Monday, April 23, 2007

The Joys of an Easy Drinking Red

Red wines can be demanding drinking partners, with their high alcohol levels, robust flavor profiles, and dizzying array of rich fruit flavors, not to mention the veritable spice cabinet that can emerge due to oak fermentation and bottle aging. It's one of the reasons that red wines are so popular.

But sometimes you want a red that is a little more easy to drink. In the wine biz, these wines are often called "approachable" because they exhibit rich fruit flavors that are comforting and draw you into the bottle. I had one of these approachable red blends from a superb Santa Barbara producer named Core Wine. Core is the brainchild of Dave and Becky Corey, who believe that "the core of every wine begins in the vineyard."

The 2004 Core 163 ($12.99/375ml, Mission Wines; 750ml under $25 at many other merchants) is an outstanding, non-demanding red blend. It has a grenache base, which makes for lovely aromas of flowers and red berries. Sipping the wine reveals more of these flavors, and as the wine opens up in the glass there are notes of rich, milky chocolate with hints of herbs and cinnamon. Just 620 cases of this wine were made.

The 2004 Core 163 blend is just plain yummy, and represents very good QPR with its abundant grenache varietal profile complemented with the aromas and flavors of syrah and mourvedre. Serve it with something simple and flavorful, like this great Korean barbeque pork accompanied by steamed rice or noodles (the leftovers make great sandwiches the next day).


winedeb said...

My husband is a "cab" man all the way and I am not. Oh I do not want to say I do not like a good cab with a grilled out steak, but when you just want to sit and sip awhile on a cool spring evening, then I prefer a little lighter, and like you said, approachable red. Any suggestions for this side of the country, like Ohio?

Dr. Debs said...

Gosh, Deb, the last time I was in Ohio was 2002. I'm not your gal for wine recs in that part of the country, but just ask someone in the store what they suggest. And based on my LA tasting yesterday, ask if they have any Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, or Mendocino red blends in the store. That should give you some good options.

Anonymous said...

Try "Chasing Clouds" Australian wine at Trader Joe's. It is shiraz, more complex compared to Pinot Noir, but equally easy drinking.

Dr. Debs said...

Syrah/shiraz is often in the easiest drinking reds. Thanks for the tip!