Even Roanoke Vineyards’ most die-hard fans (and believe me, they have a lot of them) may not recognize this week’s Wine of the Week — by name anyway — but it’s not a new member of the lineup.
It doesn’t happen a lot, but wineries do change the names of wines sometimes. Often it’s because of the nebulous world of intellectual property and trademark law.
This wine used to be called Bond, but never had anything to do with a British Secret Agent. “(It’s) Bond as a verb,” said Scott Sandell, Roanoke’s Creative Director when I asked him about the name. “When you work closely with people over time, you tend to form bonds that are . . . important. Hence, “Bond.” It was easy to say, easy to remember, and easy to immediately recall why you thought it was a good name.” Scott also designed the label. He designs all of Roanoke’s labels.
It wasn’t the James Bond people who came knocking about Roanoke using the name. It was a big-time California winery, Harlan Estates. “We got a FedEx envelope from Harlan Estates saying although they didn’t have a wine called “Bond,” they had a “project” called Bond that they’d trademarked, and they’d like us not to use the name anymore.”
Eventually Roanoke decided to let the name go. “Most of us still call it Bond, but don’t tell anybody at Harlan that!” Scott joked.
Made with 58% Merlot, 10% Cab Sauvignon, 31.5% Cab Franc, and .5% Petit Verdot — it’s a fairly classic North Fork blend with one major difference — the price. At $20, it’s one of the great values in local red wine. It’s priced like an entry-level wine, but the wine itself is far from it.
It’s ripe and juicy, with just a lick of oak character (which is great with grilled foods, by the way) with soft, approachable tannins and nice acidity. Though not the most complex of Roanoke’s reds, it’s not a one-note berry bomb either. That’s intentional. Sandell told me “I’m of a mind that $20 ought to buy you a really great wine.” Missioned accomplished here.
The wine-formerly-known-as-Bond is available at both of Roanoke’s tasting rooms for $20. It usually sells out quickly, so don’t hesitate. For $20, you can’t go wrong.
Check out our archive of ‘Wine of the Week’ posts.