Roederer Estate Brut

This non-vintage sparkling wine comes in at about $20 when purchased locally. I really prefer a Brut to any other kind of sparkling wine or champagne. This particular sparkling wine really exemplifies the crisp dryness of a quality brut. While it’s not nearly as good as Veuve Clicquot, which is my all time favorite non-vintage bubbly, it’s a good choice for ballin on a budget as it’s simple, enjoyable and refreshing.

Like other other quality sparkling wines it’s blended with oak-aged reserve wines for one to three years. The grapes are grown in Anderson Valley. Look out for a rich bold flavor, very crisp, dry, spice, cinnamon and apple aromas.

A good non-vintage sparkling wine.

A good non-vintage sparkling wine.

Joel Gott 2009 Zinfandel

This inexpensive zinfandel will run you about $15. It’s not a bad choice for a dinner involving red meat, or if you just want some table wine. It’s not really remarkable, but I found it enjoyable. There is lots of taste of sweet cherries, plums and berries. I think there may be a hint of vanilla and it’s pretty warm. This wine is very soft on the palate and has a berry finish. It’s pretty dry for your average zin and it’s very drinkable. I don’t think I would buy it again, but it wasn’t bad.

An unremarkable zinfandel from California.

An unremarkable zinfandel from California.

Bodegas Beronia Rioja Reserva 2006

According to the winery this particular Spanish Red is aged 18 months in French and American oak barrels. This wine is made in La Rioja, Spain from Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano grapes from the 2006 harvest. Nice cherry color and lots of aroma and a smooth finish. It’s a very cheap wine at just $12.79 at the time of purchase in 2012, but I would rate it up there with some of the $18 and $20 bottles of the region. I think it’s a good buy and you should drink it upon purchase. I was unable to see a benefit from decanting.

A tasty wine at a $12.79 US dollar price point.

A tasty wine at a $12.79 US dollar price point.

Alexander Valley Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine comes from Sonoma County and has a nice deep ruby tone. Alexander Valley has half a century of grape vines behind its individual style. The wine has lots of sour cherry, chocolate and earthy flavors. It’s rich yet smooth. Not burning and harsh like a South American Cabernet can be. At about $17 it’s a bargain. While many wouldn’t consider this a daily drinking wine and want something around the $12 range, I would recommend people consider this wine into their rotation if they eat lots of meat. I can see this wine going particularly well with barbeque and would be a treat at a Brazilian steak house!

This is a great wine with red meat.

This is a great wine with red meat.

2008 Marques de Caceres Crianza Rioja

As you may have already read, I love wines from Spain. This particular bottle is my go-to bottle when I want a cheap yet tasty Spanish red. This is a great example of a wine from La Rioja from northern Spain at just $13-15 dollars at time of purchase. There is plenty of cherry taste and the wine is exceptionally smooth. It also has mild tones of oak, smoke and herbal flavor.

A good and value priced example of a Rioja.

A good and value priced example of a Rioja.

Francis Ford Cappola Winery – Director’s Cut Zinfandel 2009

This Zinfandel hails from the Dry Creek valley of Sonoma County. I would describe this particular wine as a classic example of a Zinfandel from Sonoma County, and very representative of a quality American red wine. There are lots of rich flavors of blackberries and plums. I’m also detecting a hint of vanilla and espresso with some very light wood flavor. It’s very smooth and not overbearing at all. At $20 per bottle in early 2012, this wine is a pretty decent deal. It’s not as good as my favorite Zinfandel from Talty Estates, but it’s not >$30 either and it’s very very good. If you want to try a good first Zinfandel that is representative of the breed, try this one!

This Zinfandel is representative of the breed!

This Zinfandel is representative of the breed!

Altovinum Evodia 2010 Garnacha

I love spanish reds and this wine is very warm. It has a nice deep flavor full of cherry, mocha and raspberry tones. It drinks very well and I would see it as a great companion to a steak. This wine is made in Atea, Spain and is 100% Garnacha. I would buy this wine again as it makes for a great every day bottle at about $11 dollars at the time of purchase. I don’t think this wine would benefit from aging or decanting, just drink it.

A 100% Garnacha wine from Atea Espana.

A 100% Garnacha wine from Atea Espana.

Hedges 2009 CMS Columbia Valley

This wine is a good example of a pretty moderate American Red. It’s not an amazing bottle by any means, but it’s plenty good for a drink with a friend over a meal. The taste of cherry and fruit is there and the smoothness is plentiful. This supple wine is 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 16% Syrah. This blend results in a very smooth finish and makes the wine very drinkable with food. It’s not too spicy and not too mild. The wine is made in Washington State by the Hedges Family Estate company in Columbia Valley. At $11.99 it’s a bargain.

A good American red wine from Columbia Valley

A good American red wine from Columbia Valley