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What To Drink Now: Approachable Red

Last week I noted some well priced, easy drinking, approachable white wines, and this week I bring you approachable red wines for every day sipping.  Some of these selections were sent for editorial consideration, all are tasty. 

Malbec is a perfect grape to pair with grilled meats, so as you dust your grill off for the season pick up a bottle or two of Gauchezco Malbec.  Named after the Argentine cowboys the wine is expressive and complex, and usually retails for about $15 a bottle.  Filled with cherry, licorice, smoke and sweet spice, the wine is the ideal pairing for grilled meats.

I am a fan of Foppiano wine and their 2008 Petite Sirah was a treat.  Though the alcohol is a bit high compared to some other varietals at 15.2%, this is rather common amongst Petite Sirah.  However, unlike some Petite Sirahs that are big, tannic and somewhat overbearing, this one has a softer palate with blueberry, chocolate and violet.  The tannins in the wine are present, but aren’t dominant, creating a long finish with balanced fruit and a hint of spice.

Pali Pinot Noir is living up to their goal of producing high quality, reasonably priced wine from some of the best Pinot Noir growing regions in the country.  Though still a bit young, the 2009 Bluffs Pinot Noir Blend is from Russian River vineyards, displaying the true characteristics of the AVA with blueberry, cherry and raspberry intertwined with hints of wild flower, lavender and espresso.  Only 1229 cases of this under $20 wine were made, and though young, tasted like a much more expensive wine once decanted and allowed to open for a bit. 

I enjoyed a Banfi Rosso di Montalcino paired with braised leeks, a 12 hour slow roasted tomato and Burrata at a wine dinner prepared by Stefano Secchi at Ferrari’slast night.  The creamy, heavenly cheese paired with the expressive, fruit forward Sangiovesse was ideal.   Very easy to drink, this wine is filled with cherry and raspberry jam, with a layer of vanilla and spice on the finish.  This is a great food wine, but can easily be enjoyed on its own. 

Waterstone  Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has always been a great go to Cab for quality and consistency.  Usually retailing for about $25, the 2006 Cabernet blends juice from vineyards throughout Napa including Rutherford, Coombsville (where one of my favorite Cabs from Rocca Family Vineyards is produced) and Diamond Mountain, giving the wine great depth and character.  This Napa Cabernet displays earthy flavors with black cherry and currants, with 22 months of aging in 80% new French oak barrels, adding cedar and chocolate notes with age worth tannins.

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