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Saving the leftovers


Wineries frequently use second labels to distribute excess juice or work on special projects. The results can be amazing.

Greg Horton June 29th, 2011

The wines are naughty. There is a small devil on the label to prove it.

Steve Reynolds, owner and winemaker of Reynolds Family Winery, was already well established as an excellent winemaker when he decided to release a second label.

“Steve Reynolds is like a mad scientist,” said Scott Witherby, a wine representative for Premium Brands. “He likes playing around. He’d already developed his Stag’s Leap Cabernet, and this was another new project for him.”

The line is actually called Naughty, and to see the labels, you’d never know they came from Reynolds Family. These are classic California wines, especially the two Pinot Noirs and Persistence, a red blend that is one of the better steak-house wines available in the state. (Ranch Steakhouse, 3000 W. Britton, has it.)

The packaging for Naughty is far more whimsical. Reynolds already had names picked out for the wines (Inky, Racy, Sticky, etc.) when he stumbled on the photo of the devil boy. It was the inspiration for Naughty, and while the labels may be whimsical, the wines are serious, intense and delicious. The line is priced to sell for about $25, making them values as well.

Inky, a blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah, lives up to its name. But whereas some blends of this sort can be dense to the point of fruitlessness, Inky manages to maintain excellent balance while showcasing black fruits, depth and intensity. It’s available by the glass at The Metro Wine Bar & Bistro, 6418 N. Western.

Inky and other bottles from the line are available at Coffee Creek Wine Shop, 775 W. Covell in Edmond; Hob Nob Robs, 2201 W. Main in Norman; and Edmond Wine Shop, 1520 S. Boulevard.

Ian Bennett, sommelier at Ludivine, 805 N. Hudson, said many wineries use second labels, and he looks to those labels for “over-delivery” of quality at the price. It’s one of the reasons he carries Cedar Knoll Vineyard Co. Cabernet, a second label from Palmaz Vineyards.

“I brought it on because I wanted to show people they don’t have to have an actual money tree in their backyard to get a high quality wine,” Bennett said.

Florencia Palmaz, daughter of Julio Palmaz, owner of Palmaz Vineyards, was in Oklahoma City in April, and she said the Cedar Knoll came about as a result of a desire for a side project and as a solution to a glut of grapes.

“After we selected the grapes that went into our Palmaz wines, we still had all this amazing fruit left,” she said. “We made the second label from what I was calling ‘leftovers.’ My father says not to call them leftovers, but they are — just very good ones.”

Bennett said of the Cedar Knoll, “This bottling surprised me for complexity and strength of finish, like a Ferrero Rocher cinched up with blueberry suspenders.”

The Cedar Knoll is also available at Coffee Creek Wine Shop, Edmond Wine Shop and Beau’s Wine Bin, 2810 W. Country Club Drive.

 
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