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shannon ridge wrangler redAll wine, if it isn’t flawed, smells like grapes. I want a wine, even a budget wine, to give me something more. This wine has a nice undertone of wet leaves (think chilly, late autumn days after a rain) supporting the berry aromas, with some dense herbal notes topped off by a seam of vanilla and wood notes. Despite the modest alcohol percentage, the nose gives you a strong whiff of it. Medium plus weight on the palate with a hint of sweetness up front but enough acidity to keep the flab off and a smooth, drying finish with the tannic grip to remind you its not grape juice.

Excellent value for the money, an easy to drink, sincere wine, nicely balanced, not overworked or puffed up.   It’s a blend of 45% Zinfandel, 40% Syrah, 8% Petite Syrah, and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 14 months in a mix of French and American oak barrels.

Lake County is a lesser known wine region about 40 miles north of Napa. A lot of juice sold in Napa comes from Lake County. Shannon Ridge Vineyards is located in the foothills overlooking Clear Lake over 2000 ft. up.

Score: 86

Price: $11

Alcohol: 13.9%

Some straightforward, no frills, roots rock for this wine. James McMurtry’s “How’m I Gonna Find You Now”