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j lohrGuaranteed, you won’t hate this wine. It’s hard to hate something so precisely manufactured, perfectly coiffed, with no rough edges, and brimming with the typical flavors of commercial wine.

Black cherry, pepper, and a background layer of vanilla-inflected oak supply the aromatics with a bit of dust to remind you grapes come from the earth.

On the palate it’s quite lush, round and full showing berry and milk chocolate upfront and a blend of cinnamon and pronounced white pepper on the medium length finish. Speaking of the finish, this is where many less expensive wines fail. Not so here. The wine is quite linear until the finish reveals a nice, acid-driven crescendo with some elegance and finesse over soft tannins.

Surely a crowd pleaser, stylish and agreeable but emotionally flat until the lyrical finish. Pair with Hall and Oates’ I Can’t Go for That for an evening of anodyne cheerfulness.

Winery and Technical Notes: J. Lohr is a large producer making over 1.5 cases annually yet is still family owned and operated since 1972 and has long been noted for their sustainability practices. This wine is aged in American and French oak barrels, 20% new.

Score: 88

Price: $15 (Purchase here)

score: 88

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