At a boxy wine shop in Hallandale Beach called Mas Vino, you can buy bottles that are interesting and affordable. Store manager Charles Ferrin marks his favorites with bright labels, denoting wines that are both great tasting and great deals.
Ferrin is one of those cerebral wine guys, the kind who can talk history and vintages with equal finesse. So we asked him to choose five great bottles under 20 bucks. Here, in his own words, are his top picks.
The best red wine for your money
Tikves Special Selection Vranec: $14.99
Vranec is probably related to Primitivo and Zinfandel. The consulting winemaker, Philippe Cambie, is amongst the greatest of all time. Plus he used to play rugby. And the wine is from Macedonia.
The bubbly red
Cleto Chiarli 'Villa Cialdini' Grasparossa di Castrelveto Secco NV: $14.99
Italian wines can have long names. But, basically, this is a dry, sparkling red wine. The producer is Chiarli, and Grasparossa is a more deeply colored variety of Lambrusco. That means more tannin -- and all of this is good for food.
The affordable red wine
Tierra Divina Reds Blend: $7.99
This wine is interesting because it's from Lodi in northern Italy and it has old vine Carignan in the blend. Lodi is the smart shoppers' Napa, and Carignan is the ugly duckling of grapes -- once considered bad, now trendy.
The cool orange wine
Roberto Zeni Pinot Grigio Ramato: $17.99
A great introduction to orange wine, a type of white wine that has color from the grape skins. Winemakers soak the skins in the juice to produce the orange color. "Ramato" means "coppery". This is a traditional style that has shown renewed interest, and the Zeni Pinot Grigio is a great first step into the wine.
The Italian red wine value
I Greco "Cata": $13.99
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This is 100% Gaglioppo, a favorite grape of Calabria. Most people have never seen Calabrian wine, because they don't export much. Gaglioppo makes a full-bodied, fruit forward style of wine, and it might be a relative of Sangiovese. Good Italian wines from Central and Northern Italy have become expensive, so people will have to venture south for value.
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