Growing Up Reds
Not medium road, not full body heavy
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.
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.
Taburno Aglianico $13.00
It's not Taurasi but it is a great wine for the money. Juicy red berries, violets, and crushed stone show on the nose. It's a lighter, leaner style but still showing some fun smoke, tobacco, game and a nice vibrant acidity.
Acentor Garnacha $13.00
We haven't figured out why Garnacha isn't more popular in the U.S. Big, full aromas of dark red berries and spice. medium weight with good structure and intense fruit flavors with hints of smoke, earth and minerals. Nice dry finish and just enough oak. Plus its a bargain!
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.
Adjacent to Salentino in the far south of Italy comes this smooth and rich Primitivo. Either a sister or identical twin of Zinfandel, you will find dark fruit but with a unmistakable sweet earthiness, flowers, figs, balsamic and mocha flavors. A secret gem.
Soft nose of blackberry, tobacco, spice and volcanic earth with a little hint of Kirsch as well. Explosive cherry flavor with a nice structure to finish. Really fun. I know there are cheaper ones out there, but this is the liveliest, and a delicious expression of the grape. Just enhanced with a few months in 2nd pass French oak.
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!
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.
Tares Cepas Viejas Mencia $28.00
Once you have been bitten by Mencia, your quest will lead here. 65 year old vines with intense aromas of red berries backed by subtle floral notes of violets and wet stone. The palate delivers ripe blackberry, leather and herb aromas along with hints of toast, minerals and a bright lime zest. Nine months of aging in French and American oak barrels lends a hint of toasted oak and spices to the bouquet. Clean, powerful, elegant and the wine to shatter any California Pinots.
Gaillard Cornas $43.00
From 2 acres of south facing granite laden hillside. Elegant and a bit subtle but very soft and pretty. Lighter than many other syrahs and very drinkable already. Nice hint of fat but mostly soft violets with just a little grip
Intense aromas of cigar box, dried fruits, dried plums, licorice and flowers. Aged for 6 years in old American oak barrels. This lovely Rioja has both lean and full body, still great acidity and round and ripe textured tannins. Intense and powerful fruit with a spicy finish the last a good while. A traditional blend and style. At 13 you can drink her now or wait another 10.