Review: 2016 Tom of Finland Outstanding Red California
Tom may be of Finland but his winemaker is now living in Murphys, California — gold country, as it were — making a wine called Outstanding. OUTstanding, if you prefer their capitalization… and that’s for a reason. Tom of Finland is the pseudonym of Touko Valio Laaksonen (who died in 1991), a gay artist from Finland (naturally) with a focus on homoerotic art. The man in nothing but jeans and a hat that appears on the label of this wine is one of his pencil sketches, though to the untrained eye it isn’t particularly arousing. What do I know? That aside, Laaksonen pushed a lot of artistic boundaries in his day, paving the way for loosened censorship laws in the U.S. from the 1950s through the 1980s.
I get the point of putting his work on a wine bottle. In a world of Marilyn Merlot, men — particularly gay men — need their own eye candy on the label. This wine is designed to “celebrate the beauty of the male physique with a wine that truly embodies the spirit of diversity, expression and inclusion.” Proceeds from sales of the wine benefit the Tom of Finland Foundation, which promotes “human rights and sexual expression through artwork.”
As for the wine, it’s a California blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah. Quite juicy and fruit-forward, it doesn’t hold a ton of surprises, with bold plum and currant notes complemented by some licorice, graphite, and saddle leather notes. Tannic on the back end, but loaded with plenty of jam, its Zin flag flies the highest, and the most bluntly. Good enough to pair with beefcake, I’d say.
B / $25 / tomoffinlandwines.com
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