When you’re spending time on the back deck barbecuing with friends and family, you don’t want to think too much about your wines. In particular, you certainly don’t want to worry about what is going to break your budget.
Fortunately, here in the Northwest, we can still find plenty of red wines that retail for $15 or less. And even better: The prices listed for all of these are the suggested retail price. Because the wine marketplace is so competitive, you’ll usually find these for a dollar or more less.
And if you purchase a case of wine at a time (it can be a mixed case or all the same bottles), you’ll likely merit another 10 to 15 percent discount.
Ask for these at your favorite wine merchant or grocery, or contact the wineries directly.
Indian Creek Winery 2012 Syrah, Snake River Valley, $15: Winemaker Mike McClure’s work with this Rhône variety offers dark tones of toasted bread, smoky plum and bacon, backed by boysenberry acidity that makes for good length and balance. (13.9 percent alc.)
Waterbrook Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $13: This red from one of Walla Walla's oldest wineries rates as one of state’s best yet expressions of Cab from the 2013 vintage. A whiff of alder smoke leads to hints of black currant, black cherry, plums on parchment paper and chocolate shavings. The palate show impeccable balance with ripe, smooth and dark tones of black cherry, plum and dark chocolate. (14.1 percent alc.)
Hogue Cellars 2012 Genesis Syrah, Columbia Valley, $15: This example of Syrah opens with aromas of blackberry, black cherry and cola with toffee and minerality. Alluring flavors of Marionberry and dark cherry lead into moderate tannins and rich blueberry acidity. (13.5 percent alc.)
Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2013 The Expedition Red Blend, Horse Heaven Hills, $15: This is an affordable blend that leads with Merlot. The sweet nose of baked cherry pie, plum, horehound and menthol leads to a profile of ripe purple fruit akin to blueberry and pomegranate with a light to medium structure and smooth flavors. (13.8 percent alc.)
Seven Falls Cellars 2011 Merlot, Wahluke Slope, $15: This young project by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates uses grapes entirely from the warm Wahluke Slope. Aromas of lightly roasted coffee, chocolate and vanilla with notes of boysenberry and black cherry give way to flavors of red plum, ripe Bing cherry, graham cracker and a pinch of fresh mint. (14 percent alc.)
Sharecropper's Wine Co. 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $15: There’s not much influence from oak as the nose hints at cherry, president plum and red currant as well as saddle leather and alfalfa. The structure continues to lean toward high-toned red fruit with dashes of pomegranate, cherry candy and currant. It finishes with racy acidity, light-to-medium tannins, a splash of drip coffee and a pinch of oregano. (13 percent alc.)
Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com.