Sunday, May 22, 2011

Vino Barato y Fresco

Summer has arrived - the domain of cheap reds to wash down cheap frozen burgers cooked on cheap grills by the riverside. At least, that's what it means in my world. I came across a couple such values last month, both by global negociant "R" Wines, and both from Australia.

Luchador Shiraz was featured on a display boasting 92 points. Given the silly label, I had to try it to believe it. When I opened the Stelvin closure and poured I was greeted by a wine that was a very dark brick red in the glass. The bright, lively nose offered up intense aromas of cherry pie, grenadine, and allspice. Truth in advertising: the flavor upon sipping was an explosion of rich, juicy plum, succulent, ripe cherry, and spicy oak on the finish. Laid-back tannins and nice acid throughout.

92 points? I don't know. I also don't know about the $14.99 original price tag. Definitely a lot at that price range I'd rather drink (like the Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red, for instance.) But for the mere $6.99 I got it for? Put it in your face!

Date: 4/6/11
Wine: "R" Wines Luchador Shiraz
Grapes: Shiraz
Vintage: 2007
ABV: 14.5%
Origin: South Australia
Color: very dark brick
Nose: cherry, grenadine, oak
Palate: rich plum, cherry, spicy oak, nice acid
Price: $7

I bought the Marquis Phillips Grenache off the same display. At the time, I was too distracted by the label to  notice the ABV until I got home. SIXTEEN PERCENT. Seriously. I'm gonna say that again in case you weren't paying attention: this Grenache is sixteen percent alcohol.

I've heard of this, I've just never actually seen one. At that range, I expected it to be pretty dry, but surprisingly, it wasn't. It showed a clear ruby in the glass with red fruit and clove aromas. The palate was smooth and straight forward. Not dry, but certainly not sweet.

The flavor profile wasn't bad, but it wasn't terribly exciting either. Just some plum, cherry, and raspberry, with a dusky, earthy undertone to the finish. The heat from the alcohol was well-integrated and significantly less noticeable than I presumed. Definitely not worth $13, but again, I got on sale for $7, which made it decent. I do think the mild, fruity flavors, silky texture and high alcohol content make it an IDEAL choice for home-made sangria. If you're into that sort of thing. Me, I'm lazy and hooked on this stuff.

Date: 4/8/11
Wine: "R" Wines Marquis Phillips Grenache
Grapes: Grenache
Vintage: 2008
ABV: 16%
Origin: MacLaren Vale,  Australia
Color: clear ruby red
Nose: cherry, plum, grenadine, spice
Palate: same. heat less noticeable than I thought.
Price: $7