Last time, on Bottlenecker:
“Hey, you gotta buy all this white wine at BevMo!”
“Sir, Romulans off the port bow. They’re demanding red wine.”
[OMINOUS MUSIC SWELLS AS CAMERA DOLLIES IN FOR CLOSE UP] “Fire… up those red wine recommendations.”
And now, the conclusion.
Vigilance Petite Sirah: When I first started working in the booze industry, I didn’t know anything about wine. More to the point: all wine tasted the same to me. Until I tasted the Vigilance Petite Sirah, that is. For whatever reason, this was the wine that unlocked everything for me: my first distinct aroma pulled from a sensory evaluation (my eureka came in the form of blueberry, as I recall). Naturally, this wine occupies a certain eternal soft spot in my heart, not only for the significance it played in my wine education, but also because it tastes good. The wine is pitch dark but not overly tannic, with rich blackberry and plum flavors along with a vein of dark chocolate running through it. In general, out of all the “Vineyard Partner” exclusive wines available at BevMo, I would say the Vigilance line is the one I trust the most, but the Petite Sirah is by far my favorite and the one I recommend the most consistently.
Quimay Malbec: Argentine Malbec has been popular for a while now, and for good reason: I think we all appreciate having an exotic alternative to Cabernet to turn to when we get sick of the status quo. The problem is, a lot of the Malbec we drink is really just so so, either too fruity or too tannic, lacking the earth and spice a serious Malbec exults in. If you’ve never had a truly great Malbec experience, I recommend the Quimay, which brings to bear lots of cassis, dark berries, red earth, and even a hint of dijon mustard on nose. I can tell I like a wine when it really sticks in my memory, and the Quimay has stuck itself more firmly than any Malbec I’ve tried in the last year.
Montelciego Rioja Crianza: As far as European wines go, Spanish wine is way under priced for the quality you end up getting, and this Rioja is a good example of that. By law and tradition, Riojas undergo quite a bit of aging before they are released (Crianza is an age category, one of the lowest, in which the wine must spend at least one year aging in oak barrels and another year in the bottle before being released, though that’s just the minimum), and sure enough this wine’s got quite a bit of age and oak on it for a great price. With plenty of dark berry fruit and vanilla overtones, along with velvetty tannins and that old world acidity, the Montelciego is a great way to introduce yourself to one of Europe’s most underrated wine regions.
Timberline Cabernet: I’m throwing this one on here partly because it has the most eye catching price tag of anything on the sale: $69.99, for two. I imagine the average customer views a price like that as either an incredible deal or a risk not worth taking. It’s definitely a good wine, eschewing any commonplace assumptions of Napa Cabs and coming in strong with a vibrant nose of red currant and spice, with bright acidity and tangy raspberries on the palette. The tannins make their presence known but don’t get in the way of the other flavors, and the finish has a gentle note of vanilla bean that’s subtle but definitely sticks around. The wine is surprisingly “red” and comes across feeling a little Italian, which is fine by me. Of course, everyone wants to know if the wine is worth $70, and the answer is “not really.” But it’s not $70, is it? It’s $70 for two, and at that price (assuming you have the available capital to throw down), I’d say it’s definitely worth picking up a pair.
Unruly Red: This is definitely not something I’d buy myself: lots of fruit up front, a ton of oak, and a hint of sweetness, all of which adds up to something that’s not really my style. That being said, people really guzzle this stuff down, and I can understand why. Yeah, it’s fruity, but it’s also extremely easy going, with very little (if any) tannin coming across on the palette, and it’s extremely affordable, coming in at around $12 for two, making it an enticing substitute for all you Menage a Trois and Apothic Red drinkers out there. Again, if you like bold, hearty wines with lots of complexity and structure, I’d stay away from anything with the Unruly label on it. However, if you just want a nice easy wine to serve at a party or enjoy with some friends, Unruly’s pretty tough to beat for the price.