By all rights, I should hate Big House Red, a red table wine from the Big House Wine Company.
It has everything that turns me off about a wine: It has a goofy drawing on the label, it has a silly themed back story about prison breaks, you can even buy it in a box.
Despite this, I can’t deny that it is a very good wine, especially for the price. Big House Red has a smoothness that I appreciate. It’s very fruity, yet it isn’t jammy and it is neither bitter nor sweet. It’s one of the few wines I could enjoy drinking every day and never get tired of it.
And it is certainly affordable. It falls within my self-imposed limit of $7.99/bottle in most stores where I’ve seen it. It probably would be even cheaper if I were to buy the boxed version, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it.
There are other Big House wines, including a Big House White which I remember trying a long time ago and liking. They also have a syrah called “The Slammer,” a cabernet sauvignon called “The Usual Suspect”, a pinot grigio called “The Birdman”, and a chardonnay called “Unchained”, although I’ve never seen them sold around where I live.
They also have a zinfandel called “The Cardinal Zin” that I would be interested in trying because I’m a huge fan of California zinfandels.
I always get suspicious when wine companies build elaborate themes around their wines as marketing tools. It makes me wonder if they are not paying more attention to the concept than the wine itself. But in the case of Big House Red, I can’t complain. The wine is just too delicious.
You may recall that Big House Red used to be made by Bonny Doon Vineyards, the winery created by Randall Grahm. I was surprised to learn while researching this that he sold the brand in 2006. Apparently, Bonny Doon decided to focus on more upscale wines and dropped the Big House line. I have been enjoying this wine since long before then and haven’t noticed any change in the quality.
So if you are prejudice against wines with silly themes and cartoony labels like I am, set aside your hesitations and grab a bottle of Big House Red. It’s a just a very smooth and satisfying affordable red table wine.
Just don’t buy it in the box. You have to draw the line somewhere.