Vino de la Tierra
New Year’s resolutions aimed at personal transformation have a way of coming up short. Here’s one with a greater chance of success: Resolve to try more unfamiliar wines this year. Start by picking up a bottle of Dehesa de Rubiales Alaia, one of many relatively obscure but surprisingly satisfying wines available at the always satisfying Thomas Liquors in St. Paul. Not only is Alaia a palate-pleaser, but at $10 a bottle, it’s a wallet-pleaser, too.
Bearing the humble designation of Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León, Alaia is among the growing ranks of exciting Spanish wines to come from areas lying outside the better-known Denominación de Origen (or DO) regions. A red blend of Prieto Picudo—a little-known local grape—with Tempranillo and a dash of Merlot, it has an alluringly smoky scent, rich chocolate and dark fruit flavors, and a lively streak of acidity. It may not make you a better person, but it will make you a happier one.
Dehesa de Rubiales Alaia 2005, $10, Thomas Liquors, 1941 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-699-1860