The best way to wind down on a night off work is at home, feet propped up, and glass of wine in hand. At least, that's my opinion. The night is even better when your favorite person is doing the same thing right next to you! I did just that with my fiance this week and cracked open my Bright Cellars case to try out another new wine! This time I've pulled out a red blend by Vanishing Act from Columbia Valley. In my experience, red blends tend to clarify what grapes make up the blend. Sometimes, the vintner may even describe the ratios in place in regards to the variety of grapes. This wine does neither of these, but I was looking forward to the surprise. Would it be sweet or dry? This wine promised to be an adventure, I just knew.
"WINE SURE TO VANISH WITHOUT A TRACE"
Like many small wineries, Vanishing Act pulls inspiration from very distinctly unique sources. This winery is inspired by the ghost towns of the state of Oregon. The towns were once booming and full of people and money, but crumbled just as quickly. Now, these towns may be stumbled upon at random. There may be as little as a couple gravestones left, marking what once was. One can only imagine the sense of awe such an environment can create. Just as quickly as these towns may vanish, so too will each glass of Vanishing Act wine.
This wine is extremely dark. I was shocked to see, it almost appeared black. The color is incredibly bold and luxurious. I knew I was in for intense flavors as soon as I poured the glass. The liquid didn't have a lot of legs when I tilted the glass, and it was actually slightly viscous. Based on appearance, I was expecting a sweeter red blend with rich plum and cherry notes.
The first sniff was evidence of my hunch. This first note displayed by this wine was plum, followed closely by cranberry. Typically, when I get hints of cranberry, I can expect a more acidic wine. It was, however, an overall sweet smell. It was comforting, and almost reminiscent of holidays.
After I swirled the glass to aerate the wine, the notes didn't transform like usual, but new notes were added to the original two. The fruits were joined with a peppery spiciness and slight notes earth/herbs. I know herbs are common in old world wines, but new world wines tend to be extremely fruit forward. This was a rather new sensation to me, and added to my excitement to try this wine!
Of course, the back of the bottle does give some hints of what to expect from this wine. It claims to be full-bodied, robust, and rich. I do find that these descriptions are often up for interpretation, as each person's opinions vary greatly on how much experience they have with wine. Mind you, in this instance, many of these descriptions fit in with my experiences with this glass up to this point. There's really only one test left to make-and it's, in my opinion, the best one!
Typically, I try to explore the notes with the first sip. However, Vanishing Act smacked me right away with the high amount of acidity! By the second sip, I already appreciated it though, as it created a very unique and exciting drinking experience from the get-go. I also find that the acidity cuts down the body and complexity of this wine quite a bit, so I'd say it drinks more like a lighter wine than was advertised. However, a more experienced wine drinker may disagree with that sentiment. The bottle also claims this wine has smooth tannins. I also disagree here. The more sips you take, the firmer the tannins become. It wasn't like sucking on a teabag by any means, but the sensation was clearly present as the glass... erm vanished.
The first note I picked up on was the cranberry from the news. This was likely exacerbated by the fact this was an acidic wine. However, the cranberry does die down as the palate adjusts to the sensation. The flavors shift to the sweet dark fruits from the nose, and I experienced dark cherries and, surprisingly, brightness of fresh strawberries. It almost was reminiscent of a Riesling. Hard to conceive of, I know. The strawberry notes then blossomed into comforting herbiness paired with very slight spice at the finish. It is slightly difficult to pinpoint these notes through the acidity, but I certainly never found the acidity to be overwhelming or problematic.
I wasn't entirely right when I predicted this to be a sweet blend. It is most certainly a dry wine. It is, however, a sweeter dry. I find a wine like this would be a perfect place for a sweet-drinker to dip their toes in the fabulous world of dry wines! It's very light and full of characteristics more commonly found in sweet wines. Vanishing Act is a very nice middle ground.
I really enjoyed this one! Of course, I really had no idea what to expect going into this experience, but this almost made the experience better. I think blind dates with wine need to be a more common practice for me! I would most certainly purchase this one again. Vanishing Act is another box checked for Bright Cellars. So far, I really think they have done a fantastic job curating wines for me. I only have two more bottles to go!