Inexpensive red wines to help you through the rest of winter
Cozy on up to the fire with these Mediterranean wines that won't break the bank.
While spring may not be far off, winter is still unmistakably upon us, which means there's ample time to curl up in front of the fire with a nice bottle of wine. So whether it’s for a quiet night at home, or a cozy get-together with friends, here are five affordable red wines – all under $20 – from around the Mediterranean with flavor and finish fit for the rest of the season.
Thymiopoulos Young Vines 2012
If you're not drinking Greek wines yet, you should be. The varietals that are coming out of the country are as textured and bright as the terrain that produces them. In particular, the Xinomavro grape stands out for reds. “It's expressive in its perfume and its texture on the palate,” Chris Badini, sales manager for Athenee Importers, which imports the wine to the United States, told From The Grapevine. It's produced biodynamically with wild yeast fermentation, so you’ll be getting the full taste of not only the characteristics of the grape, but also experiencing a wine that has been minimally manipulated and displays the terroir of Greece. Their 2012 vintage retails for around $16.
Produttori di Govone Barbera d’Alba 2013
Cold months give us an excuse for hearty foods. Bring on the rich pasta Bolognese, full bellies of beef stew or the comforting simplicity of a seared steak. But winter cooking needs a wine pairing that can go toe-to-toe with heavy foods, with an acidity that can cleanse the palate for the next bite. This is where a good Barbera comes in. Bright and full of fruit, it stands up well to heavy dishes. It's also lighter on the tannins, so it’s perfectly suitable for drinking on its own as well. You can usually find this bottle for under $10, which makes it an easy grab for any occasion.
Carmel Winery Ridge Red 2011
When going for a value wine, its always fun to look to regions less synonymous with the wine industry. A great example is Carmel Winery in Israel. Founded in 1882, Carmel's current wine maker integrates methods used from time spent in France and Australia into the long-standing traditions of the estate. What you get are bright and easily drinkable wines, like the Ridge Red blend. Adam Montefiore, Carmel Winery’s wine development director, told From The Grapevine "it's a wine to drink and enjoy," and with its medium body and refreshing acidity, if you pair it with chicken dishes or baked salmon, you'll do just that. When it comes to a good table wine to have around the house, the Ridge Red at around $14 is a fantastic go-to.
Bodegas Hermanos Peciña Señorío de P. Peciña Crianza 2009
The region to start your Spanish exploration in is Rioja. What makes Rioja’s wines so special is that you can get a wine with a little age on it, without paying too much. Seeing the word “Crianza” on a label means the wine will always be aged for a minimum of 2 years before release. However, sometimes you get even more time in a bottle, like with this 2009 from Bodegas Hermanos Peciña that retails for roughly $20. What you get is a well-balanced red wine that just feels good to drink. Slice up some manchego to munch with it on the side.
Chateau Lenormand Côtes de Bordeaux 2010
Bordeaux is a region with such acclaim that people will throw down good money for a bottle just to associate with it. Its price point, along with the elusive lore that surrounds its wines, can also make it intimidating to delve into. Luckily, there are lovely gateway Bordeaux bottles, like this selection from Ch. Lenormand. You’ll experience the classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, where both grapes join to create a nice balance between tannin and dark plum flavor. Grab this bottle for around $15 for an approachable and delicious introduction into Bordeaux.
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