An esoteric grape from a prolific producer, alicante bouchet is a throwback to Prohibition days when people clandestinely crafted wine in their bathtubs. One of the only grapes that yields actual red juice, the wine can be rich and lush when made right. This one, made from 85-year-old vines in California, is light-hearted but has a serious side: Blackberry, black cherry, cinnamon and vanilla with a slap of tannic leather on the finish. 4 stars out of 5. Sweetness=2 out of 10 (dry to sweet). $16
Taylor is a self-proclaimed Southern foodie, turned Californian food, wine, and gardening hipster.