I had to stop in and select a few wines rather quickly at our local wine store, Norm's Beer & Wine, and stumbled upon a huge surprise: the LAN Rioja Crianza 2006 retailing for $13.99. This Spanish Tempranillo wine is the bomb, full of cherry flavors with traditional old world earthiness on the tail. Aged 12 months in French and American oak. Tannins and acidity balance nicely. This wine replaces the Antis Malbec Reserve, which we also purchased at that time, as our favorite value red. We learned later that even WIne Spectator shared our views, being #44 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2010. Not too shabby.
That evening we also consumed two other value wines, the Honey Moon Viognier made popular by our friend Dezel at My Vine Spot and the Domaine Barry Cotes du Rhone 2008, the first priced at $5.99, the latter at $8.99. I did say value wines. Apparently the Viognier has declined slightly in quality, but it is still refreshing, slightly acidic wine with strong peach flavors. The Cotes du Rhone, on the other hand, is nothing special; just a decent drinking wine. And don't bother trying to research; most sites have it listed as a Bordeaux wine containing Cabernet Franc and Merlot. In reality, being a Rhone wine, it was most likely composed of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Roussanne, or Cinsault.