Rondel Brut Cava

Rondel Cava

The Value Vine is kicking off the summer with our first review of a sparkling wine—specifically, a Spanish Cava. Like French Champagne, Spanish Cava is fermented (and develops its carbonation) in the bottle. Those who like their bubbles big will like this Rondel—no subtle carbonation here. Very dry, with a restrained nose and palate offering up subtle notes of green apple and sourdough bread. Not much depth, but a simple and enjoyable summer sparkler.

Artazuri Garnacha

Artazuri Garnacha 2009

With a nose that made one of us think of decaying wood on a forest floor, an acidic palate, and a bold sour cherry flavor, this Spanish Garnacha might be a little tough to appreciate, especially compared to the Borsao Garnacha we reviewed last week. But those who like their wines a little earthy—maybe even a little wild—will find much to appreciate here. Though at the top of our price range, the Artazuri earns three stars.

Borsao Garnacha

Borsao Garnacha 2010

Until now, the 2009 vintage of this wine was, at $5.99, the least expensive wine to receive a three-star rating from us. Despite inflation in nearly every other consumer sector over the last year, the 2010 vintage of the Borsao still sells for $5.99. And, we are pleased to report, it is every bit the bargain that the 2009 was. (more…)

Luzon Jumilla Red Wine

#84 front

Though a bit restrained immediately upon opening, after a short while the nose reveals a bright berry mix, licorice, tobacco, and some light minerality. On the palate, it’s mostly the same, with balanced acidity and lingering tannins.

Castano Solanera

#79 front

The five years of bottle aging has not been kind to this one. (It rarely is for wines at this price point.) It’s leathery, dusty, and even a bit moldy. A blend of 65% Monastrell, 20% Cabernet, and 15% Tintorera.