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Best bets for bargain reds

I'm so happy! NOTHING better sets my clock than discovering a well-researched, completely credible list of really good but cheap red wine. Don't misunderstand: Plenty of well-meaning folk have recommended this or that vino, swearing to me that it's the next Russian Valley 98-point Wine Spectator find.

Often it's just cheap rot-gut.

Okay, maybe not every recommendation for a low-priced red has made the bile rise up, but you get the picture. That why it's such a pleasure - and treasure - to have such a list serendipitously come across the Wine Wench's desk. Actually, I came across it on a wine site called www.bargainredwines.com  (via a blog called Vinography - one of the best and best-written in the biz) and recount it in its entirety below.

It's a terrific compilation on several counts: The data used to create the list came from a select group of bloggers and was procured from blind tasting competitions. Furthermore, I've had four out of 10 of these wines and the reasons I get them are simple: They are inexpensive, they are versatile and delicious; and they are relatively easy enough to find.

The beauty of extraordinary, studiously created lists like these is that we don't have to do the work. We just get to enjoy the beverage. It's like having someone write your term paper for you or acting as your fake fiancé at your mean cousin's wedding.

So put this one on your smart phone or print it out and tuck it in your wallet. If you love a "find" when it comes to terrific, inexpensive red wines, this may be the best list made in the last 10 years.

Here goes:

2006 Monte Antico Toscana IGT (Italy), $11
2007 Waterbrook Melange Noir (Washington), $14
2007 Bodega Norton Reserva Malbec (Argentina), $16
2008 Bodegas Borsao Red (Spain), $8
2008 Bodegas Borsao Monte Oton (Spain), $8 (2009 vintage now available and more common than 2008)
2008 O. Fournier Urban Maule Blend (Chile), $11
2009 Perrin et Fils Cotes due Rhone Villages (France), $12
2008 Alamos Malbec (Argentina), $11 (2009 and 2010 more common)
2008 Bodegas Borsaw Tres Picos Garnacha (Spain), $16

One Winning Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting Benefit

Organixx Restaurant, 1520 Blake St., Denver, will host a Wine Tasting Benefit for the Orphans Hope Network on July 28 at 6 p.m. The cost includes three red and three white organic wines and organic hors d'oeuvres. The Orphans Hope Network identifies the medical needs of orphanages in the developing world; connecting resources from health care professionals, religious groups, communities, and donors; providing vulnerable children with a healthy start in life and hope for a brighter future. Call 303.825.1550 for further information.

Weird Wine Trivia
Thomas Jefferson helped stock the wine cellars of the first five U.S. presidents and was very partial to fine Bordeaux and Madeira.

To prevent a sparkling wine from foaming out of the glass, pour an ounce, which will settle quickly. Pouring the remainder of the serving into this starter will not foam as much.

In King Tut's Egypt (around 1300 BC), the commoners drank beer and the upper class drank wine.

When Leif Ericsson landed in North America in A.D. 1001, he was so impressed by the proliferation of grapevines that he named it Vinland.

Cork was developed as a bottle closure in the late 17th century. It was only after this that bottles were lain down for aging and the bottle shapes slowly changed from short and bulbous to tall and slender.

Grapevines cannot reproduce reliably from seed. To cultivate a particular grape variety, grafting (a plant version of cloning) is used.
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