Channing Daughters Winery has long been one of my favorite local wine producers. Sure, their wines are a little pricey at time (even for their quality) but I'm willing to pay a little more for them because they are often fun, creative and unique wines--usually blends or clonal bottlings that you just won't find anywhere else in these parts.
One of my favorite wines in their portfolio has been their Fresh Red, known as Fred in some circles. For around $15 bucks, it was a straight forward merlot-based wine that was perfect with grilled burgers, pizza and other casual food.
Well friends, Fred is dead. With the release of their 2005 Rosso Fresco ($18), Channing Daughters Winery and winemaker Chris Tracy killed the label. And based on the bottle I just tried, I miss Fred already.
As I've written on these pages many times, Tracy does some delicious things with blending, but just don't like this blend of merlot, cab franc, cab sauv and pinot noir. It seems disjointed, austere and a little sour on the finish. It could be argued that I'm being a little harsh on this young a wine, but it's made in a style meant for early consumption.
I only tasted one bottle and with some time open, the sourness faded. But, it still wasn't anything I'd clamor for, particularly at $18 per bottle.