Red Wines Rising: Food-Friendly Finds from $9 to $16

Out of more than 200 wines tasted in recent months, here are best values we???ve found in drinkable reds ??? for barbecue, with casual foods and quaffing at parties, tailgate and otherwise. Value Reds $16 Cabernet as good as $20+. Knuttel 08 Sonoma Co…

Out of more than 200 wines tasted in recent months, here are best values we’ve found in drinkable reds – for barbecue, with casual foods and quaffing at parties, tailgate and otherwise.

Value Reds

$16 Cabernet as good as $20+. Knuttel 08 Sonoma County. Complex mint, wood, Cab nose; mid-big body; chewy tannins; some style. w/beef.

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Rib BBQ wine Bell Canyon Cellars 08 Napa Red $13 (82% Syrah). Berry, mint, ripe grape nose (14.5 alc); mid-big body; nice tannins.

Rib wine Columbia Crest 07 H3 Merlot $12. Chocolate, cedar, berry, herbaceous nose; mid-body, balanced, hot finish (14.5 alc). w/ribs

Tasty 09 Medoc Chateau Gadet Terreford $23. Earth/mint/wood nose (70% Cabernet 30% Merlot); mid-body, balanced; some style. w/Dijon lamb.

Value Napa Cabernet 09 Avalon $12. Berries, mint, prune nose; mid-body; balanced; finish a little hot. Rib, BBQ wine.

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Tailgate red Filon 10 Garnacha (Spain) $9. Minty, Rhone-like nose; mid-body; good fruit, soft tannins. w/BBQ, Pizza, munchies.

Calif. BBQ/pizza red blend Acacia 09 Red $10. Stemmy, berry nose (Pinot Noir, Zin, Syrah?); mid-body, round, quaffable, good flavor.

Weekday pizza/pasta/BBQ wine J. Lohr 09 Paso Robles Syrah $11. Herbaceous, mint nose; mid-body, decent tannins, fruity finish.

Sausage Pizza/Pasta value red Hedges 09 CMS (Cab 39, Merlot 45, Syrah 16) Columbia Valley $9. Jam, berry nose; hearty, mid-fat.

Washington State ultra value Cabernet 09 “14 Hands” $9. Smokey mint berry nose; balanced, soft fruity finish. Styled for food. w/tri tip.

BBQ, rib wine Yarrunga Field 09 Barossa Red blend (Shiraz Cab Merlot) $12. Spice/jam/wood nose; big, grapey, chewy, long finish.

Value bread cheese munchies red Giesta 09 Dao $11 (Portugal). Ripe grape, woody nose; soft, fat; unusual berry mint flavor.

Classics

Big Cabernet Waypoint 04 Napa, Weiss. Herbaceous, minty, oak nose; semi-tannic; rich finish, a little hot; long life ahead. w/beef.

Rich older Napa Cabernet 02 Larkmead. Classic varietal nose, mint, oak; mid-body, round, ripe, stylish finish. w/good cuts of beef.

(Highly recommended strategy for future pleasures: stashing a few favorite bottles away in a secret spot, even an interior closet where the temperature is steady, and waiting a few years to try with friends. You don’t need a temperature-controlled cellar, just a cool dark place with stable temperatures based on many tests we’ve run.)

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