Here’s another one that I learned about from my Dad. Some years back, he built himself a little wine cellar in his basement because he’s awesome like that. And when I used to come home for visits during college, I’d go down there and help myself to a bottle, because I’m a jerk like that.

But he didn’t mind if I took the Marques de Caceres riojas, because he was paying like $5 a bottle with the discount on cases (it’s usually about $10-$12 now at grocery and wine stores, and it’s everywhere). And he always had a bunch around because he knew this blackfruit flavored Spanish smoothy—a blend of three grapes, tempranillo is predominent—is a good one to have on hand for weekday dinners, particular the kind that involve brothy rice and chicken and maybe some shellfish, all herbed and spiced and cooked for a couple of hours together in a covered pot. So good.

I used to swipe it to drink with friends in dorm rooms—it was a welcome break from jugs of Carlo Rossi, but now that I’m all old and classy I don’t really want to sit around and sip it. It’s kind of one note with no real finish (it does help to decant though) and I’ve never even thought to wonder how it varies from vintage to vintage. Still and all, it’s a cheap, delicious paella/arroz con pollo/chicken cacciatore kind of wine. And I should totally buy my father a case of it.

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