© Copyright 1999 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.
Topolos 1995 California Old Vineyard Reserve ($9.99)
Is it from California, or is it from Southern France? The earthy, barnyard-like and clearly brettanomyces-affected aromas of this robust red wine would make it a startling "ringer" in a tasting of wines from Provence or the Languedoc, but it's pure California, showing the funky character for which Topolos is known. It's a hazy, inky garnet in color, with an aggressive aroma full of herbal and leathery scents and "barnyard." My wife, who likes it less than I do, says it reminds her of shoe leather ... from hard-worn shoes. Bright and juicy red-fruit flavors are more ripe and fresh than the nose might suggest, with herbal notes of oregano and earthy qualities that mirror the aroma. The label calls it "Bold red," and this is no exaggeration. It's idiosyncratic to the max, but pleasant if you like this kind of thing, as I do. (Aug. 25, 1999)
FOOD MATCH: Holds up well to a flavory stir-fry crafted to meet the wine: Beef and broccoli with lots of garlic, ginger and savory black-bean sauce.
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