What is a proprietary red wine?

Answered by John Hunt

A proprietary red wine is a type of wine that is produced in limited quantities and is known for its exceptional quality. Unlike other red wines that may be made from a single grape variety or a blend of different grape varieties, a proprietary red is usually made from a unique blend of grapes that is exclusive to the winery producing it.

These wines are often crafted with meticulous attention to detail, using only the finest grapes and employing specific winemaking techniques to create a wine of exceptional power and density. The result is a wine that is bold, intense, and full-bodied.

One of the defining characteristics of a proprietary red is its commanding tannins. Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems that contribute to the structure and aging potential of a wine. In the case of a proprietary red, the tannins are often quite robust, giving the wine a firm and gripping texture that can be quite pronounced in its youth.

The flavors of a proprietary red are typically dark and rich, with notes of black fruits such as blackberry and black cherry, as well as hints of spice, chocolate, and sometimes a touch of earthiness. These flavors can vary depending on the specific blend of grapes used and the winemaking techniques employed.

One of the most fascinating aspects of a proprietary red is its ability to evolve and improve with age. These wines are often built to age gracefully and can become increasingly complex and seductive over time. With proper cellaring conditions, a well-made proprietary red can easily age for 25 years or more, revealing new layers of flavor and nuance as it matures.

It is worth noting that due to their limited production and high quality, proprietary red wines tend to be more expensive than other types of red wines. However, for wine enthusiasts and collectors, the investment is often well worth it, as these wines can offer a truly exceptional drinking experience.

In my own experience, I have had the pleasure of tasting a few proprietary red wines, and each time I have been impressed by their power and depth. I remember one particular bottle that I had the opportunity to try at a wine tasting event. The wine was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, and it was simply stunning. The tannins were firm yet velvety, and the flavors of blackcurrant, dark chocolate, and spice seemed to dance on my palate. It was a wine that demanded attention and lingered in my memory long after I finished the glass.

A proprietary red wine is a true testament to the artistry and skill of the winemaker. It is a wine that showcases the unique characteristics of a specific vineyard and the winery’s commitment to producing wines of exceptional quality. Whether enjoyed in its youth or aged to perfection, a well-crafted proprietary red is a wine to be savored and cherished.