Knotty Vines is an unabashed budget brand from Rodney Strong, standing as the third (or maybe fourth) label in its arsenal. We recently tasted a collection of four wines from the brand, the full lineup of its offerings.
2019 Knotty Vines Chardonnay California – Here’s a real surprise to kick things off: This chardonnay has had a very light hand of oak applied, letting the natural notes of apple and citrus shine through with surprising clarity. Tropical and citrusy with a gentle-handed sweetness, the wine slowly develops vanilla notes that give the finish a slight touch of creaminess alongside a rather tart, semi-sweet punch. I would never have pegged this as a California chardonnay tasting it blind, but it’s certainly enjoyable on its own merits. Great value. A-
2019 Knotty Vines Pinot Noir California – Perfectly approachable but largely undistinguished, this is pinot noir at its most basic, a lightly sweet, berry-scented experience that finds a generalized beefiness paired with indistinct floral elements, ample maraschino cherry, and just a touch of orange peel. The finish feels gritty and a bit rough, though as a “by the glass” selection it feels like an affordable, if wholly basic, option. C+
2019 Knotty Vines Red Blend California – A blend of Merlot, Malbec, Zinfandel, and Petit Verdot, this wine is again approachable but straightforward, with bright red berry notes, a touch of milk chocolate, and light caramel note lingering on the finish. I get a hint of bay leaf on the back end but not much; the wine is indistinct and a bit gummy, with only the most cursory of tertiary elements. C+
2019 Knotty Vines Cabernet Sauvignon California – I had low expectations for this wine but was pleased to find it an approachable, lush bottling full of red fruit and milk chocolate notes. Gentle vanilla gives the raspberry core a slight twist on the core fruit bomb recipe, and while the wine could desperately use some tannins to prop things up, it presents itself amiably as is — considering the price, anyway. B
each $11 / knottywines.com