McBride Sisters Collection Red Blend Central Coast, California 2015

Deep ruby color; black cherry, blackberry, raspberry on the nose; dark cherry, blackberry, plum, oak, mocha, vanilla, caramel on the palate.

McBride Sisters Collection Red Blend Central Coast, California 2015

Dry; light tannins, easy acidity (3.8 pH). Smooth. Very fruity, flirts with jammy. Pleasing on the initial attack, but becomes somewhat disjointed on the finish, where black tea takes an unfortunate turn as a lead flavor. While merlot is listed first in the blend list, there is plenty of zinfandel influence; 13.5% ABV.

This is value pour, so lack of complexity and some disjointedness is no surprise. Still, there is stuff to like if you are into fruity, almost jammy wines with bashful tannins and acidity. The finish bothered me, but not to the extent I wouldn’t drink it with friends and pizza. Especially if this was the second bottle of the night.

The McBride Sisters target Millennials and Gen X markets, which reflects in the style of this effort. When I first encountered the sisters—Robin and Andréa—the wine company was named Truvée and they partnered in the effort with Diageo & Estate Wines. When Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates purchased Diageo, the sisters ended the relationship and now control their McBride Sisters Collection. The new “McBride Sisters” name is a wise brand move: beyond the wine, the story here is about the McBride sisters, and what a story it is.

Robin and Andréa McBride

The half-sisters were born and raised 7,000 miles apart. Robin grew up in California, raised by her mother. Andréa in New Zealand with a foster family. Neither knew of the other’s existence. Things changed when Andréa was 12 years old and received a call from her father, who was imprisoned in New Zealand. “He said he had just gotten out of the penitentiary. He said he had terminal stomach cancer. And oh, by the way, you have a sister.” Andréa’s father said he thought Andréa’s sister lived in California. Andréa’s life had been somewhat chaotic. After divorcing Andréa’s father, her mom died of breast cancer when Andréa was seven. She was raised by a foster family in her native New Zealand.

Fortunately, the foster family had the resources to send Andréa to California to both meet her long-lost sister and to go to the University of Southern California, where she was a 6-foot, 1-inch USC volleyball and track and field star who studied international business and was fascinated by wine. Robin worked in electronics marketing and also was fascinated by wine. Andréa speaks with a charming, slight New Zealand accent, older sister Robin sounds like a California girl professional. Together the sisters started an import company bringing boutique New Zealand wines to the states. Within three years they were supplying wines to more than 100 restaurants in California.

That start allowed the sisters to start EcoLove in 2010, a wine company sourcing grapes from New Zealand vineyards to make food-friendly wines. In early 2015 they forged their brief partnership with Diageo. The next year they were on their own and no longer have a relationship with Truvée, Diageo, or Treasury Wine. Their company is the first wine company run by African-American sisters. They are a millennial amazing story.

McBride Sisters Collection Red Blend Central Coast, California 2015 is very fruity easy drinker. Simple, straightforward weekday pizza and party wine. Somewhat disjointed, but nice for the price. Does not have the tannins and structure to do well with better cuts of steak, especially well marbled ones. Pair with pizza; burgers and sliders; meatloaf; chicken-fried steak with white gravy; comfort food in general. $12-14

McBride Sisters website

Andréa, Robin in vineyard
Andréa, Robin McBride
McBride sisters