A few years ago I participated in a food and wine event for which the emcee was a local food writer/wine critic personality. He awarded some prize bottles (as thank-yous, really) remarking that one could buy a really great wine for sixty dollars. Was his tongue firmly planted in his cheek? As just about every sane person knows, there are some fabulous wines for less than half that price point. The wines I buy for daily enjoyment mostly fall into the ten to fourteen dollars a bottle range. It's easy to spend more, but there is a certain satisfaction (not to mention financial incentive) when one finds a really pleasing bargain. In my ever so humble opinion, the following wines fall into this category. Each cost 13.99. Hint: buy mixed cases to benefit from the ten percent discount.
Next up, one of my all time favorite (maybe my all time favorite) wine region and style: the Cotes du Rhone. California reds have moved mostly beyond the price point I target for everyday consumption, especially the pinots, which I so enjoy. I've been looking to Chile, Argentina and France for my reds, keeping Mexico on the radar. This 2008 Cotes du Rhone, Belleruche, by M. Chapoutier, might benefit from another year or two in the bottle. Perhaps I'll cellar some. It shares one similarity with the Cono Sur: no oak, all stainless steel fermentation and aging, no interference with the terroir. This wine, too, strikes a wonderful balance of fruit and earth. Here we can speak of garrigue, a term specific to the flavors of Provence, it's terroir and the associated herbaceous flavors. This wine's got it, and I like it. Again, a bargain at 13.99. Try it yourself and let me know what you think. Cheers everyone!