One of the secrets to finding good tasting affordable wine is to look at Europe's prize offerings and then look to wines they make that don't fit the famous region's rules. You can buy Cristia's Chateau Neuf du Pape for a special occasion but what about just for dinner tonight?? Then you grab their Grenache for $9!
Don Ramon $10.00
What can we say about this little $10 wine? It's easy drinking but with some fun Old World character. 6 months on oak lends a bit of structure but only enough to keep the bottle from being guzzled in one go. Nice dark cherry, a bit of warm earth, and priced to drink a couple times a day.
De Casta Rose $11.00
Elegant cherry color over a light purple background. Fine floral aroma reminiscent of flowers such as mimosa and iris, complemented by discreet fruity hints (plums, cherries). Its smooth, rich palate and delicate aromas are prolonged in the finish. One of our most versatile wines, which goes especially well with informal food, such as pasta, vegetable dishes, picnics and traditional Spanish tapas. Exceptionally good with recipes that use tomato or tomato sauce, including Italian pasta.
Olivares Rose $11.00
Grown at over 2000 ft in the hot Jumilla region of Spain, these ungrafted vines get densely flavored but still retain some bright acidity. Lovely strawberry, orange peel, raspberrry flavors with a nice clean finish. Great bang for the buck.
ZaZa Rose $11.00
A fruit driven rose with great complexity that will stand up to a variety of foods. Fermentation in oak, followed by lees aging helps bring some depth and body to the style. A bit softer, smoother and richer than the French versions made from the same grape.
Andre Brunel Grenache $11.00
We've found that many of the rock star wine makers in France own property outside of traditional AOC regions. While they can't charge big dollars, they can't help but make good wine. This is a good example, being a IGP Vaucluse with about all Grenache from the southern Rhone. Pretty black raspberry, fennel, and a little smoky tobacco showing on the nose. Soft fruit jumps out on the palate and its very drinkable. Buy two because they are great patio pounders.
Campos Enanzo Garnacha $11.00
A 300 yr old family coop makes this lovely rich rose. Vibrant raspberry red color is the result of extended skin contact, which also adds to its richer than typical mouth feel. Intense cranberry and strawberry with some hints of watermelon. The acid hold the fruit in balance.
Leon Perdigal Cote du Rhone $12.00
With a ruby red robe, this wine features a bouquet of red berries with hints of pepper and garrigue herbs. On the palette, the red fruit flavors carry over with spicy, well integrated tannins on a medium body.
Ripe cherries and strawberries from the Garnacha, riper cherries from the Tempranillo, and black pepper from the Garnacha, the Syrah and the Cabernet, along with Cabís herbal, cedar aromas. Thereís lots of barrel-derived spice and vanilla to create a framework for the wine.
Terum Garnacha $13.00
Grenache/Garnacha from the oldest continuously operating vineyard in Spain! Vines that have survived world wars and revolutions for over 900 years. Clean flavors of warm raspberry, orange peel and rich soil wrapped in a wine that is bright and easy drinking. Pairs nicely with any lighter meats, especially those with strong herbs or roasted.
Mas Sorrer $13.00
Just a lovely little blend from outside Barcelona. Organically grown on just a few acres where the summers are dry and sunny, the winters are cold and the area often feels the effects of "the Cierzo" wind, which contributes to the dryness of the climate. The soils are poor, stony and made up of ochre-coloured limestone.
Chapoutier makes wine in the Rhone valley that can go for over $400 a bottle. But whether it his rock stars or his everyday drinkers, they are made with style and substance. And this one tastes like it should cost a lot more! Great spicy blackberry flavors and tangy spice notes.
Pieza El Coll $15.00
Fun blend from the North of Spain and a great jump in quality this year. The nose shows cranberry, leather, black licorice, and sweet smoke. Flavors of spicy bramble and more cigar and leather on the palate. A fun sturdy wine for BBQ or burgers.
Domaine Lafond Tavel $16.00
This richly colored Rose from Tavel opens with a mild wet stone and gentle strawberry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is light to medium bodied, balanced, and savory. The flavor profile is a mineral infused strawberry and gentle red raspberry blend with a hint of white pepper. The finish is dry and nicely refreshing. I would pair this very nice Rose with grilled salmon this summer.
Wine geeks know of Gigondas and Vacqueras that show off Grenache like no other. Bordering both is Beaumes de Venise which is known for fortified Muscat. On a steep hillside (at 1500 ft!) twin sisters Sabine and Isabelle make this earthy, spicy blend of Grenache, Syrah and Counoise. A gorgeous wine.
Domaine de Fondreche Fayard $19.00
Perhaps the best value region in all of the Rhone Valley for red wine, if this was in Chateaunuef-du-Pape it would be well over 150, not so in Cotes du Ventoux. Smooth cherries and round black fruits dominate the nose and palate with a lingering finish.
Calissa (Limestone) is a 100% Garnacha from Montsant adjacent to Priorat. Barely oaked, this wine has a vivacity and freshness contrasting with the earthy, slightly pungent notes from the limestone. A great wine by itself but a unique experience to have with its brother raised on Slate soils.
Plan Pegau $19.00
A wild blend from 4 grapes and 3 different vintages! This rich, meaty red captures the essence of the Southern Rhone Valley, with layers of red and dark fruit character, soft supple tannins, and complex spice notes from extended aging in small oak barrels.
Gotes del Priorat $24.00
A slightly different and wonderful lighter take on Priorat. The gorgeous blue slate show immediately on the nose, Carignan is there but with richness and elegance. Really pretty and an homage to the fruit. Gorgeous leather and blue black fruit flavors with spice and soft leather. Organic, hand picked and just 9 months in French, this really is a lovely wine!