by | Apr 27, 2021 | Red, Wine Reviews | 0 comments


Witness the wine from Murcia, Spain aged in Van Winkle’s used bourbon barrels that bears the name Southern Belle. You may be wondering more where in Spain is  Murcia located and how bourbon barrels from the Southern US met oceans away.  Well, Southern Belle brought to you by importer Grape Expectations will explain that all for you. Unfortunately, Murcia is one of the lesser recognized regions in Spain and is tucked neatly in the southeast corner of the country. On the fortunate side, the DO of Murcia approaching the age of forty, it is fighting its way to becoming one of the top name brand areas for wine recognition. Familiar provinces such as Andalucia, Castilla-La-Mancha, Valencia are all well-adapted wine regions that neighbor Murcia and appear on many bulk Spanish wine labels However, Grape Expectations is a believer of Murcia and the producers that crafted Southern Belle.

Now witness how Southern Belle wine came full circle from timeless friendships among Dan Phillips, Marquis Phillips, and the icon of Icons Julian Pappy Van Winkle!  Yes, the Pappys that commands a price per 1oz shot $25 for a 15 yr old and $50 for a 20 yr… OUCH!  Formerly named Grateful Palate, the collaboration renamed their distribution company Grape Expectations. I feel it’s more descriptive of their mission than the former, which gave me the image of a catering company. These wine producers with international distributorship, based in Los Angeles. They stretch across oceans representing countries such as Southern  France, Spain, and come full circle to our backyard in the state of  Oregon with an objective for smartly crafted wines. Their bottles primarily consist of old vine Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Malvasia and one of my all-time favorite styles ….bubbly!  Winemaking is directed by Oriol Illa. Owner and founder Dan Philip, Marquis-Phillips, and Julian Van Winkle create synergy with Southern Belle  a delight for bourbon and wine lovers alike

 However most important is the side this special region is christened by that Identifies the character of the wines expressed, and that is the Mediterranean Sea coastline. Still, it’s overshadowed by three famously known sub DO appellations it houses, which are namely Bullas, Jumilla, and Yecla. How’s that for gratification!

The reason is that Murcia’s most distinguished children in terms of production and easy palates, corner the market. It’s equal to saying your child became more popular than you. What speaks volumes in terms of wines with wisdom and depth, is what Big Daddy Murcia brings to you such as this wine, Southern Belle. 

There’s so much info on the label, you get the sense they want to say it all, but just can’t. I was attracted to it like seeing a falling star when I was about to cash out with a basket full of wines at one of my favorite local wine shops, Wine Exchange. It was as if the star fell on my shoulder and I was stricken by its bewitching label. The silhouette of a faceless woman in a gown haunts you against a stark backdrop and Southern Belle is seen floating out of the bottle glowing like a black light.

Get allured with a medium abyss opaque purple color, crawling up to a dark blood rim. Primary l aromas are led by blackberry and blueberry with tones of red fruits that segway into perfumed tastes of vanilla bean and butternut crunch bar left out in the sun… Not a bad thing in my opinion. It’s definitely a blanket of ripe fruit, present and yet with a classy mouthfeel. You can really experience the rich, voluptuous body, depth of balance that grips you on the tongue and finishes with poise. What I mean is that it’s a wine that attacks you at first, but then steps back a little to make it approachable for the rest of the night. Soft, silky, melodramatic, and purely sexy. 

I’m just going to decipher some code words that are most informative to you since there is a lot on the label that can leave you scratching your head whether to take it home or not.    


 Vino de la Tierra (VT) ( on the label)l translates to ”’wine of the land’, and centers on the source of the wine, instead of its distinction or style. This is a very adaptable category where VT wines may be varietals or blends made from a generous territory of grapes. VT enforces limited laws, like security patrol at your apartment complex versus the police. In this sense, it might be viewed as equivalent to France’s Vin De Pays or Italy’s IGT. For this wine, it simply represents in Spain a higher quality than table wine and does cover not only still wine but sparkling wine, and fortified wine too.

It really isn’t as bad as it reads because, for the big bosses of wine, France Italy, and Spain, the law allows these guys to label their wines in this category with the freedom to experiment. For me, that stands for “Something Special” I believe laws are meant to be broken to a certain extent, and in reference to wine, 100%! Yes, many times they are crappy wines, but oftentimes they can be made from renegade producers crafting FANTASTIC juice! The cherry on top is these wines add up to a secret find without putting a single dent in your bank account. My advice, DO YOUR RESEARCH! Hail to SOUTHERN BELLE!

Grape Expectations are in a pursuit to genuinely champion a voice expressively fierce producers If you see Grape Expectations on the wine label you are purchasing….look no further…..are you searching for zealous distribution companies??????


Ciao! Hope you enjoyed my article, please comment below Love your feedback.
Thank you and remember Taste Small Live Big!
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