Those of you who know The Charlie Tonic Hour know that we know our way around booze and we know our way around steampunks. So it is fitting that we first discovered The Seeker Wines through the steampunk world. Our friend and college Professor Charles Duncan is a representative for Seeker Wines and he also hosts one hell of a room party. But when I got the chance to review Seeker Wines for our show, I was thrilled to try them somewhere other than a room party. Being constrained by a corset and already drunk are not the ideal conditions for a thoughtful and balanced tasting.
The Seeker Wines is a small, family owned company that seeks to source the best family owned wineries around the world and to bring them to the world at affordable prices and with elegant labels. They have also hitched their wagon pretty firmly to the Steampunk movement. Each wine has a whimsical flying contraption on the label and a steampunk explorer character who supposedly “discovered” the wine in some far off place. It has been awhile since I studied world explorers in 5th grade and at first I thought these were actual historical figures. Then I noticed that many of them were wearing goggles and one talked about fighting a giant metal octopus on his journey. I realized my mistake quickly at that point. Seeker Wines currently has three red and two white varieties available and so we are doing a two-part tasting on our podcasts. The Charlie Tonic Hour Episode 67 features the reds which I am reviewing here, and for the whites you will have to wait until Bottoms Up Episode 8. So without further ado, here is what I think of each of the reds.
Discovered: In France by Colette Bourgogne
Winemaking: “Cold maceration” “Fermentation in open-top barrels” “Maturation in tank on light lees”
Tasting: “Red fruit and spice” “Balanced acidity and ripe fine tannin” “Food friendly
Just to be honest to my own limitations, I am sadly unsure what many of these phrases mean but I did gather that this is a wine that is not aged in oak and I could tell that right away. The fruit is more forward in this wine and there is a lightness and brightness that you don’t get from oak-aged wine. I found the tannins rather strong and it does have a very long finish. Personally I felt that the sweeter, fruitier notes on the front were a little weak in comparison to the strong finish but it does balance out better after breathing for a bit. I admit now that I am trying the wine for a second time a day later, letting the wine breath appropriately it is something that Charlie and I neglected to do when we drank it for the show. Overall this is all an enjoyable wine but not one that I would seek out if it was inconvenient.
Discovered: In Argentina by Esteban Colombo
Winemaking: “Hand picked” “Cold maceration” “Aged in French Oak for six months”
Tasting Notes: “Black cherry and dominate spice” “Smooth and robust with a spicy finish”
Very much spicy and woody nose and a big bold taste. You can pick up on the oak very definitely. Unlike the Pinot Noir, this one did not calm down as much after breathing. This was one of Charlie’s favorites but for me I felt the oak was too dominate. However I could see this one standing up well to a steak or some strongly seasoned barbecue. On its own it might be too much but when paired with a flavor that can stand up to it I can see it working well.
Discovered: In Chile by Isadora Cortez
Winemaking: “Cold maceration” “3 pumpovers per day” “Aged in 20% new oak, 50% American/French for 5 months” “Reserva-level Cabernet Sauvignon”
Tasting Notes: “Ripe black and blue berries with a touch of vanilla” “Creamy tannins” “Beautiful structure with chocolate and toffee”
This one was the clear taste winner for both Charlie and myself. It helps that Cabernet Sauvignon is my usual go-to variety of red wine but this is a particularly complex yet well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon. It is one of the few wines that I find the vanilla flavors to be really apparent but at the same time it is not overly sweet. In this wine the oak aging really does add a subtle and lovely hint of chocolate that rides just under the berries and then finishes with an assertive but not intimidating show of spice and tannins. I highly recommend this one.
If you want to try some of these lovely wines yourself you will have to order them from your local wine shop or online merchant. Or I have a more fun proposal for you. Seeker Wines is the official wine of The Steampunk Empire Symposium here in Cincinnati. At the show parties both nights, The Seeker Wines will be available to try for all party goers. Despite what I said that the beginning of this article, parties at cons might not be the best place for serious tasting, it is officially the most fun way to try a wine.