Every wine has a story. But this wine and this story is what legends are made of. It is the kind of story that would make Edgar Allen Poe smirk at the shivers riding down the back of your spine. The blood-dripping severed hand on the label belongs to an Irish patriot by the name of Owen Roe O’Neill. Legend has it that hundreds of years ago, there were two rivaling Irish families: the aforementioned O’Neill’s and the David O’Reilly’s. The families—both coveting the same piece of prime real estate—were divided into two teams. The first family to row across the lake and touch the prized property with his lucky Irish hand would become the Lord of the Land. After a time, O’Neill’s boat fell behind, whereby a crewmember drew his sword, cut off his hand and threw it ashore—thus staking the O’Neill clan’s claim to the land. But getting back to the wine. This is a red blend of the holy trinity grapes – GSM – 41% Grenache, 27% Syrah, 18% Mourvedre, and just to create some spice, 12% Cinsault. It’s an excellent Rhone blend of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape genre. Look for lush and bold red fruit from dark cherries to strawberries and plum. But hang on, it becomes more complex. Tannins are elegant and smooth, balancing acidity-to-alcohol. Easily paired with beef, lamb, spicy food, and I think, cheddar or chocolate. This is the first release Sinister Hand to carry a Yakima Valley designation.
I found 2014 Sinister Hand at The Wine Bin in Ellicott City, MD. $33.