“Last minute scramble.” Review: Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise 2015


I’m giving a talk at the University tomorrow. I agreed to do it back in, like, November of last year, so naturally I waited until this weekend to write it. In my defense, I’ve been a little busy. I spent the latter half of last week pulling eighteen hour days in NYC with a group of 20 amazing young people, and managed not to lose a single one of them or even get lost myself. I’m helping to raise a child and taking care of a pregnant wife. I’m in training for another season of pacing half marathons.  And, obviously, I run one of the most interesting wine blogs on the World Wide Web. So if you were about to advise me not to procrastinate, well, I’ve got a wine bottle and you’ve got a good place to put it.

So tonight, after a day spent authoring three different grant proposals, grading portfolios, spending quality time with my super cool eighteen month old son, and finally going to dinner with my in-laws, I needed to work the kinks out of my work before driving to Lincoln and presenting it tomorrow morning. Of course, I knew that in order to do this, I needed some fuel, so I went to the sample rack and grabbed the first bottle I saw, this 2015 Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise.

This was about the worst wine I could have chosen for the job. I popped the cork and splashed a bit in a glass before I decanted the rest and sat down to work. The problem with the wine is that it was frankly too complex to be a wine I sipped at thoughtlessly while preparing an academic presentation. As soon as I’d get into a groove, I’d take another sip, notice another flavor, and have to stop working to jot down notes. Sweet raisins, cigar box, lush purple fruits, forest floor, stewed plums, hints of vanilla, pepper, cinnamon… this wine has too much going on to be an afterthought. I finally set it aside, finished my presentation, and then returned to it when I could focus more on the wine. It deserved as much.

68% Zinfandel, 18% PS, 8% Grenache, 6% Syrah, this wine is 100% enjoyable. In time I discovered that the decant was a waste of time; the mellowing almost took something away from this mildly aggressive wine that dons a skull on the label and uses Zinfandel as a base for blending. At $15 retail, it’s a killer QPR. I don’t use a number rating scale anymore, but suffice it to say that it would have done quite well on my value-weighted scale. It was good enough to distract me from my presentation, and good enough that I’d serve it to friends. I’m going to have one more glass before I go to bed. Wish me luck on that presentation! (sample)




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