Part two of the Christmas case made for some really hard choices, there are probably easily 20-30 wines that I could have chosen to make up the seven bottles of red table wine,in fact when I looked at the wines that got left behind I immediately saw the need for another post.
When trimming the list down to the seven finalists I took into account varietal correctness, the ability to enhance food and tried to avoid duplicating styles and varietals as much as possible. I was not really surprised in the end that I had no wines from France, Italy or the United States as these regions rarely provide good value in the sub $20 range here in BC. So enough rationalization, on to the wines.
Beso de Vino - Seleccion 2009, Spain. I wrote about this wine in October and have gone back to it a couple of times since then with pizza, ribs and a braise. The wine is a blend of Syrah and Garnacha and is nice with food but soft enough to drink on its' own as well. I think it's a steal at $12.99 and it has good distribution.
Colonia Las Liebres, Bonarda, Argentina is a great little wine for any occasion, the hares on the label are racing as fast as this wine is with it's plump fruit flavours and earthy bouquet of chicory and fresh raspberries. Bonarda is the second most planted red grape in Argentina but is mostly used in blending to add colour and fruit but this stand alone varietal bottling is a great value at $12.99 with reasonable, though not great, distribution.
Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz, Barossa, Australia is an incredible value from one of Australia's most consistent producers . This is a deep red classic Australian shiraz, with plum and fruitcake on the nose and spice and pepper in the palate. This wine used to retail in the $20 range and was reasonable value then but at $14.99 it's an absolute steal, it's in reasonably wide distribution so seek it out and buy it.
Jean Bousquet Malbec, Organic, Argentina is a beautiful example of Malbec, Argentina's signature red varietal and one of the hot button wines of the past two years. You can get decent Malbec in the $10-13 range but for the holidays step up and buy this wine with lots of spicebox, coffee and black fruits in the nose and a warm full mouth filling flavour mix of plums, cherry and white pepper, plus it's 100% Organic. This wine has good distribution and retails for $15.99 .
The People's Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand is another wine I recently posted about, I just tried it last month and it's already in regular use in the house. This wine is amazing value for Central Otago Pinot Noir. The nose has a nice sweet aroma of cherries, licorice and a bit of pepper and the taste is bright and clean, with more cherry, a bit of chocolate and coffee and little of the candied strawberry that tends to define inexpensive Pinot Noir. The mouth feel is creamy and the finish long and most importantly obviously, unequivocally, Pinot Noir. It's on sale for $15.99 with good distribution .
Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Crianza, Spain is a perfect example of classic entry level Rioja, made with Spain's greatest varietal Tempranillo. The nose is full of malted chocolate and cherries along with the classic chalky cut hay aroma typical of tempranillo, In the mouth it has notes of sour cherry with leather, tobacco and slightly rough edged tannins. This is old world Rioja without the fruit bomb but with rich flavours, nice tannins and a long rich finish. Maybe not for everyone but I really like it and at $16.99 it's a fair value.
Graham Beck The Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, South Africa is simply a great bottle of Cab. I used to drink more Cabernet Sauvignon than any other red varietal but of late was often disappointed with the dumbing down of this majestic grape, but not with this bottle. This Cabernet features all the dark berry, cedar, spicy notes the wine should possess and it's not shy in the mouth either with full bodied tannins and gobs of black fruit, plums and spice with a huge finish. I reviewed it in January of last year when it was on sale and at $19.99 it's still great value with reasonable supply though maybe not on the shelf at your corner boozer. If you are one of the Prime Rib for Christmas Dinner crowd this is the wine for you.
So that's it, the Christmas case is complete and under budget. The total cost of the thirteen bottles, with deposit, is $194.13 which leaves about six bucks left to search out a 650ml of Dead Frog's Christmas Beeracle, but be quick the 2010 production sold out in less than three weeks.