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Five red wines to relieve your tax time blues

Do you have W2s, 1099s and receipts on the brain? Tax season is relentless and requires a respite from calculators altogether. Time to uncork a tax crunch red and call it a day. Here are five wines that are $20 and under, smart buys for the taxed.

Trentadue, 2014 Alexander Valley Estate Zinfandel, 14.8%, $18. A tasty, full-bodied zin with a nice dollop of petite sirah. Aromas and flavors of cherry, plum, vanilla and a hint of brown sugar. Crisp acidity. Smoky finish. It has an interesting breakdown - 76% zin; 14% petite sirah; 5% syrah; 5% carignane.

Pedroncelli, 2014 Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County Zinfandel, 14.9%, $18. Enticing aromas, with a great concentration of fruit on the palate. Aromas and flavors of black plum, blackberry, chocolate and cracked black pepper. Spicy finish.

Cline, 2015 Ancient Vines Zinfandel, 15% $20. A softer take on zin. Aromas and flavors of strawberry and mocha. Ripe fruit. Seamless texture. It’s not a powerhouse by any stretch, but it’s a very tasty version of zin.

Alamos, 2015 Mendoza, Argentina Malbec, 13.5%, $10. A Malbec with nice backbone, yet manages to be fleshy. Aromas of anise and cherry follow through on the palate. Nice length. What makes it a standout is its generous fruit, its great acid and price for the quality.

Arrowood, 2014 Sonoma Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5%, $15. A soft cab with a seamless texture. Has some nice fruit - black cherry and plum - coupled with herbs and spice. Nice length.

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

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