|The Douro Valley, aka. Paradise. Photo by Jolene Thym|
2011 Esporao Reserva Red, $24.99
After visiting the Douro region of Portugal, I fell in love with Portuguese table wines. The region is famous for it's port wines -- which are outstanding -- but the table wines that they craft from some of those very same grapes are nothing short of stellar. Esporao, which grows a dozen different varietals all over the country, pulls together a handful of their top red grapes to craft this Cabernet-forward wine. It's deep, full, stout and spicy -- a great wine to serve with non-spicy meats such as garlic-roasted pork chops.
Santa Carolina 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, $10.99
Talk about a steal. This super-concentrated, chocolate-cherry-vanilla Cabernet comes from Maipo Valley in Chile, which sits in the shadow of the Andes. It's deep, full and silky; a wine to serve with big flavors such as Italian dishes, lamb, or even stinky cheeses. This is a perfect wine to buy by the case. Sidenote: Santa Carolina's 2012 Carmenere is equally good at $20 per bottle.