Wine of the Week

2012 Stolpman Vineyards 'La Cuadrilla' red wine

Region: Santa Ynez Valley

Price: About $20

Style: Bright and easygoing

What it goes with: Burgers, grilled meats, BLT, cheese

For the last few years, Stolpman Vineyards in the new Ballard Canyon American Viticultural Area in Santa Barbara County has produced a wine called La Cuadrilla for "crew." Its crew works full time under the direction of winemaker Sashi Moorman and vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano. Each year, the crew works an experimental cuadra or block, which rotates throughout the ranch. The grapes from that cuadra are used to make La Cuadrilla, so the blend is slightly different each year.

The 2012 is one of the best yet - 60 percent Syrah, 20 percent Sangiovese, 15 percent Grenache and 5 percent Petite Sirah. A deep garnet in color, this Rhone-style wine tastes of juicy dark berries and sun-baked herbs. It has a beautiful balance, even an elegance that belies its $20 price tag.

Also notable: The profits from La Cuadrilla go to the vineyard crew. Join La Cuadrilla Wine Club and get 20 percent off two shipments per year of six bottles each (both the red and white La Cuadrilla). A terrific everyday wine or dinner party wine, ready for barbecued meats, burgers, roast leg of lamb. Or it can be enjoyed with cheese or a hearty vegetable casserole.

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