Lee Family Farm, 2009 Rio Tinto Silvaspoons Vineyard Alta Mesa Lodi, $16
Dan Lee (think Morgan Winery in the Santa Lucia Highlands) makes this approachable, elegantly rustic wine off Portuguese varieties starting with Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) grown on a rocky plateau in an area of Lodi similar to the terroir of Portugal. It’s all about dark berries, pepper, cranberry and dried herbs. It has nice body, good acidity for structure and tannins with a little grip. It’s aged in 100 percent French oak. It’s a nice change of pace for serving with blackened meats or thin-crusted pizzas. And with the stamp of Dan Lee, you can’t go wrong.