Oreana Winery Red Table Wine

A wine with a front label consisting of nothing more than a big, orange question mark does not seem promising. The back label tells a somewhat doubtful story of the wine’s origin: tanks of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, originally intended to be bottled as single varietals, were accidentally blended. The question mark refers not to an unknown blend, but to the winemaker’s uncertainty whether this blend was the result of error or fate. Frankly, we don’t care. The nose is full of ripe, dark fruit, nutmeg, and vanilla. On the tongue, it’s almost jammy, with surprisingly assertive tannins. Fans of big, bold, super-ripe California Cabs will find this one a great value.

[UPDATE — DECEMBER 29, 2010]

As with most wine, this is one where vintage matters. We recently picked up a second bottle and discovered that it was non-vintage. It also tasted nothing like the 2006 we reviewed above. The non-vintage was thin, austere, and generic. Not horrible, but not a two-star wine. To avoid disappointment, be sure that the top of the back label reads “2006 Red Table Wine.”