Spanish red wine is a category that's offering some of the better-tasting bargains available right now.
Jumillas, Tempranillios, blends. If you talk to your wine merchant about what kind of wine you like, and ask him to recommend some Spanish reds that meet your criteria, you can score some incredible deals.
We're already written about the Garnacha de Fuego and the Panarroz, both of which are under $10 and getting high ratings.
A friend gave us a bottle of Loxarel Ops 2005 that we uncorked over the weekend to our considerable delight. The wine is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and Tempranillo grapes and is named for the goddess of plenty.
This might be the only wine that delivers a hint of green pepper in the aroma and overwhelming vanilla and berries in the flavor. It's also a bit spicy, with a little cinnamon coming through after it sits in your mouth for a second or two.
The grapes and the winery are both in the Penedes region of Spain, near the Mediterranean coast, just outside Girona in the northeast.
We've not seen this wine in our local store, but if you're lucky enough to spot a bottle, you can pick it up for about $10.
It goes well with Mediterranean dishes, particularly the spicier ones.