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September's always a tricky month for wine (well, not really, but theoretically!); with the kids back in school and the start of football, our minds tend to wander to Fall and cooler weather, heartier meals and bigger, redder wines. September, however, can offer some impishly hot, pernicious weather to hamper that Fall feeling and throw chaos into your cellar choices! It actually can be one of the best months to vacation as the summer sun still stands tall and the beaches aren't as crowded, the barbecue isn't ready for winter and neither, perhaps, are you, dear reader! So our goal was to find a lively red wine that wouldn't be a tannic monster, one loaded with fruit yet with some body to pair up with the last weekend get-togethers of summer. Sometimes, like the recent sun-and-moon show in August, the heavens align and it all just works. Our private store label, Rock Garden, arrived in time and with the right stuff to fit our Wine of the Month slot.

This is a great warm-weather red yet will transition well to cooling climes. The nose is loaded with bright red fruits, lots of raspberry and cherry, with a touch of sandalwood and dark spice. The sweet red fruits carry over to the palate with the same red berries above, adding a touch of white pepper and black tea that ride over a wave of easy tannins. Last round of grilled burgers? This is the wine. It has enough stuffing for lighter grilled fare but isn't heavy and too tannic-- warm weather red? You bet!

There is 15% Mourvedre in this Syrah with fruit coming from these vineyards: Hinrichs (Ballard Canyon), Stockdale (Paso Robles) and Santa Barbara Highlands. The wine was aged in once-used and neutral French barrels for 22 months. Pick up a few bottles (or cases!) and relax under the September sun with this soft, delicious, balanced wine...
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