Deep ruby-black color; black cherry, blackberry, on the nose; black cherry, plum, blackberry, raspberry, chip of chocolate, white pepper on the palate.
Dry; medium tannins and acidity, easy drinker on pop-and-pour. Medium-plus body. Plush and pleasing in the mouth. Generous, hedonistic ripe dark fruits parade across the palate. Silky finish. Blend of 58% zinfandel, 24% tempranillo, 13% syrah, 5% petite sirah from Mendocino, Lake, and Sonoma counties. The mix of grapes changes with vintage, but it appears zin is the lead actor each year. 14.8% ABV
Adobe Road is a Petaluma-based winery using grapes from “carefully selected” vineyards, which means they are, at least in part, a negotiant operation and explains the differences in grape formula each year. Adobe Road handicrafts small lots with minimal intervention that includes fermentation with native yeasts.
The winery was created by race car driver Kevin Buckler as an extension of his racing car team. Thus the names of his four ultra-premium wines. Other offerings in the “Racing Series” include Apex, RedLine, and The 24. And it explains the gear-shift motif of the bottle, which includes a five-speed stick-shift knob topper (see photo). The wine is good, but you also are paying a premium for the packaging.
The winery thinks in car racing terms, befitting the owner. The website notes Buckler scored: “100 professional victories around the world including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona (4 times). Then, in 2002, he and his wife, Debra, started a small boutique winery called Adobe Road, built on many of the same principles that made them successful in racing: pushing limits, a drive for perfection, focus, attention to detail, and teamwork.”
The website continues: “There isn’t always a need for speed. The winery is specifically designed to allow Kevin and his world-class winemaking team to spend time with each lot. Carefully monitoring each barrel, taking the time to make the right decisions, time to fully understand and manage the variables that go into crafting the perfect wines. You take one look at the winery—with its pristine state-of-the-art winemaking equipment and shiny, spotless floors—and you know there is a desire to make the best.”
Adobe Road Shift Red Wine 2019 is smooth, endearing, pedal-to-the-metal fruit-forward effort. The bottle with the gear shift topper and five-speed shift plate on the bottle gives pause that this is more gimmick than good, but the wine comes through in the clutch without having to downshift the evaluation. Pricey, but certainly gets a checkered flag in the impress-your-guests competition both for presentation and wine deliciousness.
Pair with beef in general, especially barbecue; braises and stews; lamb; meaty pasta dishes; veal; poultry, including turkey; meat-lover pizza; portobello mushrooms; charcuterie board; wine crackers. Cheese—hard cheeses, cheddar, manchego, blue cheese, aged gruyere, havarti, gorgonzola, parmesan. You can also enjoy by itself when you and friends just want to knock back some wine and talk about cars. $55-65