Paul Newman was one of my favorite actors. Like so many actors from his era, Mr. Newman displayed great diversity in the roles he undertook, gently evolving his characters appropriately as he aged. I was also impressed that he remained devoted to his second wife, Joanne Woodward for fifty years. Another aspect of Mr. Newman’s life that I found admirable was his charitable work, most especially the co-founding of his Newman’s Own (http://newmansownfoundation.org/) line of foods in 1982. The brand started humbly with salad dressing, and has since expanded to include pasta sauce, salsa, soft drinks, snack products, frozen entrees and wine. With the foundation, Mr. Newman established a philanthropic policy where all proceeds, after taxes, would be donated to charity. As of today, the foundation has donated in excess of $370 million. Organizations supported by the foundation include philanthropic organizations, organizations helping children with life-limiting conditions, as well as organizations of empowerment and nutritional support (http://newmansownfoundation.org/what-we-support/).

By and large, the products sold by Newman’s Own brand are quite good, with our shelves being lined by several jars of salsa, salad dressing and pasta sauce. However, I had yet to seriously dabble with his wine. Why? Well, the wine is inexpensive, California juice, which I rarely find appealing or interesting.

The engine behind Newman’s Own wine is none other than Rebel Wine Company out of St. Helena, California. Rebel is known for its commitment to high value wines. In addition to Newman’s own, Rebel has several value conscience brands, namely Bandit Wines and The Show Wines. Artful marketing under the Three Thieves mantle (http://threethieves.com/index.php) promotes an interesting story focused on “wine for everybody.”

Recently I picked up the Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon in the Newman’s Own portfolio and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. These wines are not terribly complex, nor do they possess any aging potential, but they are a simple, straight-forward, fruity style that falls into the category I call “daily drinkers.” Both were priced around $10 dollars, so for those looking for fruit forward simplicity, they work well. Both made an excellent accompaniment to meat off the grill…

My tasting notes:

NewmansOwnPN

2010 Pinot Noir – California

Fresh, fruity nose with bright red berry, raspberry and violet hints. Medium-bodied with moderate acidity and moderate, supple tannin – good balance. Sour cherry palate with rose attar and blackberry notes. Moderate length – smooth finish – easy drinking. Not for aging – good value.

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon – California

Bright, fruity nose with cherry, floral and fresh, herbal hints. Medium-bodied with moderate acidity and moderate tannin – good balance. Soft palate with fresh, red berries on the palate. Moderate length with a smooth easy finish. Drinking well – not for aging. Good value.

Cheers!

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