Farmhouse Vineyards (website) was generous enough to allow me to try their 2020 Proving Ground Red Table Wine before it is released to the market. I was very honored by this gesture.
So, what did I think of it?
Last year, 2022, I tried the 2017 Proving Ground (read here) – and I like the 2020 much better.
The 2017 is a blend of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon (60%) with a mix of Merlot (32%) and Petite Verdot (8%). But the 2020 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (73%), with a mix of Malbec (12%), Petite Verdot (8%), Merlot (6%) and Cabernet Franc (1%).
The difference in blends is amazing. Not that I didn’t like the 2017, with its spicy flavors of dark plum and pepper with a sweet finish.
The 2020 smelled spicy, with leather undertones. The scent is deceptive as the first taste is pure tart bing cherry with vanilla and a hint of peach (maybe).
It was like velvet on the tongue and the sweet cherry flavor lingers. It smells and tastes like Christmas to me – meaning traditional (soft) gingerbread. Flavors of dark brown sugar, lemon, ginger and yeast.
I couldn’t stop drinking it, so I guess I really liked it.
Keep an eye out on Farmhouse Vineyard’s website for when they release this one – as you’re going to want to snag some for your cellar. Not just to have on hand for when friends show up, or you’ve had a bad week and need to treat yourself on Friday night – but so you can set some aside to age just a little bit more…. It doesn’t need it – but I would liken this to a good Bordeaux blend – it’s only going to get better as it gets older.
I can’t wait to pair it with my best friend’s son’s burnt ends on a Wednesday night, Pizza on a Monday night, or a Rent Special* from Smoky John’s Barbecue (website) when I grab takeout on a Saturday Night. This is a super versatile wine.
*Rent Special – is a sandwich that is no longer on the menu. It was Texas toast piled with chopped brisket, coleslaw, a slice of American cheese and drowned in BBQ sauce. The perfect blend of sweet (coleslaw) and savory (brisket).