season of the red...

Every year in November with temperatures falling down I feel like leaning towards dark, fruity and bold red wines. It is priceless to have a glass of velvety, thick red wine at the dinner table in your warm house when it is raining or snowing outside. Especially with the holiday season starting it's time to uncork all the wines I was saving for winter one by one. Throughout the whole summer somehow I manage to save all the wintery reds for colder days of the year and consume only crisp, light bodied reds and all kind of chilled white wines. So now the time has come and I recently started to check all my wines in the rack and to plan which bottle will be poured for which occasion... Which one will be good to bring to a dinner party, which one will be enjoyed more when I cook at home with friends or which one will be perfect to sip after dinner when we watch old movies under blankets?

I know when you talk about red wine prices sky is the limit therefore I want to list here five affordable but also not your everyday table wines ended up in my wine rack saved for the coming holiday season.

Chateau Musar Cuvee Rouge 2007: This is a beautiful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan grape varieties from the creators of world famous red, Chateau Musar from Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. It is cheaper and younger then their flagship expression but still an amazing wine. It is clear and light ruby colored, full with red berries and cherry notes on the palate. Finish is earthy and spicy with hints of licorice showing all the characteristics of dry soil Mediterranean wines. My favorite wine of this year...

Penfold Bin 2 2008: Keeping the almighty Penfold Grange always somewhere in our dreams this year I put an approachable Penfold with high Shiraz content in my wine rack for the holiday season. 2008 Bin 2 is a blend of 88% Shiraz and 12% Mourvedre. It is opaque, almost purple in color. Dark berries, plums, black pepper and vanilla sweetness from oak barrels cover the palate. Long and woody finish of Shiraz is very present, a typical Australian. Great value, great wine... I think it will be my Thanksgiving dinner choice.

Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico 2005: This Italian wine is from my favorite wine region, Siciliy. The vineyard is located on the south eastern point of the island facing the hot breeze of south Mediterranean for the most of the year keeping the sandy soil of the region dry. This expression of the vineyard is made of 60% Nero d'Avola and 40% Frappato grapes. A perfect southern dinner wine with ripe and lively berry notes, rosemary, chocolate, clay, sand and turf. Definitely needs to breathe at least for half an hour to be able to get all the notes. Amazing with all kinds of meat and also ages very good in the bottle. Worth every penny.

Consensus 3 Oak 2007: This wine was waiting quite a long time to be uncorked since I brought it all the way from Turkey in July. It is a Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot blend aged in French, American and European oak casks for two years. Probably the most expensive wine on this list but I remember the night I tasted it in Istanbul this summer and I almost finished the bottle on the table. It is a perfect example of new boutique Turkish wines having their breakthrough. It has peppery notes with damson plum, blueberries and lots of oak notes. Finish is long and dry. Unfortunately it is not available in US but I am hoping these kind of artisan vineyards from Turkey will find their way to international market soon.

Duca di Salaparuta Triskele 2005: Another beautiful Sicilian with dark berry notes. A blend of Nero d'Avola, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon adds smoothness and thickness on Nero d'Avola's fresh spiciness making the wine almost more wintery and to be honest more French. It is a bold wine with a long strong finish. Chocolate cake, fudge, cloves and cinnamon are the distinct notes on the palate. Good for long dinner parties and spending time around the table with friends.
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Jason Debly said…
Instead of a fruity red, try a dark and austere Barolo. They are not well known Italian wines, but talk about powerful, powder dry and warming. Pio Cesare makes some of the best.
Thanks for the tip Jason. I will definitely look for Pio Cesare. It is pretty hard to find an affordable and good Barolo but worth looking for in cold winter days... :)