Buena Vista Red Blend (4)

Buena Vista “The Count” Red Blend 4-Pack
Sold by: Boisset Collection - Buena Vista Winery
$54.99 $108.00 49% off List Price
2014 Buena Vista “The Count” Founders Red Wine, Sonoma County

In for 1 and first sucker. Great stuff.

This is typically a Zin/Merlot/etc blend but changes year to year.
I can’t find specs for 2014 but for reference here are 2012 and 2013.

Varietal Breakdown: 44% Zinfandel, 17% Syrah, 13% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane

Varietal Breakdown: 40% Merlot, 25% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah, 11% Syrah, 4.5% Petite Verdot, 3% Carignane, 2.5% Cinsault, 2% Valdiguie


Hello, daddy. Hello, mom. / I’m your ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb! / Hello world! I’m your wild girl. / I’m your ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb!… - The Runaways

Ok, probably more currant than cherry but there are not any songs about currant bombs that I know of…

This is the 2014 Buena Vista The Count Founder’s Red Wine

Ruby red, as it should be… The nose shows a touch of spice, hints of the heat to come, and loads of dark fruit.

Naked and unabashed, tastes of currant, blackberry and dark fruit, with a bite of acidity and noticeable heat (14.5) that, somehow, is balanced and makes the experience more enjoyable than I want to admit.

Drink it all in now while young… time is not kind to those in the rock and roll lifestyle.

A good buy at < $15

The wife: “I love this”


Woohoo! Earlier in the week, good karma bestowed upon me the great honor of serving as a Grape Debater!
I’ll be honest, when I opened the box, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of this wine.

It’s a 2014 red blend, varietals not specified. If I just glanced at these details my first instinct would be to pass.

Long story short, my wife and I were pleasantly surprised. This drinks surprisingly well for a young red and we both found ourselves reaching for more.

Below are our detailed tasting notes…


  • Rich color with light-medium body. Rather easy to see through and read text.
  • Tight rim and consistent color as you might expect with a young red.
  • Clean, crisp look which would tell me it’s been filtered.
  • Big legs are in line with the 14.5% alcohol.


  • Ripe RED FRUIT!! I got a nose full of over-ripe strawberry and then some cherry and even blueberry. My wife smelled cherries, then said dried cherries and raisins.
  • Some heat. Especially right after pop and pour, there was alcohol and heat on the nose, but not as much as I imagined with the 14.5% content. The wine opened up quickly though, I would say after 15-20 minutes that heat was overwhelmed by these ripe fruit aromas.


  • Definitely tasting that ripe red fruit.
  • Fruit forward, and dry. Not bone-dry, but not sweet.
  • Good acidity and moderate to low tannins, the finish had my tastebuds tingling.
  • Oak is there but subdued, so I would guess mostly American oak.
  • Based on the fruit, color and taste, I would say definitely some Zin, wife tastes Merlot.
  • Assuming those varietals are in the ballpark for primary blend, I think there is something else but can’t quite place it. We’ll throw a dart and say some low % blend of something like Syrah or Grenache :slight_smile:

Final Thoughts
My wife and I both liked this blend. Like I said, upon first glance I might have passed this up, but after tasting, it has won us over.
We’d describe it as not overly-complex, but fun and drinkable. Crowd pleaser comes to mind. This is one we’d be pretty comfortable serving to a group of friends at a party.

Bought a couple of bottles of this in October and still had one left, so I opened it. My notes on the first bottle were scanty; I liked it well enough to buy again, but my wife thought it was drinkable, but nothing special. Sipping some of this bottle, I don’t feel the 14.5% at all-- whatever alcohol is there is well balanced. It’s definitely fruity, not very full bodied (it could use some more Petite Sirah), and very easy drinking. I don’t notice any oak at all, which is probably why my wife wasn’t enthusiastic. (Her current favorite is Bogle Phantom.)

In October, I paid 14.69 on sale (currently still so, regularly 16.99). Since I wouldn’t mind drinking some more of this, and the woot price is even better, I’m in for four.

Had their Zin from earlier offer and really enjoyed.

A few questions for winery:
Case production?


Thanks debaters! Great notes. This sounds like my type of vino.

Y’all sold me. In for one, for the first time in long, long time. Looks like a good value on an every day drinker.

Now that’s an endorsement

In for 3

I really like the idea of Buena Vista being here on woot - under prior ownership, it was one of our most interesting and most surprising for quality stops on the 2008 and 2010 rpm Tours.

Very historic.

I’m disappointed that this has no CT, but even more disappointed that the wine seems to be very ripe, relatively hot, fruit forward wine.

If you like the style, and it ships to your state, it might well be worth a try. For me, not worth wootlegging.

From the descriptions, I see very ripe, but at 14.5% ABV, in 2016, that’s hot relative to what? You and I are old enough to remember with great affection the 12.5% Cabernet Sauvignon that used to predominate, but 14.5% seems to be what nearly everyone is willing to settle for, if not having that as an outright goal. That was one of the best things about the rpm tours. With some notable exceptions, lots of places that still cared about the way wine “ought to be.”

I don’t really care than most people are willing to settle for. When you’re paying your money, you shouldn’t settle at all. I should settle for ParkerPlonk? I don’t think so…

I still believe that anything above 14% ABV should be considered “hot” and (in fairness) many of the “12.5%” wines of yore were closer to 14% than 12.5%, but that was a quirk of labeling law. Remember, if it’s > 14.0%, it has to be accurate within 0.1% ABV.

The 2014 blend direct from the winery:

25% Merlot
20% Syrah
19% Petite Verdot
11% Zinfandel
10% Cabernet Sauvignon
8% Petite Sirah
7% Malbec

These are “talking points” I wrote about the 2008 vintage for the wine bar where I used to work. The trivia about the Count himself is of particular interest, though since the time I wrote this, Haraszthy’s true influence has been subject of debate. Specs on the blend are of course only relevant to that vintage.



Buena Vista “The Count” 2008

Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma, California

Overview: Named for the winery’s colorful founder, The Count of Buena Vista, The Count mingles Bordeaux’s Merlot, the Rhône’s Syrah, and the all-American Zinfandel to produce an elegant wine with complexity. Black currant, cherries, and espresso on the nose give way to plum and dark berries on the palate and silky tannins on the finish. A fine tribute to a pioneer in California’s celebrated wine industry!

[*]Winery: Founded in 1857 by Agoston Haraszthy, the self-proclaimed “Count of Buena Vista,” Buena Vista Winery is considered California’s first premium winery. The estate is located in Sonoma where it survived phylloxera, abandonment, Prohibition, and disinterested owners over its long history. In 2011, Buena Vista was purchased by Boisset Family Estates, a renowned French family with roots in Burgundy.

[*]Trivia: “The Count,” Buena Vista’s colorful founder, emigrated from Europe to America in 1840 and was a catalyst for much of the American fermented beverage industry. He first settled in Wisconsin, where he was the first to plant hops, laying the foundation for the American beer industry. He moved to California in 1849 and finally settled in Sonoma in 1856 where he planted the vineyards that effectively launched the California wine industry. He also dug Sonoma’s first wine caves, introduced new innovations in viticulture, and wrote the first treatise on California wine. Charles Krug, pioneer in the Napa Valley wine industry, was a friend and bought his first vineyards from Haraszthy.

[*]Winemaking: The wine is a proprietary blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Zinfandel. The grapes were fermented separately and aged 16 months in American, Hungarian, and French oak barrels before final blending.

[*]Terroir: Sonoma is one of the best known wine regions in the U.S. Incorporating 15 named American Viticultural Areas as well as the broader Sonoma County appellation, Sonoma is able to support the growth of nearly every type of wine grape in one or more of its regions. As a curious result of its position between ocean, mountains, and bay, north Sonoma is the “hot” area while the south is “cool.”

To clarify, I meant most winemakers seem willing to settle for 14.5%. I never feel that the consumer should have to settle for anything. So we agree on that point (as usual).
But you said “relatively hot,” and now you’re saying anything above 14% should be considered hot, period. In my math world, circumscribed though it may be, those are different things.

C’mon…you’re nit-picking my words. Anything over 14% is within the spectrum of “hot”. Given current winemaking practice, I suppose to be precise one could say 14.1% is barely hot, 14.2-14.3% is a little hot, and 14.4-14.5% is “relatively” hot, 14.6-14.7% is “hot” and 14.8-14.9% is “d.am.n.e.d hot” and anything over 15% is either “too f***ing hot” or “port”. But I digress.

Thanks for the laugh! Loved this comment…

The Poli"ticks" of wine.
Lovin’ it…

The best part is that we can take friendly pot-shots at each other, and still remain friends. Of course, that all begins with his complete confidence that I have the utmost respect for his knowledge and opinions.

I’m afraid your categories leave no room for the Rancho Zabaco Toreador Monte Rosso Vineyard Zinfandel we had the other night at 16.5% ABV.