2009 The Dreaming Tree Crush Red Blend

Jesse submits this missive from the midwest…

WHO: The Dreaming Tree
WHAT: 67% Merlot, 33% Zinfandel
WHEN: 2009
WHERE: Geyserville, CA
HOW: First, the dreams of fraternity brothers are harvested by hand. They are cold soaked in Miller Lite for two days & then fermented in oak from the rocking chairs of Cracker Barrel for five years. It is the fifth year that gives the wine its maturity.

WHY: Fueled by a resentment for having to listen to Dave Matthews Band seemingly every day of my formative years, I pulled The Dreaming Tree’s “Crush,” off the shelves of my local big name grocer. The Dreaming Tree wines are sold as a collaboration between Simi winemaker Steve Reeder & musician Dave Matthews. I was absolutely shocked that the marketing-powers-that-be chose “Crush” as the red blend’s name, instead of the obvious Dave Mathews Band tie-in “Crash.” (Ed. Note: Further research has shown that ‘The Dreaming Tree’ and ‘Crush’ are also the names of Dave Matthews Band songs, from 1998.) Why, in sheer Googlitude alone, ‘crash wine’ would be a much easier page ranking to top than ‘crush wine’ in a sea of custom crush pads, harvest blogs, etc.

The front label is innocuous in a tea-stained parchment style with a line drawn tree. I turned the bottle around half-expecting to read Modesto, CA, city of Gallo fame, but instead found Geyserville, CA. A brief investigation proved it to be a product of Constellation Wines. There are also, what are supposed to be a couple of authenticity inspiring blurbs from the star & winemaker, however, they served to prove nothing except that Dave Mathews was authentically stoned.

The passage is included for your reading pleasure below:

Two Hot Dogs in a Pick-up
A hot day
Two dogs
Chase a stick
Thrown into a pond
Again and again
The older, slower dog
Never gets the stick
And moans at the effort
But always goes in
“Maybe this time”
-Dave Matthews

Charming. When I uncorked the bottle, I found that the opening volley doesn’t have the sweetness or the full mouthfeel that one expects from a grocery store brand. In fact, it was surprisingly sour to start, instead of fruit forward, hinting only at unripe mulberries & pomegranate. The fruit hits about mid-palate, with strong blueberry flavors. The finish continues to be sour with gritty tannins. You would think that a wine geared towards the backwards baseball cap wearers of the 90s with this flavor profile would pair well with grilled meats or other alma mater tailgating fare. However, this wine blew it when paired with bacon. Bacon.

This wine appears to be non-vintage without the blend components printed on the label. However, the information is available on the Internet from various wine shops carrying the bottle. Chances are, they’ve left it open to reblend later to accommodate different harvest’s fruit and create a consistent product. This is not to say that additives might not contribute to that consistency as well. Snark aside, the wine is drinkable, but the price point near $15 will last until the novelty wears off.

One further note, this wine appears to be a branded product that takes advantage of a particular person’s fame in the way that Ed Hardy & Banana Republic wine or 50 Cent’s Vitamin Water flavor, “Formula 50,” do. Personally, I don’t see any reason to draw conclusions from the tasting of this wine to Steve Reeder’s work at Simi Winery, or Dave Matthew’s Blenheim Vineyards in Virginia, since neither originated in a think tank.


17 responses

  • so what you are really saying, is you should have trusted your judgement in the first place. anything with the dave matthew's name on it, can't possibly be good!

  • Just had a bottle and it was excellent. The nose, front and middle of the wine were really nice and full. My only critique is that the finish was short and gone too quickly. But, at this price point, what do you expect?

    By the way, the blend is 2/3 Merlot and 1/3 Zin.

  • haven't tried the dreaming tree yet….but Dave's Blenheim vineyards Cab Franc is pretty good actually and BTW , there are TONS of us out there who truly LIKE Dave Matthews….

  • So I have drank the Cabernet and the Crush..I do not get the sour note the previous reader has pointed out. I feel both are great table wines for the price.

  • Denise, Florida on

    The CRUSH RED tastes a bit of cocoa and oak barrell, there is a small hint of earth; the red fruit is refreshing, smooth, and sweet. I tasted this at a wine tasing in West Melbourne, Florida. The vender dropped the Dave Matthew name as an after throught; she spoke of the elements of the wine and the secrecy of the recipe. I was smitten. I am going back to buy more or buy on line. Ye Ha, who cares if Dave Matthews crushed the grapes with his own feet or a hand full of people! Wine is an art and is personal. I am on board and becoming a very fast customer! Bottums up baby!

  • I've had all three of the Dreaming Tree Wines as well as the Painted Red wine from Dave's winery in Virginia. I have to say I prefer the wine from Blenheim Vineyards in Virgina but both were great for the price. Do I believe some people will purchase the wine just because of Dave Matthews? Yes I do, even if the name of the wine wasn't related to Dave or his music in anyway I believe there would still be fans that would find out about it and would buy it just because it's his. But as a fan of wine I enjoyed it and would purchase it again.

  • Crush is an excellent mid-price wine. I found it delightful, even before hearing of the Dave Mathews connection. Far more interesting than many others of the same price category.

  • I love this wine – I have chosen this as my new "take to dinner" wine and also as my own personal choice for the at-home table wine. I've had one bottle be a little tad bitter than the other but we should all remember that this can often happen. I am a Dave fan from start to end and knew this product would be as good as his passion for music and the world is.

  • I loved the dreaming tree – chardonnay – Had no idea who the growers were – I was very very satisfied – will buy it again and give as gifts

  • great wine- loved the white- did not know Dave Matthews was affiliated with it at all- but that is an extra little bit of cool info……….

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  • I love Dave and I love wine, and so I thought the two paired together would be perfect. Not so. I found this wine to be bitter and very lacking in full flavor. Will not purchase again, but will continue to love wine and DMB forever.


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