• Two Thumbs Way Up
• Aromas of blueberry, cherry brandy and toasted almonds. Gulpable flavors of black cherry, black licorice, spicy, toasted almonds and a earthy, mocha-cappuccino quality all wrapped in supremely silky texture.
If you’re anything like me, you had a budget for holiday gift giving and you blew right past all the signs that said: STOP! Now, we’re stuck on the railroad crossing of life with January’s credit card statement barreling toward us like an overdue freight train. But we still gotta drink something, right?
Serious debt can be a great motivator to search out bargains. I’ve said for a long time that price is an imprecise instrument for determining wine quality. Sometimes an $8 bottle of wine isn’t good enough to clean off your car battery terminals and other times it can drink just as good as a something three and four times its price.
So what should a frugal wine drinker who is two steps away from debtors prison buy?
I know what budget-minded wine lovers should avoid. If you’re looking for revelatory pizzazz in an eight buck cabernet sauvignon/chardonnay/merlot (or any of the most common grape varieties), you’re going to be looking for a long time. The same can be said for tony addresses like Napa Valley, Willamette Valley and Bordeaux. In the wine business, you pay for the privilege of drinking from well-known regions.
So in this month of family budget reconciliation, why not try a garnacha from Campo de Borja? A what from Campo de where? That’s exactly my point. As you write those checks to your credit card companies, have a glass of Monte Oton and just let your wallet tell your mouth that it’s a pinot noir from Burgundy.
Gil Kulers is a certified wine educator with the Society of Wine Educators. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Wines are rated on a scale ranging up from thumbs down, one thumb mostly up, one thumb up, two thumbs up, two thumbs way up and Golden Thumb Award. Prices are suggested retail prices as provided by the winery, one of its agents, a local distributor or retailer.)