Wine on Wednesday – Amberhill Secret Blend Red Wine

The concept behind Amberhill Secret Blend Red Wine is clever. It’s made from a blend of California grapes that are meant to represent the distinctive flavors of California reds.

But the exact type of grapes used to make the wine is a secret!

Amberhill Secret Blend Red Wine

Amberhill Secret Blend Red Wine

It’s a marketing scheme apparently dreamt up by Jean-Charles Boisset, president of Boisset Family Estates, the Clarksville, California, wine producer who makes this blend. There’s also a Secret Blend White Wine which I haven’t tried.

Okay, I thought, I love California wines. I’ll try it.

I found the Ameberhill Secret Blend Red Wine to be a good wine with bold flavors and very strong fruits that bordered on the sweet. I don’t care for sweet wines, and this wine wasn’t sweet, exactly. It just hinted at sweetness. Kind of like the way a puckery raspberry jam does.

The problem for me is that the Amberhill Secret Blend Wine didn’t taste like a California wine. When I think of California wines, I envision vegetal Zinfandels, mellow Merlots, or stately Cabernets. This wine reminded me more of a jammy Mogen David, which is a New York State wine made of the Concord grapes that grow well in that region.

I hope they don’t make Amberhill Secret Blend Red Wine out of Concord grapes grown in California because that would be blasphemous. Come to think of it, that would definitely justify keeping the varietals it’s made from a secret.

I didn’t not like this wine. It was pretty good. And I get the whole “secret” thing as a marketing tool. I just don’t think it should be marketed as a wine that evokes the flavors of California wines. Even if the grapes were grown in that state, it doesn’t taste like California to me.

The price of the wine was great. I bought it for $5.94/bottle after the 15% discount my local wineseller offers for buying six or more mixed bottles at once. That’s far below my self-imposed ceiling of $7.99/bottle for affordable wines.

If Amberhill 2010 Secret Blend Red had been marketed as a California red table wine, I probably would have enjoyed it more because my expectations wouldn’t have been so high. In this case, a clever marketing campaign sort of sabotaged my ability to like this wine for what it is.

If that makes any sense.


2 thoughts on “Wine on Wednesday – Amberhill Secret Blend Red Wine

  1. So the marketing was so pronounced that it actually detracted form your enjoyment of the wine?
    If you had tried it in a blind tasting, would you have enjoyed it more?

    • Yes because my expectations would have been different. This wine tasted like candied fruit, which isn’t a typical flavor profile of California wines, in my opinion.

      Plus, I think it’s just my old newspaper reporter’s resistance to keeping secrets.

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