2006 Tobin James Chateau Le Cacheflo Paso Robles

Leftovers never tasted so good.

Typically when a winery puts out a blend of oddball grapes, it's an attempt to clear out the spice rack inventory and make a few bucks in the process. And when they give it a funny name like Chateau Le Cacheflo, well, you'd think they'd just confirmed that theory.

Not so at Tobin James.

Appropriately named for these times, this blend of Mediterranean grapes bucks the norm that "leftover" wines are quirky, disjointed, and thin. This wine is integrated, medium-to-full bodied, and down-right enjoyable. Syrah gives it some good heft, Sangiovese lends a slightly spicy nose and finish, and Barbera rounds it out with a wild card. Darker, richer, and more intense than expected. Not a serious, brooding wine, rather a rocking, fun wine. A nice surprise, especially at this price point. What's more surprising is that 3 days after opening it was even better - a sign that it might not suffer from a time in the cellar.

Monica Martin, GM at Tobin James tells us that the grapes, all from surrounding Paso Robles vineyards, were aged for 14 months in small French and American oak. - not the kind of treatment most leftovers get.

3800 cases were made in this vintage mean you might still find some in your areas. We paid $11.99 for it and haven't seen it for much more - or less.

Rating: Lip-smacking, fun, tasty. Definitely worth a try.

PS- Tobin James is worth a visit (as is all of Paso Robles). Walking into their tasting room is like walking into an old western saloon. Staff are clad in loud, colorful shirts and make visitors feel very welcome. Clearly these folks make having fun a priority. Though the wine labels are just as loud as the shirts, their wines deliver respectable quality across the board. Cheers!