A utility player in sports is one who can play various positions competently. So it is with the 2020 Wood Family El Loco Rojo blend. Had tasted previous vintages before, all being good but never did a deep dive on it before. This was a pleasant and enjoyable surprise!
The wine is called El Loco Rojo, initially after a relative of the Wood Family. The legend is about a red-headed man, who was the life of the party, yet somehow managed to be “cool”. Rhonda Wood describes him as someone who will “bring a smile to your face, regardless of your mood” and “his love is boundless and his attitude is contagious”. Now who would not like a wine that could evoke such an affect?
The Wine, 2020 El Loco Rojo Wood Family Vineyards
(Photo ©Michael Kelly)
To be clear this is not an off-handed whimsical wine, it is a serious “Bordeaux style blend”. It is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. Blends can cut two ways: a superb combinations of wonderful grapes or unfortunately many blends can leave you flat with an amalgamation of mediocrity. Not this wine! You can dissect and pick out the essential components while tasting the wine. First on the eyes, a luminous royal purple in the glass and medium heavy viscosity. On the nose, blackberries are the predominate aroma. On the palate, one immediate picks up on dancing spices coming from the five ingredients. On the finish, is where this wine excels with the varieties coming together like a live symphony with a combination of rounded tannins as well as some angular ones! The texture of the mellower Merlot and Malbec give a slight hint of sweetness but countered by the bolder Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. This provides a never ending structure to be enjoyed and savored with a minuscule residual oak. The alcohol level is 14.2% and only 251 cases were produced. It will be released the end of November and goes for $44/bottle.
The Food and Wine Pairing
(Photo ©Michael Kelly)
Not having had this wine with food before, I chose to pair it with a pepperoni pizza last night. It played perfectly with the exciting TCU verses Texas college football game. The wine being excellent with pizza, my thoughts quickly turned to what other foods this could be paired with it going forward. With the majority of the wine being Cabernet Sauvignon it opens up to a wide range of red meats, especially grilled steaks, rack of lamb and strong cheeses. In fact I was going to add Roquefort cheese on the pizza but really wanted to deconstruct the wine. With the other varieties of grapes in the mix, so many options exist, thus the idea of this wine being the quintessential utility player.