Upshot is an offshoot of Sonoma-based Rodney Strong Vineyards, a new brand focused on blending, well, all sorts of things. The results of the inaugural release of the wine — including a white and a red — show some promise to the concept. Let’s dive in.
2018 Upshot White Wine Blend California – A wild blend of 27% chardonnay, 21% grenache blanc, 18% gewurztraminer, 17% pinot noir, 11% viognier, and 6% sauvignon blanc. The wine spends three months in barrel, but the wood influence here is very restrained. The spicy gewurztraminer pops with a racy eucalyptus top note, then peachy-apricot viognier takes over. The other varietals (save perhaps the pinot) give the body an ample acidity and plenty of white fruit to keep things bright and lively through to the lasting finish. Incredibly drinkable and an excellent value. A- / $19
2017 Upshot Red Wine Blend Sonoma County – An equally crazy blend of 31% merlot, 31% zinfandel, 30% malbec, 5% riesling, and 3% petit verdot. Yes, that says riesling, but using a little white wine to brighten up a red blend is actually quite common. Here, I don’t get much of that brightness, but rather a somewhat earthy, slightly pruny melange of dried fruit, spice, and oak. The zin takes over much of the show, leading to a somewhat gummy conclusion. Overall, it’s… fine. B / $20