Wine of the Week

An embarrassment of riches: great red wines under $12 a bottle

Wine of the Week

Did the world's wine companies suddenly have an epiphany? Or did some of the better places wake up and realize that the majority of wine lovers don't cruise home to their 20,000-square-foot houses to casually pop the cork of a nice $100 bottle of wine? For some reason, winemakers have been trying to dominate the upscale .01% market, leaving the bread-and-butter territory to Australian companies with cute animals on the label. But something happened, and hallelujah! We have recently been inundated with really good wines under $12.

The first one to grab our attention is from Argentina. Bodega Ruca Malén's Yauquen Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon ($11.99) reflects the owners' and winemakers' French wine background. It's an elegant wine with just the perfect flavors for grilled beef. Close your eyes, and you might guess you are drinking a $25 Bordeaux! At the other end of the stylistic curve, anyone who loves the old style Sonoma Zinfandels – thick, dense, jammy, and packed with dark berry aromas – will think they've stepped through a time portal to the mid-Sixties when they taste the new Barefoot Zinfandel ($6.99). Its only downside is it's a little too oaky, but then, so were the old Sonoma Zins. Columbia Crest is always dependable, but they have knocked it out of the park with their Grand Estates Amitage ($11.99), a brilliant blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. Finally, anyone out there who, like me, thinks Texas summers demand cold wines must try the bone-dry Spanish Rosé called El Coto Rioja Rosado ($8), a full-bodied wine with extravagant strawberry and cherry aromas.

The Yauquen is available at Central Market, and all the rest of the wines are widely available at wine shops.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
MORE wine
Ladies’ Night: Women-Owned Wines for Valentine’s Day
Ladies’ Night: Women-Owned Wines for Valentine’s Day
Toast your bae any Valen-time with these Austin-based brands

Melanie Haupt, Feb. 10, 2023

Wine Tastings for When You’re Short on Time
Wine Tastings for When You’re Short on Time
Afternoon wine flight

Melanie Haupt, Oct. 14, 2022

More Food Reviews
Exploring the McNeil Crossing Strip Mall
Exploring the McNeil Crossing Strip Mall
Exceptional forays into Indian and Vietnamese cuisine, plus a short trip to Subway

Taylor Holland, April 12, 2024

Review: Zoé Tong Is Making Dinner Fun
Zoé Tong Is Making Dinner Fun
Modern Chinese restaurant brings to Zilker big flavors, sincere hospitality, and a ballsy refusal to be boxed in

Taylor Tobin, April 5, 2024

More Wine of the Week
Wine of the Week
Superb Spanish Wines at Bargain Prices
Superb Spanish wines at bargain prices: Bodegas Franco-Españolas reds

Wes Marshall, Oct. 18, 2013

Wine of the Week
Wine of the Week
Homefront Red: grapes for a good cause

Wes Marshall, Sept. 20, 2013

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Bodega Ruca Malén, Yauquen, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barefoot, Zinfandel, Columbia Crest, Grand Estates Amitage, El Coto Rioja Rosado

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle