Want to join the Wine Century Club? The Erik's the Red is a great place to start.
This red blend, from the wonderfully eclectic and goofy Toad Hollow Vineyards, is made with 18 grapes. Yes, 18. Which means drinking a glass will put you almost one-fifth of the way toward your Century Club membership. For the record, this version is mostly petite sirah and syrah, but includes refosco, counoise, rubired and 13 grapes you've probably heard of.
The other reason to drink Erik's the Red ($14, purchased)? It's a well-made wine with dark fruit that pairs with anything remotely related to the Fourth of July, summer barbecues, beef on the grill, and the like. It's probably a little bigger than what I'd normally drink this time of year, given that it's 14 1/2 percent alcohol, but I tend to give Toad Hollow the benefit of the doubt.
The wine is named for Toad Hollow's Erik Thorson, who once sent me a delightfully ornery email after I had written something nice about his boss, the late, great Todd Williams. What, you thought it was named for this guy?
Update: As it turns out, today is Erik's birthday. An email just arrived: "Thanks so much for your review of my namesake wine. I thought you might like to know that, coincidentally enough, today is my birthday. I'm celebrating the 36th anniversary of being old enough to legally drink!" Happy birthday, Erik.