Red wines get better with age.
That old chestnut of wine wisdom has been making the rounds for years, right up there with always serve white wine with fish and never wear white pants to a wine tasting.
Actually, I made that last one up, but given my track record with food and clothes, I’d say it’s a good recommendation for many messy eaters like myself.
But otherwise, you can throw most of the wine rules out the window.
Many red wines taste great with fish. (Pinot Noir and salmon go perfectly together.)
White wines should always be served cold. (Let a great Chardonnay warm up a little.)
And while many red wines do get better with age, some of them taste just fine soon after they were bottled.
Part of this might have to do with changing tastes and the way wine is made nowadays in many parts of the world.
Most people don’t have vast wine cellars where they can store fine wines for decades.
Instead, many people buy wines when they need them.
I can say this was certainly the case when I worked in a wine store a decade ago. Some people would come in to buy wine because they were having someone over for dinner. If I suggested buying one or two additional wines instead of a single bottle – just in case anyone wanted more wine – many people looked at me like I had two heads.
In response, some people would ask what should I do with the wine if no one drinks it?
You can save the other bottles and drink them another night, I replied.
Again, more blank stares.
But that’s the way some people approach wine. It’s simply something they buy when they need one.
In response, many winemakers have started making wine designed to be consumed soon after it’s bottled.
I once read an interview with a winemaker in France’s Burgundy region who said he was no longer going to make wines the way his father made them – wines designed to be aged for decades. Instead, he planned to make wines people can drink now.
And over the years, many wine makers have personally told me they believe most of their wines can be enjoyed soon after someone buys them.
I still believe certain wines benefit from a few years (or sometimes many more) of aging, especially when it comes to some French, Italian or Spanish red wines.
But for the most part, I’ve come around to the opinion that many young, red wines taste delicious now.
That’s why I wanted to highlight three, young red wines ready to be enjoyed right away.
One’s from California. The other two are from France and Italy.
Best of all, these three wines are readily available and very affordable. They range in price from just under $8 a bottle to $16 a bottle.
Whichever wine you choose, I hope you enjoy these young guns ready to show us old guys a few new tricks.
WINES RECOMMENDED THIS WEEK
2020 Bonterra Young Red ($16 Suggested Retail Price)
2019 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 90 Plus Cellars ($9.99 at Table & Vine in West Springfield)
2019 House Red Cabernet Sauvignon ($7.99 at Table & Vine)
WINE TASTING NOTES
2020 Bonterra Young Red
Region – Mendocino County, California
Grapes – Blend of Grenache and Malbec
Tasting Notes – This was the wine that initially inspired this column. I will admit I was a bit skeptical about such a young wine. But I fell in love on the first sip. This bright, lively, dry wine made with organic grapes has vibrant fruit flavors (hints of raspberry and blackberry) without being sweet or overpowering or overwhelming. The winemaker recommends serving this wine slightly chilled. However, I found the wine tasted just fine at room temperature. Then again, we do keep our house pretty cool. A truly wonderful wine perfect for lazy summer afternoons or evenings.
2019 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 90 Plus Cellars
Region – Abruzzo, Italy
Grapes – Montepulciano
Tasting Notes – 90 Plus Cellars has a knack for finding great, affordable wines from around the world. Last year, I raved about a French red wine from this winery. This Italian wine from the Abruzzo region on Italy’s Adriatic coast is another home run. This wine will appeal to people who enjoy their wines on the very dry side. Austere and understated, this powerful wine has hints of dried blackberries, toasted almonds and other dense flavors that seem to last forever after each sip. Perfect on a cold spring night or with robust foods that require a substantial wine.
2019 House Red Cabernet Sauvignon
Region – Pays D’Oc, France
Grapes – Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting Notes – I started writing this wine column nine years ago primarily in search of affordable wines, especially ones that cost less than $10 dollars a bottle. That search has become harder over the years, especially as prices slowly start to climb higher. Fortunately, such great wines still exist. And I’m always thrilled when I find great new ones. This showstopper from France hits all the right notes. Straight out the bottle, this wine has subtle fruit flavors (cherry, raspberry) and a vibrant, light finish. Very quickly, those flavors become more understated, more graceful, more elegant. A truly great wine at an absolutely unbelievable price.