Looking for something nice to drink while cooking, I grabbed this bottle out of the cellar, and it delivered. It was men’s night to cook at church, and we find that we’re much more inspired if we sip a little bit of wine and listen to music like Ray Charles while preparing dinner. This little gem seemed to please everyone. And the meatloaf, mashed potatoes, fruit salad, green beans and rolls seemed to please the crowd. This is a bold, balanced wine that doesn’t require a lot of fussing over. We drank it from plastic cups that we could get to between mashing potatoes and mixing the meat loaf. It has layers of fruit, good structure, but not overpowering tannins. It went well with the cheddar and pepperjack cheeses and the delicious sausage Keith brought for the crew. It was even better with the meatloaf. The complexity probably comes from all the wines that go into this blend: Petite Sirah, 42%; Cabernet Sauvignon, 33%; Merlot, 8%; Syrah, 8%; Zinfandel, 6%; Petite Verdot, 3%. Whew! I’m glad the winemakers can keep track of all that. I like the winemaker’s motto: Wine is a beverage, not a sacrament. It, like life, should never be taken too seriously. Amen.

From: Mostly California’s North Coast, but grapes came from 10 different areas around the state.

Winery: Snafu, represented by Local Wine Company

Bought it at: Can’t remember

Price: $20

Size: 750 ml

Year: 2006

Stopper: real cork

Recommendation: Buy it and drink it at informal occasions.

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