Inky dark color; raspberry, strawberry, cherry, oak nose; raspberry, blackberry, black cherry, grape jam, spice, oak, smoke on the palate.
Dry, some grippy tannin, mild acidity. Not-so-bold blend of zinfandel, malbec, merlot. It is likely the grapes were not grown in Texas. The tell is the note on the label: “For Sale in Texas only.” Alcohol laws require that notation when source of the grapes is not on the label. It is loophole in federal regulations that require naming the place of origin for the grapes—but there is exemption when the wine is only sold in the state where it is made. It is deceiving, but such are alcohol laws.
All that said, Becker achieves something with this wine and its other Iconoclast offerings—a very drinkable wine at a fair price, even if grapes were grown somewhere besides Texas. You pay premium for many Texas wines made with Texas grapes, which is part of developing the Texas wine industry. After all, most Texas makers using Texas grapes sell out their production, most often almost fully in Texas, so why not charge what the market will bear? This wine falls into the category of well-made value wine. Many palates will love this. Bravo, Becker.
Also, to be fair, Becker is an earnest supporter of Texas-grown grapes. Problem is, Texas grape production cannot yet meet demand, so you pay a premium for Texas-grown grapes.
Becker started when Dr. Richard and Bunny Becker sought a Hill Country getaway from their lives in San Antonio. They found it in Stonewall, Texas, halfway between Fredericksburg and Johnson City. They first aimed at a small operation, but it soon blossomed and Becker, located on 46 acres near a lavender field, now runs with the big dogs.
Becker is the largest buyer of French and American oak in Texas and produces 100,000-plus cases a year. The Iconoclast brand honors Becker friend Tony Bell; the label is a self-portrait of the late artist. This is Becker’s supermarket, lower-shelf label, and it competes nicely with wines in the value-for-price category.
Becker Vineyards Iconoclast Fascination Red Wine 2013 appears to be a zin-dominated effort—the winery does not reveal percentages—with malbec adding flavor rather than structure and merlot contributing softness. These are all easy drinking grapes that contribute to the soft appeal. There is no complexity here—it is straightforward, easy-drinking, fruit-forward—but it is tasty and very well priced. $9-10
Second photo: Dr. Richard and Bunny Becker