2022 Wonderwerk “Marinara!”, Red Table Wine, California (Alcohol 12.2%) Drink Better website $169 (As part of the four bottle Wonderwerk mixed case of 4 x 750ml bottles*)

Recently, at a quiet family dinner, I caught my mother-in-law eyeing the label of this wine with some suspicion; we occasionally share a glass of red together. “Is it any good?” she asked inquisitively.

When I told her exactly how much I had enjoyed my last bottle of Wonderwerk’s “Marinara!” she examined the bottle a little more closely, raising an eyebrow as she did so.

“It doesn’t LOOK very good.”

This set me off on an explanation of how much I just adored this wine’s label and that it was actually SUPPOSED to echo the inexpensive red house wine one would find in a typical North American “Red Sauce” restaurant, down to the red and white checkered tablecloth and traditional paper guest check woven into the design. Her eyebrow arched even higher, so I poured her a small glass…



I’ve consumed this ever-evolving cépage over two vintages now, and I’ll go as far as saying it’s one of the most fun wines I have tasted in some time.

While the descriptors fresh, vivacious, bright, and vibrant aren’t usually ones I would apply to a Californian Montepulciano, Teroldego, Zinfandel, and Grenache blend, Wonderwerk manages to craft a wine that’s thrillingly fresh, vivacious, bright, and vibrant with considerable aplomb. Oh, and I should mention that the 2022 is only 12.2% alcohol and “natural”. So somehow it manages to be both fun and serious simultaneously, which I feel is something to be applauded.

The sourcing of fruit is key here:

41% Montepulciano (Marsh Creek Vineyard, Contra Costa County AVA / Brentwood, CA) – sustainable
29% Teroldego (Heringer Estates Vineyard, Clarksburg AVA / Clarksburg, CA) – practicing organic, Lodi Rules certified
22% Zinfandel (Toca Madera Vineyard, Madera AVA / Madera, CA) – practicing organic
10% Grenache (Loma del Rio Vineyard, Monterey County AVA / Kingsburg, CA) – practicing regenerative, sustainable

Both aromatically and on the palate, there’s a lovely, plump, ripe, red/black fruit fleshiness from the Montepulciano, darker berry elements from the Teroldego, spicy brambles from the Zin, and crunchy red fruit from the Grenache. The palate is wonderfully lively, with a gorgeous zing of acidity, and a softer, supple tannic backbone, making it the perfect foil for anything in a red tomato-based sauce.

As to the story of this wine and my mother-in-law, despite her original trepidations, she asked for a second glass, but she had missed her window of opportunity as I had polished off the bottle all by myself!

I could drink a lot of this stuff.

(Four out of a possible five apples)

*Mixed case includes 2x 2022 Marinara, 1x 2022 Free Your Mind, 1x 2021 Free Your Body



Wonderwerk’s wines are available in Ontario through Drink Better.

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