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Now that we’re heading into the warm and sunny months of the year, it’s an ideal time for firing up the grill and busting out your secret (or store bought) BBQ sauce.  And, of course, what better than a rich, hearty red wine to enhance the meal?  Here are a handful of bargains (under $20) our tasting panel has discovered so you can keep your  guests and, more importantly, your wallet happy.

Bogle 2013 “Phantom” Red Blend

Grape(s): 39% Zinfandel, 38% Petite Sirah, & 23% Cabernet Sauvignon

Region: California

Price: 15-20

Tasting Notes:

A wealth of blackberries, dark cherries, and currants coalesce with clove and vanilla on the nose. Concentrated dark fruit, mostly blackberry and currant, flow into highlights of sweet spice, pine box, and toasty vanilla on the palate. Fruit-driven but with good depth and good structure. Great wine for BBQ.

Rating: 90

Zin-Phomaniac 2015 Zinfandel

Grape(s): 100% Zinfandel

Region: Lodi, Ca

Price: 15-20

Tasting Notes:

A ripe nose of cherries and raspberries greets the senses with a few vanilla subtleties in the background. It’s smooth and supple on the palate as jammy red fruit takes center stage. If you enjoy bold and peppery, this may not be a wine to try, but if you prefer fruit-driven Zins, this hits the right notes.

Rating: 89

Tie-Dye 2014 Red Blend

Grape(s): 62% Syrah, 12% Petite Sirah, 10% Cabernet, 10% Merlot, & 6% Grenache

Region: North Coast, Ca

Price: 15-20

Tasting Notes:

There are notes of plums, blueberries, and cherries that come together with highlights of smoked meat and spice on the nose. Jammy fruit of plum, boysenberries, and cherry are accented by bacon, pepper, and nutmeg on the palate. Rich and fairly hearty, it’s a fine wine for a crowded BBQ.

Rating: 87

Michael David 2014 “Petite Petit” Blend

Grape(s): 85% Petite Sirah & 15% Petit Verdot

Region: Lodi, Ca

Price: 15-20

Tasting Notes:

Lush fruit on the nose in the the form of blueberries, cherries, and raspberries. The palate is ripe with blackberry, black cherry, and raspberry flavors that combine with coffee and spice. Nice fruit and balanced tannins make this wine a fine match for your BBQ ribs.

Rating: 90

Seven Deadly Zins 2014 Zinfandel

Grape(s): Zinfandel

Region: Lodi, Ca

Price: 15-20

Tasting Notes:

Elements of plums and cherries coalesce with bacon and soy sauce on the exotic nose. Up front, there’s cherry and plum but that moves into smoky bacon and spice. This is not a jammy, fruity Zin; it’s hearty and bold and calls for a robust BBQ dish.

Rating: 89