Friends frequently ask me for wine recommendations in the $10 range. It’s not hard to find drinkable wines in this price range, but it is hard to find wines that offer something memorable.
Every once in a while, I stumble across some cheap wines that I find delicious and also telling of their region’s story. I recently tasted two Riojas (a white and a red) that fit this bill.
A project from Goelet Wine Estates (which owns Napa’s Clos du Val), deAlto Amo makes some solid, entry-level versions of this classic Spanish wine. The white is a blend of Vuira and Chardonnay, the red a mix of Tempranillo and Garnacha.
Here are my notes on the wines...
2012 deAlto Amo Rioja Blanco - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
Smells of oyster shell and white flowers on top of green apple and kiwi, a hint of vanilla and honey. Focused acid, the white peach and green apple fruit is crisp and crunchy but the wine also shows creamy honey, almond and white tea accents. A good amount of complexity, with a medium finish. 75% Viura and 25% Chardonnay. (86 points)
2012 deAlto Amo Rioja - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
Nose of black cherries, raspberry jam, some vanilla and toasted oak. Ripe red and black berry fruit on the palate, a silky frame, medium acid. Cherry cola, sweet pecans and mocha coat the fruit. A fun, easygoing blend of 70% Tempranillo and 30% Garnacha. Not very complex or cellar-worthy, but this wine delivers juicy, Rioja goodness. (85 points)