‘Freakshow’ tasting is one you don’t want to miss at WineConneXtion

The label of Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon resembles a circus free-for-all.

You don’t want to miss Saturday’s free, open-to-the-public winetasting event at the Wine ConneXtion in Norther Andover, where David Phillips, co-owner of the Michael David Winery in Lodi (CA) will be on hand to pour his popular Freakshow wines.

The Phillips’ family has been cultivating grapes and making wine for six generations. Michael and his brother David are recognized for their branding expertise as well as their luxuriant, fruity and opulent wines.

David Phillips signing bottles at a prior visit to the WineConneXtion in 2014.

The Freakshow brand consists of four wines that sell for under $20. The three reds – Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Blend (Syrah, Petit Sirah, Petit Verdot – are characterized by big, bold, jammy fruit flavor, warm vanilla and toast spices, and a velvety texture. There’s also a rich, creamy Chardonnay. Freakshow is one of America’s best-selling brands. Not only is the wine delicious, but the labels pay homage to beguiling circus performers in colorful attire. One of my favorites is the Wolfman, standing all dressed up in a barkman’s uniform and a dangling pocket watch in front of the Big Top. Put any of these wines on the party table and I guarantee they’ll start a conversation.

The winery also features an upscale reserve line of wines selling in the $55-60 range. They are equally provocative in taste and name: Rapture (Cabernet Sauvignon), and three Zinfandels – Rage, Lust and Gluttony.  These are all high alcohol wines (15.5 percent) made from the winery’s top vineyards. Rapture is only produced in the best vintages. The Zins are dark purple in color and impressionably fruity, well-oaked, and velvety smooth.

Among my favorites, however, are the Inkblot wines, a 100 percent Petit Verdot and a 100 percent Cabernet Franc that sell for $35 each. These Bordeaux varietals are given a California lift from ripe fruit and 16 months of oak-barrel aging.

Still, when it comes down to flavor, I find Freakshow’s Petite Petit (Petite Sirah) to be the most exquisite wine for the price ($13). Like the circus elephant prancing on the label, this dense, full-bodied wine tramples the palate with black fruit, dried fig and vanilla flavors that just never seem to end on the slightly sweet finish. Dramatic and memorable, Petite Petit has been rated highly as one of America’s best values in both Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast magazines for several years running.

Expect these wines to get special one-day pricing at the Wine ConneXtion. Like I said, they are worth tasting and bringing home. Go to www.wineconneXtion for details and directions. The event runs from 1 to 4 p.m. and light food will be served.

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