It's been a bonanza of reasonably priced wines lately. Is it surprising that none are domestic? Perhaps not. Spain, Italy, and France are all well represented in this all red mix. Values abound, ranging from a Trader Joe's Spanish red to a still-young (but 5 year old) Rioja Reserva - all of which deserve your attention as we head into cooler weather. Enjoy!
2009 Cune Rioja Reserva $28 (Sample)
It took three days open for this wine to relax and shed its strong raw oak sheen, which is a tell of its longevity. How wines like this - at once so young and yet already five years old - come on to the market at accessible prices is a gift to consumers. Once this tightly wound beast had enough time to breathe, well, it delivered layers of medium-weight, full-throttle goodness in gently lapping waves. The fruit, previously disguised by tension, emerges in lackadaisical ease across the tongue. Ah, there are some benefits to growing older - and up.
2012 Tikal Malbec/Bonarda Mendoza 'Patriota' $20 Still as dependable a steak wine as ever, but now with an overt and proud herbal/vegetal streak. Happy to see that its price hasn't crept up the way most popular wines' have.
2012 Collazzi Toscana IGT 'Liberta' $20 (Sample)
Soft, accessible, and with round, pleasant flavors. And easy wine to drink without being challenged by intellectual or academic demands.
2010 Monte Ducay Cariñena Riserva $9
Well. This is a stumper. A sub-ten dollar wine from Trader Joe's that tastes exactly as it should - except that it doesn't taste like it's an $8-9 wine. Classic gentle Spanish spice on soft, friendly fruit and a (thankfully) subdued oak frame. Nothing mind blowing, but very pleasant indeed. Which maybe is mind blowing all by itself.
2012 Chateau D'Aigueville Cotes du Rhone Villages $10
An absolute pleasure to drink. It's a true CDR and it's got a purity of fruit that anyone can appreciate. But it's its oozing authenticity that keeps you coming back for more - and smiling.