Red Wine by Brander from Central Coast, California. This versatile wine – as always, a tremendous value – exemplifies Santa Barbara County Syrah. The color of dried dark red rose petals, this wine opens with notes of vanilla bean, campfire smoke, cardamom, and the barest hint of iodine on the nose. Fruit of great purity appears on the palate, which offers violets, black cherry, clove, wild blueberries, and an almost subliminal sense of what the French refer to as sauvage – that combination of wild and earthy gaminess that is such a hallmark of classic Syrah. Pair this with grilled, paprika-dusted eggplant with homemade ricotta, Santa Maria-style tri-tip barbecue, or a plate of dry-cured olives with fresh burrata and a chunk of deliciously crusty bread.