Hannukah began last night, Christmas is Sunday, and New Years Eve is just down the street. If you've got a budget that is stretched thin and snapping back at you, I've got five pretty good red wines for ten bucks or less to help out with the holiday entertaining.
2006 Altano Duoro
This Portuguese wine is from the Douro Valley, an area of Northern Portugal known for port wines. It is produced from Tinta Roriz, which is better known as the Tempranillo grape, and Touriga Franca, a grape used in port wine, which has the feel of Cabernet Franc. That's probably why I like the wine, Cabernet Franc is one of my favorite varietals.
Earthy, minerals, black cherry, a little bitter chocolate, almost full-bodied. I like it.
2007 Tapas Wine Collection, Vino Tinto
Medium body, smooth, ruby red, a little oak--but not too much.
Montes is a big league Chilean producer, perhaps the Mondavi of Chile. However, Malbec is more associated with Argentina than Chile. I suspect the growing popularity of Argentine Malbecs has gotten the attention of the people at Montes. Malbecs tend to be big, sturdy wines. The price value ratio of this Malbec is excellent.
Montes Malbec Winemaker Notes:
Ruby red color, leaning to very dark, intense red. Powerful but elegant flavors, with plumy and blackberry hints. A wonderful butterscotch and slight spiciness is totally integrated by the subtle notes of vanilla that comes from the oak aging. A full-bodied wine, with ripe tannins and voluptuous mid-palate and a long, very enjoyable, finish.
2009 Bogle Merlot
Doubtless that Miles would look down his nose at this wine, but it is a very quaffable Merlot. Actually, much better than I expected. You'll like it too.
Bogle Merlot Winemaker Notes:
Concentrated and full-bodied, the 2009 Merlot is a study in contrasts. Subtle and silky, yet bright and intense, this deep red wine is multifaceted. Black raspberry and dark cherry greet the nose, while the brighter fruit of ripe summer plum dazzles the palate. The toast and spice of twelve months in American oak seamlessly integrate with the tannin structure of this wine, leaving a long, lingering finish, which is ready to drink now through 2014.
2009 J Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon
J Lohr Cabernet is generally solid. Its niche market is as a wine sold by the glass in tavers and eateries. It is typically pretty good. Cabs do better in dry years, so the 2009 is better than average.
The 2009 is deep reddish-purple in the glass with black fruit aromas. On the palate it is bright and fruit laden with a nice finish. It is a big wine and will pair nicely with roast beef, red sauce, or spicy pork dishes.
It is also very cool that if you visit J Lohr's tasting room in Paso, the tastes are on the house. And, they'll pour your kids some non-alcholic wine.
The Lohr is right at the ten dollar price break here in the Southland and it may be a couple of bucks more where you are.
One more Cabernet Sauvignon to consider is Montes Alpha. For a couple of bucks more think about 2009 Relative Red, which is a red blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon that favors its Zinfandel component.
May your holidays be blessed, Gentle Readers.