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Wine Review: Don’t skip red wines as weather heats up

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I recently wrote about white wines for spring and how they reflect the coming of the warm weather seasons. While writing that, I believe I more or less threw red wines under the bus in a host of accolades for white and rose wines.

I neglected the important place red wines play during the warmer seasons and in their most popular use: as the accompaniment to outdoor grilling. While lighter foods such as salads and omelets do not do well on a grill, red meats and poultry most certainly do, and that is where a red wine becomes the order of the day.

To remedy my snubbing of the red wines and as an apology, I would like to introduce the reader to some red wines that are perfect for the outdoor chef and that also will not fracture the budget. Please remember that the prices I quote are the manufacturer's suggested price, and these wines can often be found at much lower costs.

Kin Alkina 2022 Shiraz ($36)
Australia has suffered several seasons of extreme drought that have greatly limited their wine exports. This wine can prove that Australian wines are back and still at their former high quality. This wine was made from a red grape variety that has become almost synonymous with Australia: the shiraz. The Kin Alkina 2022 Shiraz is a dark ruby-red wine with a rich and full raspberry and blackberry aroma. The flavor embodies the raspberry and blackberry fruit flavors, as well as a spicy, peppery element that ends in a moderately long, fruity finish.

Mascota Unanime Merlot 2018 ($26)
From Australia, we remain in the southern hemisphere and journey to Argentina for our next red wine selection. Merlot wines have been hit hard by some of the poorer versions that were quickly made to take advantage of the variety’s sudden popularity several years ago. A close relative of the cabernet sauvignon, the Unanime 2018 Merlot is a perfect partner for grilled foods as it accompanies them well and does not overpower or affect them. The aroma of this wine is complex, encompassing an ever-changing kaleidoscope of ripe berry, kumquat, cocoa butter, plum and spice, with cedar, oak and vanilla in the background. That follows through to the finish where it lingers on the palate for a long time.

Unanime Gran Vino Tinto 2017 ($26)
This offering – a blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 25% malbec and 15% cabernet franc – presents a cherry red color, complex aromas such as blackberry, blueberry, tobacco and chocolate and a suggestion of spice and black pepper. This wine is a blend that should not be missed by cabernet or red wine enthusiasts as it is a perfect example of the results of intuitive blending.

Bodegas Montecillo 2017 Crianza Tinto ($15)
This wine comes from Spain and its price does not do justice to the quality. This is an excellent red wine that has been made from Spain's favorite red wine grape, the tempranillo, which has been blended with 15% garnacha, another Spanish favorite. The color is a vibrant red, which announces the aromas of cherry, plum and other dark red fruits. As the wine sits in the glass, the aromas seem to become more intense. The aroma stresses the red summer fruits that carry on to the finish and with a hint of oak and vanilla. This wine has the often-sought finish of a red wine called “silky,” a smoothness that is usually found in red wines selling for much more than this wine's price.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at


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