As summer fades to fall, most wine drinkers are on the hunt for robust reds to fend off any chills (inner and outer) and as a match for heartier dishes. This can range from a grilled burger to Mediterranean-style flatbread, short ribs, and pan-friend filet mignon.

Our search for new values over the past few months turned up wine from five countries made from a dozen different varietals, including in blends, to suit most tastes. The sources included local grocery stores, online flash sale sites, neighborhood merchants, and Costco. Newer vintages may be available for some of these wines, which would be worth trying to see how they match in style and quality – always a fun adventure!

Seghesio 2021 Zinfandel

  • Value organic California 2020 Bonterra Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon ($12, on sale, grocery store). Mid-garnet, viscous (13.9 alc.); herbaceous, cassis, licorice, berry nose; mid acids; mid tannins; decent fruit; semi-long berry finish. w/burgers. 15.5 UC Davis scale, 89 other scales.
  • $18 value (local merchant) Paso Robles red 2020 Ancient Peaks Renegade (67% Syrah, 27 Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec). Sharp mid garnet, viscous (14.7 alc.); red fruit, peppery, ripe grape, oak nose; low-mid acids; mid tannins/fruit; semi-long, semi-hot red fruit finish. w/beef stew. 15.5/89.
  • Value 2021 Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel Sonoma County ($19, grocery store). Sharp, mid-garnet, viscous (15.0 alc.); ripe grape, prune, brambles, manzanita nose; low-mid acids; mid-tannins; round, ripe, good fruit and finish. w/just about anything. 16/90.
  • $20 (Total Wine) Right Bank value 2019 Château de la Chapelle Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux. 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sharp mid-dark garnet, viscous (14.0 alc.); smokey, cocoa, herbaceous, red fruit and wood nose; mid acids; mid+ tannins; some style; balanced earthy wood and berry finish. w/beef. 16/90.
  • $23 (Vivino) Portuguese value 2021 Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo Douro Reserva. Dark purple, viscous (14.0 alc.); red fruit, pomegranate, pepper, wood nose; mid acids/tannins; balanced; good fruit; semi-long red fruit finish. w/flat breads. 16/90.
  • $24 (Wine Access) Alexander Valley, Calif., 2019 Franklin Son Père Zinfandel. Mid-ruby, brick edges, viscous (14.8 alc.); red fruit, bramble, ripe grape nose; mid acids, mid+ tannins; good berry and bramble finish; a little hot. w/beef stew. 16/90.
  • $25 Napa red 2019 Hill Family Estate “The Barrel Blend” (Costco). Mid garnet, viscous (14.8 alc.); ripe grape, berries, cassis nose; mid acids; mid+tannins; good fruit; semi-long berry and black fruit finish, a little hot. w/grilled meats. 16-16.5/90-91.
  • $25 (Total Wine) Spanish BBQ, grill wine. 2019 Torres Ribera del Duero Céleste Crianza Pago del Cielo. 100% Tempranillo. Mid-dark garnet, viscous (14.5 alc.); black fruit, fig, tar, wood nose; mid acids; mid+ tannins; good fruit; long, semi-deep, semi-hot berry, and wood finish. 16/90.
  • Tasty $32 (Costco) Margaux 2019 Château Siran. Mid-garnet, viscous (14.0 alc.); smokey, earthy, red and black fruit, herbaceous nose; mid acids; mid+ tannins; semi-tight, slightly hot, woody finish. w/flank steak. 16./90.
  • Lodi, Calif., Jahant AVA 2019 LangeTwins Petite Sirah One Hundred ($32, Lodi Wine Club). Dark purple, viscous (15.0 alc.); ripe grape, jam, tar, wood nose; low-mid acids; mid tannins; long, round, ripe, semi-hot finish. BBQ and rib wine. 17/92.
  • Fine Valle de Uco, Mendoza, 2012 Bodegas Salentein Cabernet Sauvignon Primus ($34 on sale in 2020, local merchant). Similar to previous notes. Mid-dark garnet, brick edges, viscous (14.5 alc.); smokey, berries, oak, saline nose; mid acids/tannins; medium-full body; long semi-chewy red fruit finish. w/rib eye. 16.5-17/91-92.
  • Napa 2018 Grgich Hills Zinfandel ($38, local merchant). Mid-dark garnet, viscous (14.5 alc.); berry, bramble, wood nose; mid acids; mid+tannins; long, rich, chewy finish; opens with air. w/ribs. 16.5/91.