• $20-and-under Reds for the Holidays

    by  • December 14, 2012 • All Posts, Bargain Wines • 0 Comments

    Though it may defy the imagination, I seem to go through more wine this time of year than any other. Between holiday parties, impromptu dinners, and that “why not? it’s the holidays!” attitude — the juice is flowing around here. To that end, I can never have too many affordably-priced options at hand. If you feel the same, check out this list of $20-and-under reds I’ve enjoyed lately:

    ARGENTINA

    Alamos 2009 Malbec Mendoza Seleccion ($20). I really liked this wine — for the pretty lavender accented black fruits, as well as the juicy, lightly jammy flavors floating along a medium-bodied frame. Bright acidity all the way, and a supple, spice-laden finish. Ready to drink now and over the next couple of years. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Alamos 2010 Malbec Mendoza Seleccion ($20). Richer and more jammy than the 2009 vintage of this wine, with darker, deeper fruit — blueberry, blackberry — and accented with savory spices that linger on the lush finish. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Alamos 2011 Malbec Mendoza ($13). A pretty expression of “everyday” Malbec, with floral-scented red berry and plum fruit that stays fresh and vibrant through the nicely-structured finish. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Bodega Vistalba 2009 Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza Corte C ($15). I liked the slightly rustic nature of this wine — the dusty earth, smoky oak and spice notes helped balance the ripe blueberry and red cherry fruit. Finishes with a dash of chocolaty richness. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Alamos 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza ($13). I don’t often find an under-$15 Cabernet that I think is particularly appealing, but this one is pretty darn good! Medium bodied, with moderate structure, but varietally-correct flavors of blackberry and currant, with touches of slate, brown spice and light herbal notes coming through on the ripe finish. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    ITALY

    Feudi di San Gregorio 2009 Aglianico Irpinia Rubrato ($18). Just an incredible value here, and I loved loved loved it. It’s easy on the oak, with plenty of focused plum, blackberry, nice acidity, pretty anise, and perfumed sandalwood touches. Easy to pair with food and absolutely delicious. Ready to drink now and over the next couple of years. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Poggiotondo 2010 Toscana ($11). This one is just difficult to believe — cellar-worthy for $11?. A lovely, balanced, delicious blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Syrah. Smooth but concentrated, and offering red cherry and wild berry flavors laced with spiced tea, a touch of black pepper and mineral notes through the supple finish. Ready to drink now and over the next 3-4 years. Imported by Old Bridge Cellars. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Vesevo 2009 Aglianico Beneventano ($16). Another tasty Aglianico, a bit fuller-bodied than the one above. This one also offers more baking spice and oak notes, but they’re nicely balanced with vibrant, ripe blackberry and cherry fruit. Touches of mineral and amaretti cookie emerge on the plush finish. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Michele Chiarlo 2010 Barbera d’Asti Superiore Le Orme ($15). This has become the go-to standard when it comes to Barbera d’Asti, for me at least, and I presume for many others, given the sheer volume of the stuff produced and imported year after year. And there’s a reason — it’s so easy to like. Bright, juicy, cranberry, pomegranate, red berry fruit stays fresh and food-friendly from beginning to end, picking up slight touches of floral and spice notes along the way. Ready to drink now and over the next couple of years. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Ricossa 2010 Barbera d’Asti Antica Casa ($16). Here’s another totally tasty, bright, fresh, affordable Barbera d’Asti. The winemaker tells me that this is made with new oak, but you’d never know it — if there’s any oak influence, it’s way in the background. To me, it was all juicy red berry and cherry fruit, with touches of mineral and orange zest. Food friendly and easy-drinking with just about anything. Ready to drink now and over the next couple of years.. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Alta Luna 2009 Pinot Noir Dolomiti ($14). This northern Italian Pinot Noir offers great value, with delicate red berry and lightly tart cherry flavors, along with touches of mineral and baking spice. Crisp, tasty finish. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area. (2012-11-30)

    PORTUTAL

    Dow 2009 Douro Vale do Bomfim ($12). I like this wine a little too much, frankly — as I seem to every year. (This time, I paired it with roasted root vegetables and wild rice for a little bit of cool weather heaven.) Plenty of concentrated flavor (blackberry, currant, wild strawberry) on a fresh, medium-bodied frame that is eminently drinkable. Picks up fresh cut herbs and floral notes through the bright finish. Ready to drink now and over the next year or two. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    U.S. – CALIFORNIA

    Kendall-Jackson 2010 Merlot Sonoma County Vintner’s Reserve ($19). Easy, supple, but with enough complexity to stand up to wintry fare. With deep black cherry and currant fruit laced with sweet smoke, exotic spices and dried herbal notes. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Kendall-Jackson 2010 Pinot Noir California Vintner’s Reserve ($19). Here’s a nice surprise on a readily available wine. Focused, dry, medium-bodied, with bright cherry, red berry, cola, toast and spice notes that linger and evolve through the smooth finish. Easy to like. Ready to drink now and over the next 3-4 years. Locate this wine online or in your area. (2012-11-30)

    Rodney Strong 2010 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley ($20). Another nice surprise, actually — with ripe fruit on a medium-bodied, dry frame. Red cherry, that Russian River Valley cola character, plus touches of cardamom, roasted herbs and toasty oak. Nice. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area. (2012-11-30)

    McManis 2010 Petite Sirah California ($11). Nice concentration and body for the price, if not the biggest, most complex Petite Sirah ever. With lipsmacking red currant and blackberry fruit, a long, plush finish, and moderate accents of roasted herbs and peppery spice. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Buehler 2010 Zinfandel Napa Valley ($19). Fresh huckleberry and blueberry cobbler aromas introduce a thoroughly enjoyable wine that is more balanced than expected. Concentrated black currant and deep cherry flavors are laced with black pepper spice and a touch of earthy notes. Long, fresh finish. Ready to drink now and over the next 2-4 years. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Buena Vista 2010 Zinfandel Sonoma County ($15). Here’s a real crowd-pleaser. It’s juicy and ripe and packed with flavor — red cherry, blueberry and black cherry, along with touches of cracked black pepper and rich baking spices. There’s structure and a bright freshness through to the finish. Ready to drink now and over the next couple of years. Locate this wine online or in your area.

    Kendall-Jackson 2010 Zinfandel Mendocino County Vintner’s Reserve ($17). This was appealing for its brightness — red fruit, juicy, balanced, easy to like. And with some notes of aromatic spices, sandalwood, and herbal notes emerging on the finish. Nice value. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.

     

    About

    http://

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.