kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

703.203.9463

A red to really sink your teeth into...

Being part Hungarian, I've drunk my fair share of the country's Egri Bikaver (Bull's Blood), a simple, yet drinkable inexpensive red, as well as Tokaj, the delicious nectar-like dessert wine. I've also had some decent Pinots from Romania (which is considered a value area for wines made from that fickle grape.) So I was intrigued to recently see a 2005 V Merlot from Romanisa on store shelves with a large "V" on the label, and the phrase "The Legend of Transylvania."

This $6 bottle of Merlot has a distinctive vanilla aroma from the oak, and while it's not as easy-drinking as so many California bottlings, it does have some interesting, rustic blackberry notes. It went pretty well with sweet Italian sausage simply grilled and served with mustard, and as the wine breathed, it mellowed out surprisingly well.

It's a unique choice for a low-priced red, and it would also make a cool host gift for a Halloween party. You can find V Merlot 2005 at VA Total Wine stores, among others.