Food & Drink

Good wine available under $10

If you’re worried that the looming income tax deadline will find you dipping deep into your bank account, don’t panic: Take a deep breath, file your return and then go treat yourself to a reasonably priced bottle of wine.

I’ve done the research for you, so there’s no need to spend any time sifting through recommendations, Web sites or endless rows of bottles at the store. And here’s the best part — all of today’s selections are priced at under $10 a bottle, which is welcome news for those of use who may need a little tax relief this time of year.

First up is the Viña Alarba 2005 Old Vines Grenache (about $7), a sturdy little red wine with dark fruit flavors followed by hints of smoke and pepper. This is a nice, food-friendly wine and it should pair well with tomatobased pastas and mildly seasoned beef entrees. I picked up a bottle in downtown Bellingham at Gateway Wines, 202 E. Holly St., Suite 111.

The Trinchero Family 2005 Chardonnay (about $8) is a well distributed label from Northern California and offers a lighter style chardonnay with crisp, citrus flavors and a slightly creamy finish. The winery also produces a merlot and a cabernet sauvignon for about the same price.

My new favorite budget wine is the Almira Los Dos 2005 Old Vines Grenache/Syrah (about $8). This medium-bodied Spanish red starts with a fragrant, complex nose of dark fruits, coffee and freesia followed by strawberry and red cherry flavors with traces of black pepper on the finish. It’s available locally at the Community Food Co-op and the Fairhaven Food Pavilion and you can also try it by the glass at Fools Onion restaurant, located at 1007 Harris Ave. in Bellingham.