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Spicy Reds

Spicy Reds
Photo by Todd Buchanan

September is the season for the year’s last great flurry of grilling. It’s time to splurge on a leg of lamb at the farmers’ market, investigate your local Mexican grocery for interesting chile-marinated pork steaks, or finally put to rest that question that’s been tickling your mind all summer: What happens if you put tequila in the can for beer-can chicken? And when there’s a snap in the air and meat on the grill it’s also a great chance to explore reds from lands where grill and spice are the stuff of the everyday good life.
 

2008 Casa Silva Colchagua Valley Reserva Carmenere

A dense, powerful, bold (yet graceful!), intensely mocha-and-plum smoky red wine to buy by the case. Available: Solo Vino in St. Paul. ($13)
 

2009 Bonny Doon Contra, Central Coast

Most people fell in love with Bonny Doon and winemaker Randall Grahm through his Big House wines, but he sold those labels, which is why you don’t like them as much anymore. Try what Grahm’s up to now! This big bold red made mostly of old vine Carignane is grippy, earthy, stony, full of funk and rocks—and alive and lively, in the most vital and appealing way. Available: Thomas Liquors in St. Paul and South Lyndale Liquors in Minneapolis. ($15)
 

2008 La Posta Bonarda, Estela Armando Vineyard, Mendoza Argentina

Bonarda’s an odd duck of a fruity, high-acid red. This one adds meaty, smoky depth to the grapes’ flesh, for a wine that has the virtues of Italian Chianti. It’s savory and friendly, food-targeted yet complex, and calling out for a place at your next mixed grill. Available: Kowalski’s in Woodbury and Eagan. ($16)
 

2005 Casa Silva Colchagua Valley, Microterroir De Los Lingues Carmenere

Intense like a California cult Cabernet. Inky, coffee-and-plum, tobacco-saturated, but also nicely blackberry-fruity. Tastes like it costs three times as much. If you’re celebrating a birthday with rib-eyes or a rack of lamb on the grill, this is a stunner. Available: The Wine Shop in Minnetonka. ($45)


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