I don’t want to oversell this little wine, but it would be advantageous to have a case around to drink this summer. It’s the Este de Bodegas Alto Almanzora, from Spain. No vintage date. No stated grapes. No stated region. (The “year of harvest” is 2007.) That’s because it’s a Vino de Mesa, a “wine of the table,” and as such the lowest common denominator of wine according to EU regulations. That status doesn’t mean, however, that it’s not a tasty little quaffer perfectly suited for grilled leg of lamb, steaks, burgers, pizzas, red-meat pastas and such fare. Bodegas Alto Almanzora, founded in 2004, is a forward-looking producer with an ultra-modern winery in Andalusia. The image of a pregnant mare on the label is a Paleolithic cave drawing symbolizing fertility, promise and hope. This is a ripe, meaty and fleshy wine, a little funky (in the best sense) in its ripeness and earthiness. It’s rife with scents and flavors of blackberry, black currant and plum with a touch of boysenberry, all permeated with the contents of the baking spice-box and a backwash of slate-like minerality. After a few minutes, the fruit turns more macerated and juicy, almost roasted in its smokiness. That’s about it. No great depth or character. Just really delicious fruit and enough tannic structure and acidity to make it real. The grapes are monastrell, tempranillo, garnacha, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah. Alcohol is 14%. Very Good. I paid $12 for this wine, but elsewhere in our fair land you can find it as low as $8.

An Eric Solomon-European Cellars Selection, Charlotte, N.C.
Image from catavinos.