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A rare MoCo bargain on a ‘simply’ delicious Spanish red blend

A good sale price in Montgomery County, combined with an oddly high price at one District wine shop has created the rare occasion when MoCo buyers can pay half of what DC shoppers pay for this delicious Spanish red blend.
A good sale price in Montgomery County, combined with an oddly high price at one District wine shop has created the rare occasion when MoCo buyers can pay half of what DC shoppers pay for this delicious Spanish red blend.
Rob Garretson

When our favorite blogger, The Wine Curmudgeon, praised an $8 Spanish red blend as perfect for kicking off grilling season, he raised doubts about its availability, so we didn’t give it a second thought. But we did when Washington Post columnist Dave McIntyre recommended the same wine in Wednesday‘s paper under the heading “5 patio wines to try.”

Los Dos from Bodegas Aragonesas is a blend from Spain’s Campo de Borja district, which produces an array of good, inexpensive wines made from garnacha, the Spanish name for the grape called grenache in France, and widely planted in the southern Rhone Valley. (Think Bodegas Borsao.) Like many Rhone blends, Los Dos includes a 15 percent splash of syrah, which according to McIntrye is “to tame the juiciness and give the wine minerality and heft.”

“Kirsch and licorice flavors mingle with smoke and coffee notes in this juicy red, which features moderate tannins and balanced acidity,” writes Wine Spectator’s Thomas Matthews in the June 15, 2014 issue (thanks to the magic of online publishing). “Fresh and clean,” he calls the 2012 vintage designated as one of the magazine’s Best Values.

Jeff Siegel, a.k.a. the Wine Curmudgeon, doesn’t find it quite so complex, calling it “too simple” to qualify for his $10 Hall of Fame. “But it delivers much, much more than its $8 cost,” he writes. “Look for garnacha-style red fruit (cherry?) and a certain richness in the mouth.”

Siegel is a favorite of ours because of his down-to-earth perspective on wine and his enthusiasm for cheap wine. (His term, not ours. We like to think of it as “value wine” or fine wine that happens to be inexpensive.) But we part company with his mild dis’ of this wine; “simple” is a characteristic that many casual wine drinkers appreciate. Many wine drinkers can do without the “minerality” or “smoke and coffee notes” that they probably don’t detect anyway.

“Still, if you can find the Los Dos, it’s worth buying,” Siegel writes, redeeming himself in our eyes. “It’s clean and professional, and someone tried for balance when making it, which isn’t usually the case with wines targeted for the U.S.”

Where the Post’s McIyntre and The Wine Curmudgeon are in lockstep is that Los Dos is a good companion to the backyard grills that are firing up all over town, now that warm spring weather has finally arrived in Washington.

“Stock up on this and put some burgers and sausages on the grill,” suggests McIntyre. “This is a food wine, for red meat and barbeque, and a very pleasant and welcome surprise,” Siegel agrees. “Assuming we can find it on a store shelf, of course.”

An not only can you find it on store shelves—it’s distributed locally by Winebow, which has very good penetration in the District, Maryland and Virginia—but it’s on sale through the end of the month at Montgomery County Liquor stores for just $7.49 a bottle (regularly $8.65). And it’s still a good buy for $7.99 a bottle at Cairo Wine & Liquor or even $8.99 Calvert Woodley or at Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore.

[Compare prices and find these wines online or at a store near you nationwide.]

Just don’t buy it for the $14.99 they’re asking at Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits (especially when there are always so many outstanding bargains available there). It’s regrettably not uncommon for Montgomery County resident to pay twice as much for a wine available in DC or Virginia for half the price. This is one of those truly rare occasions when the reverse is possible.

Cheers!

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