Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
It’s easy, with wine, to drown in the details. Most of us want to know what grape a wine is made from - Cabernet Sauvignon, say - and where it’s from. Knowing the vintage doesn’t hurt either. And before buying a wine, people usually would just as soon have some idea of whether it’s any good.
But beyond that, there’s a hyperabundance of information that is fascinating to the few (wine writers, for example) and mind-numbing for almost everyone else. Trying saying “You know, it's kind of amazing, but the grapes for this Central Coast Syrah were grown on a combination of decomposed granite and sandy loam soils!” to someone you're on a first date with. You’ll definitely be watching TV later, alone.
But how much do you really need to know? Here are a few good reds that simply leave out some of the information we usually expect, skipping the vintage, shrugging at origin, blowing off what grapes are inside. It’s a rather devil-may-care approach, but that’s kind of refreshing when it comes to wine.
Alexandre Sirech Les Deux Terroirs Red ($14)
Sherman & Hooker’s Shebang Red! Cuvee IV ($15)
2010 Bonny Doon Contra ($16)
2009 Frenchie Napoleon ($30)
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