Phantom Jr?

Bogle's Phantom blend has long been a perennial favorite.  Reliable and always a pleasure regardless of the vintage.  So, when Bogle's new Essential Red (Zinfandel, Syrah, Cab, and Petite Sirah) hit the shelves at around $10 a bottle, two questions immediately came to mind:
- Is this a Phantom Jr?
- Or is this another one of those f-ing sweet red wines?

Well, the first sip confirmed that it definitely isn't the latter.  And a couple of hours breathing confirmed that it is, actually, the former.  No, they didn't bottle excess Phantom under the Essential Red label to move idle inventory, but this sawbuck bottle packs plenty of grip and tightly integrated interest.  Perfect for a simple mid-week meal and flexible enough to go with anything from Italian to steaks to pasta.

What does the Phantom have that the Essential Red does not?  In a word, vigor.