If you're not familiar with Matchbook or The Arsonist, they're fantastic wines by talented winemaker John Giguiere. John and his wife Lane are the folks behind RH Phillips and Toasted Head wines. While those wines aren't the massively popular brands they once were and have largely disappeared since the Giguieres sold it to Constellation Brands. The sale allowed John to "get back to basics" and return to winemaking on the small scale. Today the winery is in Yolo County's Dunnigan Hills AVA and Dan, along with his wife, brothers and sons craft many different wines under various labels - The Arsonist, Sawbuck, Mossback, Matchbook, Chasing Venus. While they produce many different wines, few if any exceed 5000 cases in production and are hand crafted, mostly from their own Dunnigan Hills estate grown grapes.
The Arsonist Red is just amazing and a more than worthy follow up to the 2017 vintage, which was rated 92 points by Wine Enthusiast and named one of their top 100 wines of the year (#71). The Arsonist Red Blend begins with an absolutely intoxicating aroma of plum, licorice, cinnamon, spice, blueberry and more. Lots of secondary notes come out in the glass with a little air as well. The lovefest continues when tasting this smooth, delicious wine. There is, of course, lots of rich, ripe dark fruit but also hints of chocolate, more cinnamon and licorice and even a bit of bramble. Chewy tannins lead into the dry, lingering finish.