If you’d like to drink good wine and don’t have the time to invest in learning a whole lot or the money to invest to assure quality in your wine purchases, then you need to know about the Big House Wine Company.

Based just a stones throw from the Soledad State Prison in California, The Big House Wine Company knows how to have fun with wine in addition to making some good juice. Their winemaker is known as The Warden and their wines all reflect names associated with the inner-workings of the criminal justice system. They make a Big House Red, a Big House White and a Big House Pink. In addition, Georgetta Dane, the Winemaker…..oops Warden, who hails from Romania and has a penchant for the more European grape varietals, produces a few other criminally indulgent wines. I would suggest you try all three of these.

THE SLAMMER – 85% Syrah 15%Petit Syrah

This is a full-bodied Syrah, forceful; perhaps even a bit “dangerous” dare I say (that’s why he’s locked up in solitary). Muscular and deeply concentrated this wine has a nose of sweet black berry jam and hints of dark chocolates. Balanced and well structured, it bodes a well-rounded mouthfeel and a long, pleasant aftertaste. This wine can be enjoyed now or cellared for several years.

THE LINEUP – 49% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, 1% Mixed Red

GSM is a colloquial and friendly name attached to that venerable style developed within spitting distance from the Pope’s French incarceration camp (it was actually a palace, but hey he’s the Pope) in Avignon. While the Central Coast has many micro-climates, some are very similar to the Southern Rhone valley. Each variety plays a part in the overall gestalt of this wine; blackberries and spiciness from the Syrah, raspberries and a hint of rose petals from the Grenache, and Mourvedre offers hints of truffles as well as the structure of a muscular backbone.

THE PRODIGAL SON – 100% Petit Syrah

Arresting hue of this very deep and dark red, is an attesting to the beauty of the boy. The bouquet is muscular with black fruits, blackberries, and cassis dominating the introduction. Then a whiff of anise sets in, followed by a whisper of smoke and white pepper. The palate follows the nose with lip smacking blackberry and currant. Flavors then intertwine chocolate, spice in a swirl of bodacious body, that one would consider gravitas. All of this delight leaves you longing for another sip, before ending with a hint of vanilla, oak, and spice.

If you are not yet tempted to try one of the wines from Big House Wines, here are three more tidbits offered to tempt you. All of their wines are under $10.00. All of their wines come with twist-off caps. They have a web site that is fun to explore just based on the creativity and wit of the designers and you would enjoy touring the “correctional facility” even if you hate wine! So, do yourself a flavor favor and pick up a bottle of any of the Big House Wines. They are available almost anywhere that wines are sold. You can thank me later!


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