The 10 Best Affordable Red Wines You Can Find in Israel

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Red wine.
Red wine.

After last week’s column highlighted reasonably priced quality white wines, now comes the reds’ turn. After intensive tasting, I found the price range of most wines in this genre – those that do not require any compromise on quality – is 45-70 shekels ($12-$19). And in addition to being a good deal, these wines can familiarize you with a variety of wine regions all over the world, from classic wine-producing countries like Italy, France and Spain to those less familiar to Israeli consumers – like South Africa and Greece, for example.

1. Concha y Toro Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere 2014

Chilean winery Concha y Toro is one of the biggest wine producers in the world. Despite its size, it manages to remain relevant both in its low-priced basic series and in the finer and more expensive series – while always maintaining a high standard of quality. From the Casillero Del Diablo series comes Carmenere wine – made from a variety of grape that was abandoned in Bordeaux and revived and flourished in Chile. It provides a pleasant drinking experience and is a wonderful buy for the price, while demonstrating the nature of the fruit seasoned with “green” flavors, which has become the trademark of Chilean wines. (Shaked, 55 shekels)

2. Quinta Do Crasto Tinto 2013

In recent years Portugal has become a source of wonderful wines at reasonable prices. This wine from the Crasto winery illustrates this. It comes from the Douro Valley – home of the famous port wines – and is composed of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca grape varieties, which have undergone a six-month process of maturation in old wooden barrels. It offers a fresh and refreshing fruit flavor, without sweetness, which lands on the tongue with an abundance of vitality and elegance and provides pure pleasure. (Hakerem, 65 shekels)

3. Carpineto Dogajolo 2014

Dogajolo, the basic wine from the Carpineto winery in Tuscany, is also an example of a wine that gives you much more than you pay for. The blend is composed of 70 percent Sangiovese and 30 percent Cabernet Sauvignon,which matures for a short time in old barrels. As is typical of its region of origin, this wine demonstrates fresh fragrances of red fruit, mainly sour cherries, on a backdrop of aromas of roasting and earthiness. On the palate it appears young and crisp, with wonderful acidity and complex flavors. Super-Tuscan, super-worthwhile. (Hagefen, 69 shekels)

4. Coltibuono Cancelli 2013

Another recommended Tuscan wine comes from Coltibuono, a solid wine producer known for its Chianti Classico wines. This is a local blend of Sangiovese with other local varietals, which demonstrates a light, young, tasty and somewhat sweet fruit. Thanks to its low 13 percent alcohol content you can sip from it at lunch and continue the work day afterward. It is now at a good point in terms of its drinking window, so it’s a good idea to consume it immediately. (Miki Wines, 50 shekels)

5. Peacock Wild Ferment Syrah 2014

Many of the best wineries in South Africa are located around the city of Stellenbosch, not far from Cape Town. The Peacock Syrah that comes from there (it is actually produced by False Bay Vineyards) demonstrates the great improvement in the quality of the region’s wines in recent years, and even more so when it comes to a basic wine meant for immediate consumption. The fruit flavor is ripe and juicy, wrapped in a sweet seasoning, and has good acidity that lends to it freshness. A lovely wine, which is also suitable for an evening of pizza or shakshuka. (Israco, 55 shekels)

6. Protos Roble 2014

A powerful and generous wine from the Ribera del Duero region in Spain, made of 100 percent Tempranillo grapes. As befits the typical production style of the region from which some of the most expensive wines in Spain originate, this is an extrovertedwine, full of ripe fruit and tannin. It arrives in your glass wonderfully balanced, without becoming overly jam-like or too sweet. A lot of wine for a little money, particularly suitable for a lunch of barbecued meat. (Israco, 63 shekels)

7. Tsantali Rapsani 2013

A blend of Xinomavro, Krasato and Stavroto grapes that grow in Rapsani at the foot of Mount Olympus, this wine comes from one of the largest wineries in Greece – Tsantali. This is a wonderful table wine, which demonstrates an abundance of full-bodied ripe fruit along with a prominent presence of chewy rural tannins. In this case too, the fact that it has only 13 percent alcohol contributes to the wine’s balance and drinkability. (Miki Wines, 48 shekels)

8. Eguren Ugarte Rioja Reserva 2010

Can you find an ageing wine for 68 shekels? It turns out you can, even when it’s not an especially famous name. Ugarte’s Rioja Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo and Graciano, which reveals a nose typical of Rioja wines: red-black fruit, vanilla and a spicy herb. Soft and round, it falls on the palate with good acidity and fruit flavors, even if they are not complex. A good opportunity to get to know Rioja Reserva before moving on to more highly ranked players in this wonderful wine region. (Israco, 68 shekels)

9. La Vieille Ferme Ventoux Rouge 2015

Simplicity and freshness are the rules of the game with this wine, which is part of the popular brand of the Perrin family, which operates in the southern Rhone Valley in France. Fresh and primal fruit, perfect balance, drinkability that enables you to finish a bottle even at noontime in summer, and popularly priced. What more can you ask for? (Shaked, 55 shekels)

10. Cremisan Baladi

The Cremisan Wine Estate, located in an area belonging to the Palestinian Authority, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, came into our lives in its present format about three years ago, and since then has disappeared somewhat from the radar. At the most recent Tel Aviv Sommelier Exhibition, the winery offered its new wines for tasting. They were produced by a pair of Palestinian winemakers who were sent to learn oenology in Italy and returned to the Cremisan monastery recently. The upgrading is evident in all the wines, but mainly in the Baladi Asmar, the winery’s only red wine, which this time presented a juicy and balanced version, and was a significant improvement, technically speaking. Worth getting to know. (Enoteca, 49 shekels)