Food & Drink

This $13 Spanish red will provide a delightful match for all your grilled food

With summer in full throttle, it’s time for red wines that can match foods from the grill without overpowering us with weight or alcohol. This week’s greatest value is a delightful mencia from Spain, a bargain at $13. Those with more substantial appetites will want to try the Babylonstoren Babel, which might get you talking about the quality of South African wines. Give these a slight chill before drinking. And because you’ll need to slake your thirst while the grill is heating up, we have a delicious chardonnay from Spain, as well as a Provence rosé and a sangria in cans.

• Señorío de la Antigua Finca Cabanela Mencia 2015: Two-and-a-half stars; Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon, Spain, $13. Here’s a delightful, inexpensive red from Spain, which continues to offer terrific bargains. It is savory, with notes of wild herbs and cherries and perhaps a hint of boxwood. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.

• Babylonstoren Babel 2017: Two-and-a-half stars; Western Cape, South Africa, $22. Shiraz (syrah) and cabernet sauvignon are about half of this delicious red blend, with the rest malbec, petit verdot, merlot, cabernet franc and pinotage. Pinotage is a South African signature, but the recipe otherwise follows no convention. Bright fruit, bracing acidity and a nice long finish make this a great wine for red meat or grilled chicken. ABV: 14 percent.

• Otazu Chardonnay 2018: Two stars; Navarra, Spain, $14. Chardonnay from Spain? Why not? Everyone else is growing it. And Otazu does it well, medium-bodied with flavors of ripe peaches and apricots and a slight note of bitterness at the end. It is fermented in stainless steel instead of wooden barrels to preserve the freshness. ABV: 13.5 percent.

• Begonia Sangria Tinto: Two stars; Spain, $17 per 4-pack of 330-milliliter cans. After a long Sunday afternoon stuck in traffic on Interstate 95 in Virginia, I got home too late and too tired to consider opening a bottle of wine. Luckily, I had a can of Begonia Sangria on hand. Poured over ice with a splash of sparkling water, it helped lift the weariness of the day off my shoulders. Granted, I’d prefer it mixed with sparkling wine on a not-too-hot summer’s day on the patio with friends, but I’ll take what I can get. This is a blend of monastrell and bobal grapes, macerated with Valencia orange peels, Azahar flowers, cinnamon and cardamom. Begonia sells this red, along with a white and rosé Sangria, in 1-liter bottles as well. ABV: 6 percent.

• Amble + Chase Rosé 2018: Two stars; Provence, $22 per 4-pack of 250ml cans. This is a tasty Provence rosé conveniently packaged for portability and portion control. (A four-pack is a liter, so three cans equal a traditional bottle at the equivalent price of about $16.50. The good side here - you’re not sacrificing quality for the convenience of the can. ABV: 12.5 percent.

• Three stars: Exceptional; Two stars: Excellent; One star: Very good. Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

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