From his perch at Bonny Doon Vineyard in the Santa Cruz mountains, the indefatigable Randall Grahm turns out a huge variety of wines. I was an early fan of his Le Cigare Volant (the flying cigar), a tribute to the southern Rhone's Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and his rosé Vin Gris de Cigare. An irrepressible punster, Grahm makes another Rhone-style wine called Clos de Gilroy, which "pays homage to the quaint, rustic town of Gilroy, the spiritual locus of all matters alliaceous." Which is not to say that this Grenache blend reeks of garlic. The grapes don't even come from Gilroy.
However, this bright, lively red with hints of pepper and fragrant wild herbs is a great match for that grand summertime spread of vegetables and garlicky mayonnaise called, in Provence, le grand aioli.
At less than $20, it's a good buy too. I was struck by a note on his website: "Unlike the vast majority of our wines, this vintage of Clos de Gilroy is not vegan, as during the winemaking process we fined some lots using egg white."
Region: Central Coast
Price: About $18
Style: Medium-bodied, lively
What it goes with: Aioli, grilled chicken, fish and vegetables.