The Wine Curmudgeon is supposed to be above things like cute labels and clever names, but even I get suckered in every once in a while. In this case, it was the wine’s name, which evoked memories of a card game and long ago rainy Sundays in the days when we had to amuse ourselves without personal electronics.
Though this is far from an ordinary livestock wine. The Rook ($13, purchased) is made by Washington state’s Corvidae Wine Company, one of those consumer-friendly, value-driven and well-run operations that seem to flourish there (see Hedges and Charles Smith). If it cost a couple of dollars less, it would be a credible candidate for the $10 Hall of Fame.
This is a red blend, mostly merlot, that shows Washington state’s solid and terroir-driven approach to winemaking. There is lots of black fruit as well as earthy tannins, which gives the wine some heft. What was most pleasing is that none of this seems forced, the way it can in similarly-priced wine when you can tell the winemaker used a little industrial magic to get the same result.
This is not a complex wine, but there is more going on than in most red wine at this price. It needs food, but that doesn’t have to be complicated, either – takeout pizza on rainy summer Sunday night when you don’t want to turn on the personal electronics.