Bangin' Red 2005
<REGION: Napa Valley, California
VARIETAL: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec & Zinfandel
I sooo wanted to HATE this wine, recommended to me by an incredibly irritating sales associate who tried pretty hard to sound knowledgeable, but it was painfully evident, by his descriptions, that he hadn't bothered to learn the basics before taking the sales floor. Add to that, a cutesy name/label and I certainly feared the worse. I kept hearing a little voice in my head, 'Cheap red wine with a cute story on the back. . . It can't possibly be good... All story, no substance'
But I was compelled--as I am most wines under $10--to give it a shot. So imagine my surprise when, on its journey from the glass to my lips, wafts of ripe, dark berry and spice scents tickled my nose. It smelled lovely, lush and inviting. And I must confess, it tasted pretty good too. Definitely not as lush as it smelled, but medium bodied, warm and spicy with lots of plum and berry flavors strung along with with a fine oak-y undercurrent and hints of coffee.
A pleasant surprise and a great bargain wine that is pretty food friendly, but also an easy, everyday red to enjoy with nothing at all. It is tough to find online, so check your local shops.
A Mano Chianti DOCG 2006
Well this one is definitely more of a food wine. Lots of currant on the nose, but it is all red cherry and sour cherry in the palate. Vibrant acidity makes it a natural match for anything in red sauce. I liked it, I enjoyed it with linguine in puttanesca, and I suppose I would recommend it... but with food. If you just want to kick back with a glass of vino, I think I'd steer you elsewhere, but generally this is a classic Italian red that remains true to its roots and works beautifully with regional cuisine. $11
I found mine at a local shop, but you can also find it here: A Mano Chianti 2006