is a lot easier to do than to find a wine worth recommending that costs well under $10! The NV Owl House Red from Ledgewood Creek Winery is a simple table wine made from a whole bunch of different grape varieties, but it is the smattering of Counoise that in my opinion gives it its character. Counoise is a dark-skinned Rhone varietal known for tempering the alcohol and tannin of Syrah and Grenache. When vinified alone flavors of soft plum and juicy cherry dominate with light tannins and medium acidity; it’s a wine meant to be drunk young. This too aptly describes the Owl House Red which is medium-bodied with soft tannins and a juicy core of plum and cherry. (As an aside, I just learned that Tablas Creek was the first to put Counoise on their front label in the States. But before that happened, Tablas Creek had to submit a full dossier of material to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms so that Counoise could be recognized as a legitimate grape. This process took two years!!!) When the Owl House Red arrived at the shop, I took a bottle home to get to know it better. I remember it was a particularly hectic day so I opted to forgo making dinner and ordered take-out from our favorite pizza place conveniently located down the street. We ordered pepperoni pizza – yeah, I caved – fortunately it turned out to be one of the best pepperoni pizzas I’ve ever had and with it easily siphoned off (with my husband of course!) a bottle of the Owl House Red. A simple red with a simple pie, nothing could have tasted better at that moment…truly.
Managing to shirk off my weekend write-up duties for the last couple weeks (thank you Pete for covering for me without even having to ask!), I felt I wanted to ease into 2012 with an honest serviceable wine that can deliver simple pleasure as we move away from the craziness (and excesses?) of end-of-year festivities and celebrations. I predict I’ll be grabbing several bottles of Owl House Red over the next few weeks while I recover from shopping like a rock star last month. Luckily it’ll be less painful tightening the belt as long as I’ve got a glass of this charming, juicy red on hand.