This gorgeous wine is composed of 80% Syrah and 20% Petit Verdot . . . and it’s 100% delish. The 2019 is so new to the market, few reviews are available.

But first, the name and the label: As explained by the winemaker, “Maria Solorzano, this wine’s namesake, appears shy around visitors and she is always quick to smile. For anyone that sees her in action, it is clear that she leads by the example of her hard work. Most comfortable in her routine of perpetual motion out on the vineyard – Maria runs perhaps the hardest working, most passionate vineyard crew in the world. On a daily basis, she teaches La Cuadrilla new techniques to execute a constant barrage of experiments – often adapting on the fly – figuring out practical ways of farming ridiculously high-density vineyards by hand or training canopies for ideal shading and wind-flow.” As for the label art, “The nickname for villagers from Santa Cruz, Jalisco, Maria’s hometown, is 'Tecolote' – or night owl. The name stems from the popular late-night parties thrown in the town. Maria and La Cuadrilla also turn nocturnal for three months out of the year to harvest in the cold night air for maximum freshness. A resident female Great Horned Owl is the most prolific rodent control beast on the vineyard.”

The 2019 is about identical to the 2018, and here’s what some tough reviewers had to say:

92 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): "The 2018 Para Maria de los Tecolotes is another gorgeous wine in this range from Stolpman. Syrah and Petit Verdot work together beautifully here. Hints of lavender, licorice and spice meld into a core of inky dark fruit in a mid-weight, fruity red that offers tons of near and medium-term appeal. The 2018 is simply irresistible. Drink: 2020-2028."

92 points and 'Editors' Choice,' Wine Enthusiast: "It's hard to find a better wine for the price than this blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Petit Verdot. Blistered black-plum, charcoal and fresh boysenberry aromas kick off the nose, while the palate blends black pepper, boysenberry and smoke. It is a versatile table wine, as apt for tacos and barbecue as it is for prime rib and roast lamb."

90 points Erin Brooks (Wine Advocate): "The 2018 Para Maria de las Tecolotes, a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Petit Verdot, features bright scents of blackberries and blackcurrants with notes of tar, earth and loads of floral perfume. The medium to full-bodied palate is concentrated and wonderfully fresh, with a grainy frame and long finish. Drink: 2020-2025."

And as for the vintner, “2018 Para Maria first seduces with wafting blueberry compote straight out of the bottle. Buffering the blueness lies a deeper chocolate malt below and then a fiery, spicy red energy above. The wine strikes an impressive breadth of tactile sensation from the rich and robust to a freshly cut edge - to me this is the whole point of combining elements into a red blend and when well executed like the 2018, the different elements launch the wine into the category of authentically fine wine."

Finding the wine is not easy. I got mine for a real deal: $15. Today, it’s usually in the $18-$19 range, a bit – tiny bit – more than the wines we usually feature, but super-cheap for what it is. Which is GREAT!

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