Always keeping an eye out for good cheap wine, extensive field research – yeah, tasting wine – has yielded 3 red wine bargains for you to look for. These are 3 nice red wines that are priced very well. And one is a 2011 from California, so there were some good wines from that vintage. As summer approaches, I’ll have some whites and the occasional dry rose’ for you. And no, I’m not going to give up on getting you to have some good dry rose’ this summer.
Zestos Old Vine Garnacha 2011 – This wine is Spanish, coming from near Madrid. I am a big fan of Spanish Garnacha (aka Grenache), and this one looks to be an amazing value. It is rated 90 by both Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. The wine is very juicy with both red and dark fruit very evident. Parker calls it a staggering value. It should retail around $9 – $10. I found it in a big box store for about $7.
McManis 2011 California Merlot – McManis Family Vineyards is a large producer (300,000+ cases) of good wine at very good prices. But a Merlot this good and priced this well from 2011 in California is a real find. The wine’s color is purple, and it is pretty typical of a more expensive California Merlot with flavors of red currant and dark berries and a decent finish. While not a big, brooding, very complex wine, it would be excellent with anything from a backyard BBQ to a braised pot roast. It is a very good value at about $10. I have not tried their 2011 Petite Sirah, but it is usually a good value also.
Columbia Crest 2010 Les Chevaux – Columbia Crest is a favorite producer of mine because they produce a huge amount of wine and maintain very good quality at good to excellent pricing. Les Chevaux is a blend of 80% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Syrah from the Horse Heaven Hills (H3) area of Washington State. This medium bodied wine has bunches of fruit, mostly dark fruit with some pepper thrown in for good measure. It needs a good 45 minutes of decanting to begin to show its best. I think the H3 Cabernet Sauvignon is a little better, but I’m usually more of a Cab guy than a Merlot guy. I found this wine in a big box store for $10; regular retail will be $12 -$13.
After a very iffy 2011, the wine gods have smiled on California in 2012. Almost uniformly in California it was the opposite of 2011. Not only was the growing season much easier than 2011, the grapes were in beautiful shape, and the crop was huge. A couple of reports I saw said the biggest problem wineries had was finding room for all the grapes after harvest. Good news for California and wine lovers everywhere. Looks like good wine and plenty of it. Now with a large crop we’ll see what effect it has on prices.