Gorman Winery 2012 "Devil You Know" Red Wine

Deviled Impulse:

Gorman Winery 20120 Devil You Know Red Wine

Fellow wine lovers, I’ve always viewed Chris Gorman, of Gorman Winery, as a prince of darkness of sorts, so naturally he’s returned to tempt us once again with the second vintage of last year’s guilty pleasure. He’s been experimenting a lot recently, and that’s led to a few new labels from him, including two new red wines: The Devil You Know, and The Devil You Don’t Know. They’re both red blends, with the Devil You Know (DYK) made using vineyards and vinification techniques standard to Gorman Winery, while the Devil You Don’t Know (DYDK) employs new fruit sources, and experimental winemaking- hence the names.

Gorman Winery 2012 Devil You know Red Wine 26.99 (Regularly $30)

Last year’s feature on Impulse didn’t include the DYK, as we weren’t able to get a hold of any. With much advanced planning this year, we’re featuring both wines in this devilish duo, which is great because each one offers something different and interesting. Between these two, the DYK is more typical of the Gorman wines, with an added component of value, as it’s among the few reds in his lineup under $40. While both of these two wines are rather drink-worthy, I will say that the DYK is my favorite this year, and I’m betting if will get higher scores from the wine media if it gets reviewed, though last year it was the DYDK which brought home the bacon with a 93 point score from Wine Spectator.

In true Gorman style, the wine is smooth, lusty, and powerful. It’s tightly concentrated, and will definitely benefit from another year in the bottle before you crack it- or at least an hour or two in the decanter is advisable. A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 13% Petite Sirah, and 8% Petit Verdot, its nose is dense with stewed red fruit, floral hints, and oak notes. The palate is a concerted display of stewed raspberries and strawberries, wild berry bramble, a typical Cabernet black peppercorn, and perfumed rose hips, while the indulgent aging in new French oak Barrels for 16 months produces a showing of baked vanilla.

It’s great with a tenderloin, and should be drinking nicely for another five to seven years. Gorman only made 825 cases of this still unknown gem.

  • Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State
  • Grapes: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 13% Petite Sirah & 8% Petit Verdot.
  • Aging: Aged 16 months in French Oak Barrels
  • Drinkability: Now through 2021
  • Body: Medium-Full
  • Alcohol: 14.7% by volume
  • Drink This if you Like: Gorman Bully Cabernet
  • Food Pairings: Tenderloin
  • Production: 825 cases made
Underground Wine Project Idle Hands Red Wine

Idle Impulse:

Underground Wine Project 2012 "Idle Hands" Red Wine

Fellow wine lovers, everyone knows the old saying, “idle hands are the Devil’s playground,” and today we have a fiendishly good wine which is a collaboration between two very busy winemakers who refuse to be idle, even for an instant. Always on the move, Mark Ryan McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery and Trey Busch of Sleight of Hand Cellars must have about a dozen different individual projects between the two of them, and their latest is called “Underground Wine Project.” Aptly named, since this wine is a best kept secret of sorts, with no website or info available anywhere - an internet search will turn up next to no results.

Underground Wine Project 2012 “Idle Hands” Red $29.99 (Normally $40)

Simply put, if you like a big, juicy, hedonistic bottle of red, then the Underground Wine Project “Idle Hands” Red is AWESOME. A luscious combination of 92% Syrah and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon coming from the Red Heaven Vineyard on Red Mountain, this thing is loaded with lots of in your face aromas of fresh vanilla, blueberry jam, and hints of anise. The palate is rich and supple, with full body and gripping tannins which will no doubt soften over time, showing blackberries and smoky oak, with hints of black pepper up front. There are combined hints of coconut and medium-dark chocolate which make me think german chocolate cake, and it finishes with ripe black raspberry preserve and perfumed roses. After letting the wine breath for about 45 minutes, aromas of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies started to show.

The Idles Hands Red is aged for 16 months in 85% French and 15% American oak, and I think that 15% hint of American goes a long way to make this an especially bold wine. For the last decade or so, winemakers have increasingly backed away from American oak because of it’s reputation for having a flavor profile which many feel is too overt. However, I think the Idle Hands demonstrates how a more restrained use of American oak can add of lot of complex overtones, without overshadowing the rest of the wine’s characteristics.

The Idle Hands is meant to retail for $40, but they’re temporarily allowing it to debut at lower introductory price of $29.99, which I’m told will go up. Mark and Trey made a very limited quantity, and this wine is set to disappear quickly.

The name "Idle Hands" comes from a song by a band called, "The Gutter Twins," and the label reads the lyrics, "with these idle hands there's nothing I can do but be the Devil's plaything, baby and know that I've been used."

  • Region: Red Mountain, Washington
  • Vineyard: Red Heaven Vineyard
  • Grape: 92% Syrah & 8% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Aging: Aged 16 months in 15% American 85% French oak barrels
  • Drinkability: Now through 2020
  • Body: Full Bodied
  • Food Pairings: STEAK, Top Sirloin, New York, Tenderloin
Gorman Winery 2011 "The Devil You Don't Know" Red Wine

Devilish Impulse:

Gorman Winery 2011 "The Devil You Don't Know" Red Wine

Fellow wine lovers, at Impulse Wine, we do our best to avoid any kind of "Deal With the Devil" situations. Still, when you find a wine this good, at this price, the temptations is just too great. Especially when it receives a 93 point score from the Wine Spectator, which means it won't be around for much longer. Odds are you know and love the wines of Gorman Winery and are familiar with their rock and roll themed names like Bully, Evil Twin, and Big Sissy. Now Chris Gorman has a brand new wine which you may not yet know, The Devil You Don't Know.

Gorman Winery 2011 "Devil You Don't Know" $26.99 (Regularly $28)

Gorman's been making cult status wines for a decade, and like any great artist, he likes to see just how far he can push the envelope. Regarded as the mad chemist among his friends, Chris is always experimenting with new things and has decided to try two things that he almost never does, hence the name of the wine. First he decided to play with American Oak, instead of 100% French which has always been the standard for Gorman Winery. Second, he explored some new vineyard sources in the greater Columbia Valley, instead of focusing on fruit from Red Mountain as he's traditionally done.

American Oak has it's strengths and weaknesses. Its virtue is that it costs about half what a French Oak barrel might, so wines aged in American tend to be more affordable. On the other hand, it's generally thought to impart its characteristics to the wine in a more overt fashion, often lending to a wine that is less elegant and more clunky. That turns out not to be the case here; Gorman did a lot of research and tasted a lot of wines made with different types of American Oak to ensure he selects the right ones. The result is a well rounded, complex, wine that I found really enjoyable, and at a price that's near half some of his top wines.

The Devil You Don't Know is a blend of 80% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 5% Petite Sirah. Sticking my nose in the glass I get a bursting of smoked paprika and a drizzle of Chambord liqueur with black cherries and liquorice. It's smooth on the palate and continuously evolves as it breaths and opens up. With Halloween next month, it's a perfect time to round up some scary good wines like this devil.

  • Region: Columbia Valley, Washington
  • Pair With: Spanish Chorizo, grilled meats
  • Drinkability: Now - 2020 Drinking great right now for a young wine, it can definitely benefit from decanting
  • Grapes: 80% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre & 5% Petite Sirah
  • Accolades: 93 points from Wine Spectator
  • Oak: Aged for 21 Months in new American Oak
  • Production: 525 cases made