Feeling a little more on the bargain end of the wine-lover’s spectrum, tonight I tried a very affordable bottle (4.99) from the makers of one of my stand-by Trader Joe’s favorites (the Epicuro Aglianico). This juicy red, the 2009 Salice Salentino, made in Apulia, a region in “the heel of the boot” of Italy, is a bit sweeter than what I usually drink, but is a perfect fit as a recommendation for those who are not crazy about ultra-dry reds. With a nose of very ripe blackberries and peppery wood, this wine was just as jammy as a berry-laden California Zinfandel. Made from 80% Negroamaro (one of Italy’s famous and most sought-after grapes) and 20% Malvasia Nera, this ruby-colored wine had a full-body, low tannin, and was mostly dry with just a hint of clove-y sweetness. Long and bold, it is full of complex flavors including dark berries, raisins, and applewood-smoked bacon, with a tinge of black pepper and allspice in the background. Would be absolutely delicious paired with baked pork chops and relish or a savory lamb dish. And all for under $5!

$4.99

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