2014 Taken "Complicated" Red Central Coast


For most of us, an enthusiasm for fine wine hits in our thirties, while the notion of starting a winery may signal the onset of a mid-life crisis. But for Josh Phelps and Carlo Trinchero, the entrepreneurs behind the Taken Wine Company, founding a Napa winery soon after graduating from college seemed like the right thing to do. They say wine is in their DNA after growing up in St. Helena in winemaking families. Indeed, where they stand out from the norm may be in their confidence at reaching fellow millennials, who appear to prefer pale ale over Sauvignon Blanc. Josh and Carlo released their first vintage of Taken Red Wine, a blend of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, in 2010. But they have quickly grown from just 100 cases sold to friends to 12,000 in 2014 that are available in every US state - as well as here in Japan. While the Taken Red Wine Cabernet/Merlot continues to be their flagship product, they also produce “Complicated,” a Grenache/Syrah blend sourced from the Central Coast, as well as “Available,” a Sauvignon Blanc/Muscat designated as “California” but mainly from Mendocino County. The whimsical names derive partly from experience and partly from their goal to make wines that are fun and meant to be shared with friends. The story goes that while brainstorming for a name for the company, they found that all the good ones were “taken.” As for “Complicated” and “Available,” frequent users of social media (i.e. the younger, target demographic) should understand such “status updates.” Kidding aside, these wines are crafted for delicious drinking upon release. The affordable prices mean they are yours for the “taking!”


In Spain and Southern France, vintners have long understood the affinity between Grenache and Syrah. Grenache brings bright strawberry and raspberry flavors – but potentially more alcohol and less acidity for a well-balanced wine. Syrah darkens the color and adds tannic structure and notes of blueberry and spice. Taken’s 2014 “Complicated” was sourced from vineyards in California’s “Rhone Zone” – the Central Coast AVA. The blend of 64% Grenache, 34% Syrah and 2% Carignane was aged in French oak. It’s a juicy, opulent wine with an excellent balance of bright fruit, acidity and tannin. This red blend offers great value and is ready to drink – especially with whatever comes off the grill. 


Aged in French oak barrels.

Tasting notes

Bright aromas of raspberry, strawberry and red cherries are balanced with darker notes of tea and chocolate. The palate is opulent but balanced with juicy ripe raspberry and cherry, and notes of cassis, cocoa and vanilla that linger into the finish.


Central Coast


64% Grenache, 34% Syrah, 2% Carignane