Once again 14 Hands Winery has crafted a special Limited Release Kentucky Derby Red Blend from the 2013 vintage and when combined with their 2014 Stampede Red Blend you will have something for red wine drinkers at your Derby party or any other event you choose to host in the future. Both wines are sourced from the Columbia Valley in Washington State, but that and the color, a purplish tint, is where the similarity ends.
The 2014 Stampede Red Blend is a mix of Syrah, Merlot, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvedre grapes into an expectedly fruitful package with an unexpected sweetness to it. A berry and cherry aroma backed by a hint of cola follows through into flavor profile that hits solidly on the front to mid palate in the mouth. Dominant intense dark fruit moves into a note of green herb and chocolate before concluding with an oak spice finish. There is a very pleasing layering of flavors in this wine that unfold evenly are framed with soft tannin and end with clean acidity. That combination makes for a beverage that can be and was thoroughly enjoyed on its own, but would also complement a meal of barbecued meats.
Like in past years the 2013 Limited Release Kentucky Derby Red Blend was crafted for 14 Hands sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby and like past efforts this wine will not disappoint. A blend based upon Merlot, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc grapes with a few others added to the mix make for a lot of subtle flavor hints in this wine. Compared to the Stampede the palate in this wine is much more mid palate centered with less sweetness, intensity, layering and tannic edge. What it does have is spicy berries with bits and pieces of other flavors drifting in and out of your taste buds. This wine is very easy to drink and perfectly fits the need for a wine that can complement a variety of foods and taste preferences at your gathering.
As a limited release the Derby Red Blend may or may not be available at your favorite wine store, however a little searching should yield results in the near term. Total Wine and More prices the Derby Red Blend around $10 and the Stampede Red Blend around $11 dollars in their Fort Myers store, so even if the one is not available the other would be a solid choice. Bottom line, both of these wines are worthy efforts that display Columbia Valley Washington grapes to their advantage. I will admit a personal preference for the Stampede Red Blend; however, the Derby Red Blend is likely to be more accessible to a variety of taste buds, as well as an easier match for food served at a party. Together you will have something for almost all red wine drinkers at a price that is truly a value and should easily fit into your budget. Try them and see.