Bogle Phantom is the shit.
I mean, this shit is good. Seriously good.
A blend of Petite Sirah and Old Vine Zinfandel, with a bit of Mourvèdre to round things out, it is inky and dark, intense and complex. On the Bogle website and on each cork extracted from Phantom, you will find some variation of this:
bogle \bõ’g?l\ n. [Scots, perhaps from Welsh] A goblin; a specter; a phantom; a bogy, boggart or bugbear.
This wine lives up to its name, as when it is released it disappears so quickly from the shelves … as if it were never there. An apparition. The same can be said of it when a bottle is opened in our house. We have a bottle on the wine rack now that we are trying to save until 2012 … every time I remember we have it, I am tempted …
Why do we love this wine so much? Well, let’s get right to it, Steinberg …
My experience with the Petite Sirah varietal is very limited … it makes up 53% of Phantom according to the label. Petite Sirah is typically marked by its dark color and intense acidity. It has a high skin-to-juice ratio which lends itself to highly tannic wines, but also lends itself to aging. It brings dark berries (blueberries, blackberries) and black pepper to the party … it has a full and round mouthfeel, but tends to lack a solid profile through the finish. So, basically it comes on strong, pushes through a bit, and then it’s gone. This is why it pairs so perfectly with our next varietal in this blend …
Zinfandel has been hit or miss with me. I’ve had some really terrible red zins that were like drinking liquified, candied fig newtons … just horribly jammy, overly sweet, and flat. But then I’ve had really amazing red zins where the sweetness was balanced by oak, pepper, and clove … where the fruitiness didn’t remind me of jamming 6 whole boxes of Sunmaid raisins in my mouth at once. The heat on the end lingered with the spice and oak. Bogle’s Old Vine Zin is one of the good ones … and here we find it in Phantom to the tune of 44% of the blend.
Where the Petite Sirah struggles, the old vine zin picks it up by offering depth and complexity. Oak and spice mingle with dark berries, adding some much needed punch in the finish.
I don’t know if Bogle decided to throw in the Mourvèdre only because they needed to fill the remaining 3% of Phantom, and I have no idea how much effect the Mourvèdre has on this blend, but let’s talk about what it can do for the blend … especially before we start saying 3% is too small to do much of anything. Mourvèdre is most commonly used in Rhone blends, which feature Grenache, another grape that yields wine with high alcohol content. So, theoretically, Mourvèdre would do the same for the high alcohol content of the Old Vine Zin, softening it a bit and adding body.
So, here we are … 53% Petite Sirah, 44% Old Vine Zinfandel, and 3% Mourvèdre … and what we get is a delicious red blend that is loaded with complexity … blackberries, raspberries, clove, toasted oak, leather, black pepper, a little anise … the longer it breathes, the better it gets. Once the bottle’s gone, you’ll be very sad … I feel like I’ve been going through withdraw symptoms … let’s hope I can hold out for the next bottle rather than opening the one waiting for 2012 … I can’t wait to see what a bit of in-bottle aging does for this already amazing wine.
Go. Buy some. Now. I’m pretty sure the new vintage will be released at the end of this month, so be on the look out for it. I will be.