I love the idea of a little family owned vineyard; a close-knit team struggling to make and market their best wines – this is the picture I often have in mind when I glance at a wine bottle label. Of course many vineyards, just like most other industries, are becoming more and more monolithic. Of course there’s nothing wrong with a company purchasing a few other wineries – but holy cow was I shocked when I dug a little into R.H. Phillips – or more accurately the behemoth that owns them. Constellation Wines includes this label in their portfolio (or did, I think the winery has been mothballed). I’ll include a link here to their history and let the list speak for itself.
This is not a great wine but for the money you pay – it’s a damn good wine. I picked this up today for $12.75. It’s not often we find a bottle at that price that’s even drinkable never mind enjoyable. It has some nice bright red fruit on the nose, goes down smooth and leaves you feeling – hey that’s not a bad wine. I had a glass tonight while watching Downton Abbey on Netflix, my new favorite show. This wine is not complex so I don’t think it warrants a big review, going over all the finer points. It’s just a nice simple fruity, dry, watching TV kind of wine. It reminds me of when I used to buy Gallo family Cabernet just to sip on while I worked on building my other website (in the wee hours). That site, if you’re curious is The Hockey Writers – which I’m proud to say gets about a half million monthly pageviews. So – the Gallo used to be my ‘go to’ everyday wine. These days I’m more fortunate. I get to experiment with all sorts of different wines almost daily in an effort to both add content to this site and build up my oenological education. It would be fun though to do a little shootout between my two favorite ‘cheap’ wines. So – to wrap up, R.H. Phillips 2009 Syrah is better than I thought it would be, a great TV wine. If you’re on a strict budget, this one will certainly do.