‘Second Label’ Double T Red Worth a Try

FREDRIC KOEPPEL | Special to The Memphis News

Wineries often launch what are called “second labels” to provide consumers with less expensive alternatives to their primary wines. The practice originated in Bordeaux, where estates would bottle wines from younger vines that were deemed inappropriate for their Big Deal wines and sell them at a fraction of the price; it’s also a way of keeping the cash flow healthy. Unfortunately, the great wines of Bordeaux have gotten so expensive that for 2009 one of the second labels costs $450 a bottle. Perhaps that’s a bargain in some other universe.

You’ll remember – you better! – that last week the featured wine was the Trefethen Dry Riesling 2010, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. Today we look at one of the winery’s second label products, the Double T Red Wine 2008, Napa Valley. The name refers both to a style of trellising – that is, the manner in which vines are trained on the wires – and to John and Janet Trefethen, owners of the winery. Since Trefethen’s “official” cabernet sauvignon-based wine is priced at $58, the Double T Red Wine makes sense for those who do not possess scads of fiduciary prowess.

For Your Very Own Bottle

Joe’s Wines & Liquor
1681 Poplar Ave., $29
Buster’s Wine & Liquors
191 S. Highland St., $22
Great Wines & Spirits
6150 Poplar Ave., $25

Made from the classic Bordeaux red grape varieties – cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec and petit verdot – Double T Red Wine 2008 offers an intense and concentrated bouquet of spiced and macerated black currants, black raspberries and plums, with overtones of bay leaf and dried thyme, tobacco and mocha, walnut shell and graphite. The wine is full-bodied, sleek yet dense, packed with black fruit flavors, silky, finely meshed tannins and spicy, slightly woody oak. No kissy-face little sipping wine, this one you should keep in mind when you toss a steak or a brace of pork chops on the grill.

For more about wine, check out Koeppel’s blog atwww.biggerthanyourhead.net.