© Cedric Angeles
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. Try 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.
Fess Parker Frontier Red Lot #122 ($14) It’s red, and if you turn the bottle around you’ll find that it’s a kitchen sink of varieties—Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Carignane—but winemaker Blair Fox isn’t telling what vintages went into the 122nd edition of this brambly, berry-rich Central Coast blend.