When the uber-knowledgeable salesman at one of my go-to wine stores suggested that I try this wine, he was a little tentative at first. “It’s called ‘The Whole Shebang!’” he said, almost apologizing for the silly-sounding name before explaining to me what it was.
It’s an unusual, fruit-forward California red blend made by Morgan Twain-Peterson, a Napa-based winemaker and son of Joel Peterson, the renowned and revered winemaker who, for many decades, produced some of California’s top Zinfandels under his Ravenswood label.
And so, I bought a bottle.
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While I’ve always tried to guard myself against hyperbole, I have no hesitation telling you that this is one of the best California red blends you’ll find at around $15 or so.
The Whole Shebang! is made by Twain-Peterson’s Bedrock Wine Co. and is “intended to offer authentic Californian deliciousness at a reasonable tariff,” as the Shebang website describes it. (The company also makes a range of small-production wines from some of California’s leading old vineyards.)
The grapes for The Whole Shebang! — including Zinfandel, Carignan, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Mataro (Mourvèdre), and others sourced from around California — are mostly fermented with indigenous yeasts. Aging is in neutral oak barrels and stainless-steel tanks — “in other words,” as Twain-Peterson puts it, “with minimal winemaking chicanery.”
And that is rare for California blends at this price. It’s also notable that this is a “multi-vintage” wine. You won’t see any year on it, only the “Fourteenth Cuvée” designation, meaning that it’s the 14th edition of The Whole Shebang!
At 14.2 percent ABV, it’s not a light wine, but the generous, spicy red and blue fruit tastes are balanced beautifully by lively acidity and an elegant tannic structure that make it seem more expensive than it is. In a world of generic $15 red wines, this one is anything but.
You’ll enjoy it with all kinds of foods — from just about anything on the grill to pizza, spicy chicken or beef tacos, lamb kebabs, and beyond. As far as distinctive and affordable wines for everyday drinking, it doesn’t get much better than The Whole Shebang!