What goes with shrimp sauteed in garlic atop risotto and sitting on the patio enjoying one of the few real spring days Texas will toss you? Lots of things, but I'm fond of this Sierra Foothills Red Wine Blend from Skinner Vineyards, another Club W exclusive.  (I know I mention Club W a lot and I promise a post about the club and its merits is on the to-do list.)

I selected this particular wine for our monthly shipment after falling prey to email marketing. Club W sent out a note introducing the Skinner Family and telling their story, well, fairy tale. While driving home from Lake Tahoe they noticed their name on a map and discovered there was a winery in the area once owned by their great-great-great-great-grandfather. They did some more research, bought some land and starting making wine. It's kind of the quintessential wine fantasy. In my fantasy, I discover family wine-making land in the South of France. This is most certainly a fantasy, as none of my ancestors are French. We are Swiss, German, Irish and Native American. There could be something there...

Apart from the charming context, I love Rhone blends. This one combined 9-10 grapes, according to Club W synopsis, and it really came through in the layered, complex flavor of this wine. The winemaker himself lists syrah, petite sirah, mourvedre, roussanne, grenache and viognier. Some of my favorite things!

We opened this up on a Friday night and let it breathe for about 20 minutes (I set a timer) and then sipped on it while preparing and enjoying dinner -- sauteed shrimp and risotto. I am sometimes hesitant to pair reds with light seafood dishes, but this went really well. Like a well-rounded high school student with many interests and outlets and no time for cliques and childishness, this wine has so much going on, is so interesting and worldly, that it can be friends with any food. Very versatile indeed. 

On the nose is cola, licorice and lots of berry. On the palate it is smooth and at first, very fruity, but after it opens a bit more the spice really shows up. It has a long finish for sure.