Tax Day now is in our rearview mirror, and if this rite of spring left your wallet a bit light, now is the time for a bit of bargain hunting.
So far this year, we have reviewed almost 250 wines from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho. From these, we have selected some of the best bargains we've come across. These red wines all retail for $15 or less and should be readily available from your favorite wine merchant or directly from the winery.
While these are the retail prices, you'll probably find them for a dollar or so cheaper. And remember that wineries and many retailers will give you an extra 10-15 percent off if you purchase a case.
Eliseo Silva 2008 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $10: Aromas of black cherry with light toast, sandalwood, thyme and mint lead to a burst of flavors of juicy red currants, backed by more herbs and a scrape of minerality. Ample acidity yields grudgingly to sweet tannins in the finish.
Kiona Vineyards Winery 2009 Lemberger, Red Mountain, $12: The beautiful nose brings expressive aromas of sweet oak with cinnamon, rose hips and dark strawberry. On the palate, it's assertive with its cherries and strawberries, finishing with great acidity and bold tannins.
Columbia Crest 2009 H3 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, $15: This elegant Cabernet Sauvignon opens with inviting aromas of dense blackberries and a hint of eucalyptus, followed by rich and bold tannins intertwined with dense black fruit, raspberries and a hint of chalky tannins. Great structure and pleasantly lingering finish.
Roza Ridge 2008 Roza Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Rattlesnake Hills, $15: A product of Hyatt Vineyards, it's as tasty as it is affordable. Aromas of blackberry, cassis and leather abound, backed up on the palate by cassis, cranberry and raspberry underlain by subtle leather and tobacco notes.
Hyatt Vineyards 2009 Syrah, Rattlesnake Hills, $10: There is a theme of chocolate and it's crafted in a zingy style, President plum loaded with blueberry, boysenberry and backed by minerality and big acidity. And at $10, it was one of the best bargains in its class.
Maryhill Winery 2010 Winemaker's Red, Columbia Valley, $12: Each component of this blend -- Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc -- becomes apparent at certain points of the experience, starting with Syrah's nose bacon and gaminess, followed by cola, caramel, cedar and leafiness. The Cab Franc's herbaceous qualities lead the flavors, which are concentrated dark black cherries, more cola and bacon.
1805 Wines 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $12: This new project for Ascentia Wine Estates offered a lighter-styled Cab built largely from wind-swept Alder Ridge Vineyard overlooking the Columbia River in the Horse Heaven Hills. The name of the winery was inspired by Lewis & Clark's Corps of Discovery, which floated past Alder Ridge in 1805. A dose of Syrah (11 percent) pops out throughout the wine, beginning with aromas of boysenberry jam, blackberry, currant, coffee and leather. The big fruity entry of brambleberry and blueberry is backed by bittersweet chocolate and bold tannins. Serve with tri-tip or baby back ribs.
Duck Pond Cellars 2009 Syrah, Columbia Valley, $12: Not much oak gets in the way, as this wine spent just eight months in barrel, which allows for accents of fresh blueberry jam, rich blackberries, pomegranate and a pinch of furikake.
Ridge Crest 2009 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $13: This second label for Claar Cellars in Pasco, brings hints of red currant, raspberry, pink peppercorns and cedar. The structure offered juicy acidity and taut tannins.
Kudos 2010 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $15: This consumer-friendly wine made in McMinnville, Ore., offers aromas of dried raspberry, cherry, vanilla, chocolate and earthiness transcend into big, bold cherry flavors backed by cranberry, toasted cedar and truffles.
*Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman are the editors of Wine Press Northwest magazine. For the freshest reviews, go to www.winepressnw.com/freshpress.