A bold red blend – 2019 Unshackled by Prisoner


Red blend.   

It’s one of the wine world’s most ubiquitous…

and vague…


The red blend comes in every imaginable shape and form. 

A bottle of Bordeaux that runs $800? 

It’s a red blend. 

An $8 Trader Joe’s red mashup? 

Also a red blend. 


A red blend is any wine that combines

two or more different types of red wine grapes. 

The red blend spectrum is beyond vast. 

Thus when you hear the reference, “it’s a red blend”,

it’s a prompt to do a little digging.   

It’s worth asking, “Exactly what type of red blend is it?”

Basic RGB

Every Thursday, we check out a good wine buy

that is easy to find, either at the store or online. 

We call it Wine Thursday! 

This week’s featured wine has those

bold in-your-face flavors so typical

of red blends from California.




Based in Napa, the Prisoner Wine Company has dual claims to fame: 

their labels are always unique, sometimes provocative,

and their wine is distinct…

“unrestricted by tradition” as the folks at Prisoner say. 


The 2019 Unshackled red blend definitely fits the Prisoner profile. 

A blend of Zinfandel, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Tannat and Tempranillo, 

it jumps out of the gate with a significant alcohol presence (14.5%)

and strong dark-fruit flavors.   


We tried this twice over a span of 24 hours. 

Initially, it tasted sweet, almost syrupy. 

We re-corked it, let it reside in the fridge overnight,

then tried it again. 

IMHO, it was much improved. 

The sweetness had subsided.

The big, bold flavors had mellowed out. 

Thus, if you like your red blends on the sweet side,

drink immediately. 

If you prefer some subtlety, give Unshackled some time

and revisit it later. 

Either way, this is an interesting take on the red blend category.     


We found Unshackled at Fred Meyer for $19.99. 

Total Wine has it for $24.99.   It’s at Ralph’s for $25.70.

The price at QFC and Safeway is $25.99. 

You can order it from Vivino for $20.89


PJ Wines has Unshackled for $21.97  


Buy Wines Online has it for $23.99