outlander_meritage_2013_3The Outlander Meritage 2013 is a $8.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Paso Robles AVA inside the Central Coast AVA of California. A Meritage wine is made from the grapes varietals that are permitted for use in the Red blends of Bordeaux in France. Here the blend is Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot (there are 5 grapes allowed for use in Bordeaux Red wine, these 4 plus Cabernet Franc). This blend seems to be made by or at least produced at the facilities of a large well-known winery from Geyersville in Sonoma, California. The 2013 vintage produced a large crop of very good quality grapes. Normally, wine selling for under $10 is not sourced from a single well-respected AVA, but is made of grapes from several growing areas. With a bumper crop, there are more quality grapes to go around and there are bargains to be found. The alcohol content is 13.5%.

The color is a dark, barely see-thru crimson red. The nose is mix of dark berries, oak spice, a hint of brewing coffee, black pepper and plum. This is a well-balanced Red blend, medium bodied, with more structure than typically seen in $8.99 wine. It tastes of ripe plum, blackberry, chocolate powder and exotic spice, very balanced, none of the flavors dominates the others. The mid-palate shows raspberry, sour cherry and oak spice, along with a slight tug from the tannins. The acidity is strong enough to give the flavors some decent length. The finish is starts strong and slowly fades.

The Outlander Meritage 2013 is a very solid, well made red blend. Ten years ago, wines selling for under ten bucks were rarely this interesting. Inexpensive Red wines routinely gets disparaged for being “fruit bombs”, all crowd pleasing sweet fruity flavors and no structure. That is mainly said by folks who rarely drink wines in this price range, because while that may have been something of a wine fact in 2005, it is anything but true in 2015. The Outlander (it does not seem to have anything to do with the show on Starz, the man on the label does not look to be wearing a kilt) is a lean, sleek, reasonably complex and tasty Red blend. When we started CheapWineFinder.com we were doing the “drink this and avoid that” thing, because there were wines on store shelves that were a must to avoid. Today, finding a wine that is both cheap and well worth drinking has become very easy. Have an open mind and drink up!

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Don’t tell anyone, but there is absolutely no correlation between the cost of wine and the quality of wine.