Let’s take a look at some really nice red wines. Most of these are pretty easy to find and certainly plentiful in Indiana and neighboring states.

I’ve tasted some great wines lately and picked up a lot of wine for home. It’s the time of year many of us are entertaining and you certainly want nice wines to pour your guests. Any of the wines reviewed in this post would fill that bill nicely.

Cameron Hughes Lot 247 2009 Cabernet – Cameron Hughes is a true phenom. It’s now available in most states and represents great value. To make a long story short, Cameron Hughes buys excess wine from California producers with a confidentiality agreement and sells it at a price far below normal high-quality california wines.

This was my first CH Cabernet and for $18 I thought it was really nice wine. If I had tasted it blind, I’d have guessed in the $18-$30 range. It was very nice Cabernet and I wouldn’t have been surprised based on taste only if someone told me it sold for $30-$45. But there is so much Cab in that price range it’s tough to say this one tasted above the SRP of $18. It was good wine. And it was much better than most of what you can find in the $14-$16 range.

If you jump to the Cameron Hughes website you’ll see details about this wine and how the winery that provided the juice starts their wines at about $60. I liked this Cab a lot but just didn’t see it at the $60 price point. The wine has big fruit, soft tannins and all the characteristics of a more expensive wine.

The label also has a $15 Meritage and a $13 Rhone blend that I thought were fabulous. The Rhone blend, in particular, tasted like a $20-$30 French wine.

Cameron Hughes is definitely worth a try. The odds are you’re going to get something that tastes better to far better than the price point. There are 30 red wines and 11 whites listed on the site so the buyers are clearly working the world.

(Cameron Hughes 247 Napa Valley 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, $18, Recommended)

Vecchia Cantina 2007 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – A little Sangiovese anyone? And by little, I do mean mouth feel. This 100 percent Sangiovese wine was pretty limp when I opened it but opened up with reasonable and nice fruit after a little time out of the bottle.

It was really quite pleasant with a little pasta. I sat and sipped a second glass after dinner. It’s certainly not nearly as acidic or over-bearing as some Sangiovese (the poorly made ones, at least) often can be even after a decant. It was rich and silky even it a bit unremarkable. I did enjoy it but quickly forgot it afterwards.

It might be a little tough to find this one but you certainly can find the Montepulciano wines in most wine shops!

(Vecchia Cantina Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, $16-$18, Recommended)

Vino Robles 2008 Red – The winery calls this wine the Power of 4 and they’re not kidding. The wine is made from Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. If you like your wine powerful, you’re going to lie Vino Robles.

This winery is located in Paso Robles which is known for it’s full-bodied red wines. You’re going to get big black fruit flavors and a hint of holiday spice – like cinnamon or nutmeg. The fruit is huge with softer tannins.

If you drink much Petite Sirah you’re definitely going to pick it up in this blend. I bought this bottle in Ohio and couldn’t quite determine if they have an Indiana distributor. It is available in Illinois.

This wine won’t suit many palates. But if you’re looking for wine with a steak, chili, or hearty stew, it will be a fine match.

(Vino Robles 2008 Red, SRP $16, Recommended)

Justin Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – I loved this wine. As a matter of fact, this one of the best bottles of wine I’ve tasted this year. I visited Paso Robles in the fall of 2010 and Deborah Baldwin (Justin’s wife) dined with the traveling press corp visiting. She poured their Reserve Cabernet that night and it was fabulous. I was able to pick up this entry level Cab near the end of the trip.

As opposed to the Cameron Hughes’ Cab, this $25 Cabernet drinks like a $50 Cab.It had cherry and caramel, chocolate and beautiful richness. The tannins were well balanced but present even after a 2-hour decant.

I served the wine with a Texas-spice rubbed Bison Ribeye off the grill and the pairing was simply delicious. Justin wines are available in most states. This is unbelievable Cabernet for the average palate at this price.

(Justin Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, $25, Very Highly Recommended)

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