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My last blog post was for an $85 Oregon cult wine. Some would say that’s not knowing the audience. I’ve built five-and-a-half years of wine writing by focusing mostly on value wine. But I think it is interesting for the reader to learn about the big things out there – and obviously, I enjoy exploring wine from all regions at all price points.

Casillero MalbecMalbec is one of my ‘go-to’ wines and should be one of yours. Some Malbecs are certainly better than others, but taken within context of price and producer, they seldom disappoint.

I’m sipping a $12 Chilean Malbec as this gets written. The wine was opened last night and needed a little air as a young wine – not for the fruit so much but to soften the sharp edges, the astringency young wines at this price often dominate a newly opened bottle.

Malbec is king in Argentina, of course, but plenty of the little dark grape is grown next door in Chile as well. Casillero del Diablo 2011 Malbec is affordable, drinkable red wine. It’s light on the fruit when opened and given a little air, but I’m getting nice rich plum and raspberry on its second night.

There is nothing sophisticated about this wine, nor would you expect it for $12. Cellartracker members give it 87 points which I think is about right. If you’re grilling a steak or about any beef dish, red sauce pasta, or even seasoned pork – Malbec can be a great choice. Try Malbec with BBQ!

One more point I make to wine friends all the time and I wrote it at the top. My last blog post was an $85 bottle of wine while tonight’s glass has $12 wine. Learn to judge a glass of juice for what it is. You can’t compare these two wines. I thought the $85 wine was fabulous but overpriced some. This $10-$11 wine is good wine at that price point. Get it?

Cassilero del Diablo 2011 Malbec, $8-$12, Recommended.