Robert Hall Rhone de RoblesI practically gushed about this wine during my recent chat with Robert Hall winemaker Don Brady, the native Texas turned top California winemaker. This is the kind of California wine that undoes so much of the damage caused by the rest of California’s wines.

How much so? The night after I drank this, I drank a similar sort of red blend made by a popular Napa producer that cost a couple of bucks more. There was no comparison, and I was quite shocked that the Rhone du Robles ($15, sample) came off of so much better. But why not? It isn’t too fruity, too oaky, or too alcoholic.

Look for some red fruit, which Brady makes a special effort to keep to sensible levels, as well as a structure that shows something besides fruit, including some very pleasant tannins. This is a terrific food wine; think Thanksgiving, modern French bistro or even something as old-fashioned as steak frites. Highly recommended, though not, unfortunately, always easy to find.