We like the idea of having a house red wine. That would be the one you’d always have on hand, your go-to, go-with-everything wine that you find supremely delicious. Since it would be always at the ready for an impromptu dinner party or for taking as a hostess gift, it should also be somewhat affordable. Not expensive and not too cheap, but right in the $12-15 price range that allows you enough choice among vineyards and countries and should guarantee you that there is enough complexity and flavor to satisfy your taste buds.
We also like variety and trying new things. So here are our latest favorite three reds for you to try. All Cabernet Sauvignons, two from northern California and one really incredible one for the price from Washington state.
I pulled the wine flavor descriptions from the vintners’ sites because I don’t write professionally about wine and would tend to be facetious, meaning I might make fun of pretentious wine liner notes and use insouciant words like ‘bovine’ and ‘flatulent.’ (These wines are neither of those; they are delightful.)
(Prices quoted from Montgomery County Liquor Stores.)
Wente Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay
This Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits flavors of black cherry, dark plum and a hint of coffee. Rich, yet approachable tannins provide a long, smooth finish.
Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
90 POINTS, WINE SPECTATOR
This bold medium-bodied wine delivers aromas of cherry blossoms and rose petals, with a perfect balance of earth, mineral and deep berry flavors leading to a soft tannin cocoa finish.
Juan Munoz Oca, Winemaker
Rodney Strong Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
$17.99 (it’s often on sale for $14.99)
A deep, saturated color leads to lifted aromas of blackberry, cocoa, and herby black-currant, followed by a rich, layered mouthfeel, loaded with juicy black cherry, cedar, and crème de cassis, and structured with ripe, mature tannins.
There you have it. Try one of these this Memorial weekend with a grilled ribeye steak or a hand-formed cheeseburger with lettuce and onion and you will be happy.
Do you have a house red? Share your favorite ones in the Comments section.