Daddy always said, “Nothing good happens after midnight.” Clearly, my father knew nothing of the magic of wine blends. (Daddy was a Crown Royal guy.) The latest release from Ménage à Trois, a dark red blend named Midnight, should send that old adage back to the dustbin of curious truisms.
The California wine with the naughty name, Ménage à Trois built its business with its blends — easy-drinking combinations of three varietals in red, white and rosé styles. The winery in Napa Valley also produces 10 varietal wines, many sourced from three appellations and blended in the spirit of the label’s origins. But the blends are the best and by far the most popular — the original Ménage à Trois Red Blend is the best-selling red wine in America. Now comes a racy new concoction, just in time for the most celebrated midnight of all — New Year’s Eve.
Midnight Dark Red Blend goes beyond the Ménage à Trois formula with a handcrafted mingling of four wines — predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, adding a dollop of Petite Sirah and a dash of Petit Verdot. The opaque purple wine’s ripe cherry aroma leads to a mélange of rich, crushed-fruit flavors — black cherry, blackberry, black plum and black currant. A hint of chocolate with a touch of oak spice on the finish keeps things interesting. This is a velvety smooth wine with just enough tannin to stand up to any steak or other hearty dish you may choose to ring in the New Year.
Midnight comes from the Napa Valley winery of Folie à Deux, parent company of the Ménage à Trois label. A step up from other Ménage à Trois wines, Midnight compares well with many pricier Napa blends, but it could also claim a place on your everyday table. As a small-batch production, it’s in limited release this year but widely available in Columbia, so you might want to snag a few extra bottles at your favorite wine shop. Create a little midnight madness whenever you like … just don’t tell Daddy.
When it comes to naming wineries, psychotic conditions usually aren’t at the top of the list of contenders — unless, of course, those with the naming rights happen to be mental health professionals.
That’s what happened in 1981, when psychiatrist Larry Dismang and his counselor wife, Eva, founded a boutique winery they named Folie à Deux, a French term that literally means “a madness shared by two,” and known in medical circles as “shared psychosis.” The couple preferred to define their new venture as a shared passion; their friends declared the two crazy. With Dr. Dismang as winemaker and a frolicking Rorschach inkblot on the label, the couple boldly went about establishing a collection of fine Napa Valley wines.
Alas, the marriage didn’t survive the passion; the Dismangs split and sold the winery in the mid-’90s. New owner Richard Peterson brought in winemaker Scott Harvey, whose Ménage à Trois creation was an immediate commercial success. Trinchero Family Estates purchased Folie à Deux in 2004, and now sources grapes for both labels throughout Napa, Sonoma and the Central Coast. The Napa Cellars tasting room for Folie à Deux and Ménage à Trois is in Oakville.