Typically, each winter, I seek out on a value-priced hearty red that becomes my go-to winter wine. For several winters, I drank a profuse amount of Excelsior, a South African Cabernet; this was eventually replaced by J. Martini’s Sonoma Coast Cabernet. To mix things up, I’ve also favored a French Malbec, “Le Cèdre”. What I look for is warm fruit, good acidity and tannins – that is, a somewhat hearty wine able to be both drunk on its own or paired with the braises and stews I so enjoy during the cold months. My plonk pick Zinfandel has always been Rosenblum’s Vintner’s Cuvée, so when I came upon their Vintner’s Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon, I was intrigued, though the price – $7.99 – made me cautious. Choosing wines under $10 can be tricky – the bottle either a barely palatable anemic quaff or an overwrought fruit bomb. But not this wine. In the nose, lots of dark fruits and candied violets, earth and smoke underscored by a bit of green herbaceousness; the fruit carries over onto the palate with a nice dose of warm peppery spice followed by decent acidity and tannins; it actually has a somewhat lingering finish! Merlot – 10% of the cuvée – adds enough body to give the wine some heft. For the value-oriented, i.e. cheapo, wine shopper like myself, this wine is a find.
Whole Foods 340 River St. Camb. MA