Recycle Bin, Week Of Feb 1

Boom! Values represent! This week we have a handful of reds that overdeliver and undercharge. Enjoy people!

2013 Columbia Crest Merlot Columbia Valley $9
Chocolate never tasted so good in wine. Full-bodied, easy drinking friend ready to accompany any bold fare. Simple, but beoadly appealing, well-made, and a sizzling bargain. Bravo to this company that continues to turn out value after value. 

2014 Castle Rock Pinot Noir Willamette Valley $13
It's highly unusual to see a Pinot Noir priced at this low anymore. Even more unusual that it's drinkable, which this is- and then some. Blissfully lacking what has become the typical syrupy nonsense of most entry-level Pinot Noir today, this actually has a bit of structure, restraint, and layered nuance including some smoke and dried citrus rind. Why would I spend more than $20 on a gloppy California alternative when this is so pleasant and inexpensive?

2012 Castle Rock Pinot Noir California Cuvée $9
Even more impressive is the bargain of the year California cuvée. Medium bodied with similar extraction, this wine is simply a joy to drink thanks in no small part two its diminutive price tag. Warm, round cherry fruit is framed by some pleasant acidity and finishes long and creamy. Think California character without the gloppy syrup that is so typical today. When thinking of this in the context of most pinot noir out there )at more than $20), it is mind blowing.  Case buy. At least. 

2013 Ventisquero Grey Carmenere Trinidad Vineyard Maipo Valley Chile $20
Pretty and poised, thanks to its cleanliness. Everything is in its place with this one; no frayed edges or loose ends. And it has enough gentle acidity and tannic energy to complement a meal. It stops try of being green or vegetal, and you have to like it for that.

2013 Ventisquero Grey Cabernet Trinidad Vineyard Maipo Valley Chile $20
A lot of elegance for the money. Expressively perfumed with strong notes of dark tar laid over fresh Mediterranean herbs and dried brush. Terrifically friendly and appealing on the pallet with well-defined and tasty midweight fruit. The clean body rounds out with some pretty vegetal secondary notes and delicate acidity. A well integrated wine that's easy to like.  Even better with savory foods.