In these difficult economic times, we wine geeks with short pockets must do a better job of hunting down the great values. Traditionally, I have looked to South America for dirt cheap deals on deliciously drinkable wines.
At one time, Chile was a great place to find fantastic values. Then the secret got out, and Chilean bottles went up in cost — allowing Argentina to arrive as an affordable area for the adventurous. But of course, eventually enough people discovered Argentina, driving the prices up. While the see-saw continues today, I'm happy to report that nicely priced daily drinkers are still available from both countries — but they take a little more time and effort to unearth.
In this case, you need to look away from the better-known producers and toward the Rapel Valley, an area which has a history of producing fine red wines based on the Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The winery is “Rayun” and it's not always found on the eye-level shelves of the wine shop — so stoop down and check the lower levels and the bargain bins (use your knees, so you don't hurt your back!). At around seven or eight bucks, it's a good value.
Tasting Notes: Rayun Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Open nose of dirty earth, tobacco, green bell pepper, some black fruit (cassis, blackberry). Smooth texture, almost creamy mouthfeel. Good ripe black fruit flavor — blackberry, cassis, black raspberry — with a hint of spice and mild earth. Acidity and tannins are about equal, both mild to medium and in fair balance to the fruit level. A nice, soft, red wine that is a decent choice as an everyday drinker. About what you would expect from an under-$10 Chilean Cab — tastes more like a Merlot. Enjoy it alone or with mild cheeses, pasta in marinara, turkey burgers, simple “bistro” fare.
a-7 t-7 b-9 fc-9 v-8 ~ 90 points