Wine of the Week: Spring cleaning, pt. 2

Last week, I was lamenting how many wine samples show up this time of year. Lest you take pity on me (and I doubt that you do), I actually love going through all of these sample to discover some hidden gems and genuine values. I also believe I have an obligation to the nice people who go out of their way to ship their wines my way.

Each week, the boxes are opened and the wines are organized into groups, and then sampled to see which wines I think will make the cut. For those wines that don’t fall into any specific topic or theme, I set them aside for “later” and hope that I can slide them in somewhere.

But now I have a pile of good wines and no theme, so what the heck: It’s time for spring cleaning, and a little of this and a little of that — and all for under $20.

Last week, we explored two wonderful white wines that fit the bill. This week, I share two of my favorite red wines in the under $20 category.

The 2018 Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignon from California is, well, good, and a great value for an easy-drinking, food-friendly cabernet. Made from grapes sourced from vineyards throughout California, it delivers abundant plum, cherry and chocolate notes across the palate and ends with a pleasing hint of licorice on the medium finish. $14

If you’re looking to wake up your wine palate with a Spanish wine, the 2016 Vina Real Crianza from the Rioja appellation of Spain just might do the trick. It is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuela grapes. It sports a rich bouquet of black plums and tobacco. Stylish flavors of blackberry, dark plum and cherry dominate the palate. Lovely notes of licorice and tobacco mingle with soft tannins and bright acidity to provide remarkable balance and structure on the lingering finish. All this for $17.

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