A delicious red that compares well to Beaujolais crus, from an outstanding California winery, for ten bucks?
The best Beaujolais cru wines —Morgon, Fleurie, and Moulin-à-Vent— pair beautifully with fresh bread, cheese, and charcuterie. They also complement roasted or grilled chicken. At $20 per bottle and upwards.
So I was amazed to find a comparable red from J. Lohr, a classy outfit with upmarket reds, selling for $10-12 a bottle. The grape, similar to gamay noir, is valdiguié, genetically tagged to southwest France. Grown in in the cool windy Arroyo Seco valley, it yields an exceptional wine.
Best served at cellar temperature (55°F) or slightly chilled, it opens with dark berry and pomegranate flavors and a peppery bite. Slightly acid and mouthfilling, it's a great quaffing wine for summer evenings. The finish is clean with a hint of spice.
Like most gamay-based wines, it doesn't age well and should be enjoyed in 2-3 years from the vintage date.
If your local shop doesn't have it, pester them. It's worth the effort.