About     FAQ     Contact      Advertise With Us      Press   

Purple Heart Wine a Must Find

William (Bill) A. Wroolie, Rep. Mike Thompson D-CA, Raymond Coursen and Stephen L. Ruckman

From the podium in room 2075 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Representative Mike Thompson D-CA said, “What’s better than Veterans and wine?” This was a very fitting statement for the introduction of the 2014 vintage of Purple Heart Red. Purple Heart Wine produces a red wine to help honor American military heroes. The brand was started by C. Mondavi & Family in March 2016. Mr. Thompson signed two magnum bottles of the wine and introduced William (Bill) A. Wroolie and Stephen L. Ruckman of the Purple Heart Foundation and Elyse winery owner and winemaker Raymond Coursen who along with winemaker David Grega helped craft the Purple Heart wine. The large signed bottles of wine were given to Bill and Stephen.

Purple Heart label design

Kathy and I arrived at the Rayburn House Building a bit early which gave us time to discover some things about the wine and the Purple Heart Foundation. In past winery visits, we have met veteran owners and/or winemakers that told us they attempted to put an image of a medal they received on one of their wine bottle labels. The TTB did not accept the label. I was interested in what Purple Heart Wine did. Jaki Palacious, Brand Manager from C. Mondavi & Family, explained that the wine’s label is not an image of the actual Purple Heart medal, which has a gold heart shaped enclosing a bust of George Washington on a purple background. Instead, the wine label shows an image of five gold stars (representing the five military branches) atop a purple-colored heart. A gold leaf design is at the top of the heart and its sides. The design was created in cooperation with the Purple Heart Foundation.

Ray Coursen, winemaker

Winemaker and Vietnam veteran Ray Coursen spoke about his philosophy of winemaking. He looks at winemaking “as cooking without a flame.” Ray spoke to the assembled and mentioned that he returned from Vietnam 47 years ago. He has been a winemaker in Napa Valley for over three decades. This brand of wine is near and dear to Ray’s heart.

The first vintage of the Purple Heart wine was a 2013 vintage that had 7,500 cases made. The 2014 vintage had a production of 15,000 cases. It may be hard to find on the East Coast since most of the allotment for this part of the country went to the White House. The 2014 Purple Heart Red Wine was a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petite Sirah and 1% Petit Verdot. Ray mentioned to me that it doesn’t take much Petit Verdot to influence a wine. The Merlot was mostly sourced from the Yountville area of Napa Valley. The wine was an opaque dark purple color with a ruby hue and ruby rim. The aroma emphasized dark fruits. The taste reminded me of blackberries, blue berries and cassis. (I had a 100% cassis wine while in France, and since, have been able to pick out this trait in wines that have it.) The wine had a medium to full body with medium tannins. The finish was fruity with the fruit yielding to leather and a bit of licorice. The wine is 14.2% alcohol. The wine was delicious, but perhaps the best is the retail price of $19.99. At this price point, if you have a chance to pick up this wine do so.



Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

info@winetrailtraveler.com            Sitemap                      Privacy Policy

Copyright: Terry and Kathy Sullivan 2006-2013