Wine Guy: Rock ‘n Roll Reds

The Wine Guy offers three reds that strum with vibrant energy, exude leather and spice vibes, are robust yet vigorous, and simply strike the right chord to start the night.

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Is anyone feeling the truce at the end of November? Darkness abounds, either because of the time change or because of the omnipresent clouds.


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And the holiday season is sure near, but before the holiday spirit is fully embraced, there may be reasons for an energizing vinous.

Cue the red rock ‘n’ roll. We’re talking about the kinds of wines that strum with vibrant energy, give off leather and spicy vibes, are robust yet vigorous, and simply strike the right chord to start the night.

Bodegas Peique Ramón Valle 2018 Mencía, Spain ($ 27.99, # 88060)

Oh boy this red sings It actually brings a more relaxing growl. Pouring deep garnet into the glass, with haunting intensity, this spunky red is all dark fruit, wood, leather, and herbs. Robust but vigorous with a long, tannin-infused finish, this is not an easy wine to classify. Which is testament to the captivating Mencía grape found in the northwestern Bierzo region of Spain, but also to this particular old strain, a 55-year-old vineyard planted by the patriarch of the Ramón Valle family. In short, this is the permanent 5 o’clock red wine that a leather jacket sports.


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Bottom line: A, Red wine rock in Spanish!

Laughing Stock Vineyards 2019 Syrah, British Columbia ($ 39.99, available through select winery and private wine stores)

This sassy red has all the vibes of wine, up to eleven (out of ten). There’s no holding back and yet this intense Syrah manages to walk the ledge, barely maintaining balance and elegance from start to finish. The attractive aromatics of berries are combined with herbs and a pepper aroma, mixed with toasted oak and other salty notes. This exuberance attributes credit to the winemaking process, which features whole berry co-fermentation with Viognier, in a 96/4 split, and prolonged aging in a blend of old and new French oak. Then open a bottle of grilled leg of lamb or game burgers.


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Bottom line: A, edgy with a cashmere finish

José Maria da Fonseca 2019 Periquita, Portugal ($ 10.99, # 25262)

Wine doesn’t have to cost a lot to be rock n ‘roll. It’s about style; and attitude. The parakeet has been a common choice for a long time; in fact, it is said to be the first red wine to be bottled in Portugal, beginning in 1850. And what this red lacks in complexity it makes up for in character, with hints of black fruit and powdery herbs. . A blend of traditional Castelão, Trincadeira and Aragonez grapes, it features a bit of roughness around the edges before the sweet fruit builds up, finishing with a hint of sandy tannins with a hint of cinnamon.

Bottom line: B, pair with heavy guitars

The Swirl: Drinking Advent Calendars

December has practically arrived. So if there is an advent calendar in your future, you better hurry. Fortunately, adult advent calendar options have expanded significantly in recent years. Deals range from JP Chenet’s 24 200ml Bottles of Wine and Bubbles ($ 159.99, # 351828) to the Yalliday Advent Calendar with 24 Hey Y’all Cans ($ 51.29, # 347755). Or look at local wineries to count the days, for example, with OCP’s Advent Calendar and its 12 full-size bottles celebrating the 12 Days of Crush-mas (regularly $ 345.80, visit for full details).



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