January 2016: Wine Of the Week – Santa Cruz Sentinel

Left Bend Winery’s Solera Mashup is a fascinating blend for drinkers of big reds. A blend of 50 percent syrah, 46 percent cabernet sauvignon and 4 percent cabernet franc, the winemaker not only combines multiple varieties but also vintages from multiple years to create an intense yet smooth red blend. With depth and complexity, the delicious wine shows a winemaker in his element.

The winemaker >> A backyard vineyard in Los Gatos was the gateway to winemaker Gary Robinson’s fascination with making wine. Using Santa Cruz Mountains fruit, Robinson makes distinctive wines from small vineyards. Also of note is Robinson’s extremely fun, interesting silkscreen Mashup label — one of the most unique bottle designs on the scene.

Why I like it >> This red blend is like a Sunday drive down a dusty road. Highly aromatic, scents of blueberry, blackberry and cedar repeat on the palate along with dark cherry, plum, chocolate, tobacco, black licorice and a hint of mud. There’s plenty of structure, yet the blend is smooth, offering a lingering finish. An interesting, pleasurable wine.

Pair it with >> Salami, Manchego cheese, red sauces, roasted vegetables.