I find wine offerings in the everyday drinking range of interest. It’s easy (relatively speaking) to walk into a wine shop and spend a premium to get a slam dunk bottle of wine. Occasions and moods sometimes call for just that. But most of the time it’s interesting to experiment and see what’s out there that can be had for a song. The wines from Purple Cowboy hit my radar and I was curious to see what they tasted like. Paso Robles fruit tends to pique my curiosity and the packaging matches the sort of “fun” one looks for at this price point. On top of all that there’s a charitable angle. Terry Wheatley the founder of this label is a breast cancer survivor. She comes from a family of ranchers and rodeo riders/cowboys. She also co-founded Tough Enough To Wear Pink. $1 from every case of the Purple Cowboy wines purchased (up to $100,000 in 2009-2010) goes directly to this organization. Their goal is helping rodeo organizations raise awareness of breast cancer. They urge Rodeo riders to compete wearing pink which helps focus attention and raise money. Today I’ll look at their Merlot. The 2007 Purple Cowboy Night Rider Merlot is made from all Paso Robles fruit. This offering is a blend of Merlot (95%), Cabernet Sauvignon (3%) and mixed reds (2%). Fermentation occurred in stainless steel followed by barrel aging for part of the blend. The suggested retail price for this wine is $12.
Blueberry fills the nose of this wine, and vanilla bean underscores it. The palate is a deep, dark quagmire of plums, blueberry and dark cherry. These flavors all come together to form a bruising collection of flavors that lead to a finish that features more sweet fruit and dark luscious chocolate notes. This wine has yielding tannins and good acidity. Pair this with anything that comes off of your grill or a bucket of chicken you pick up from Colonel Sanders.
In the $12 price range I want a wine that tastes like what it’s supposed to. As simple as that sounds many wines in the budget range (huge category of course) taste like anything but what the varietal label says. Purple Cowboy is very obviously Merlot. In addition to that varietal correctness it’s also got a fair level of complexity. This wine also has a flavor profile that’s going to appeal to the masses. Its clear ability to pair with a wide range of casual foods won’t hurt either. So if you’re looking for something to open on a random Tuesday night or to bring to a friends home for a BBQ or other laid back function, Purple Cowboy is a good bet. You can also feel good knowing you’ll help raise some money for a good cause.