Gut Check loves us some wine. We want a bottle with bang and a bang for our buck, so every week we will visit a local wine shop, where an expert will recommend a good-value wine priced under $15. We'll drink some and tell you whether we want to continue -- because the only time Gut Check has our nose in the air is while we're draining our glass.
Always on the quest for easy-drinking, low-budget wine, Gut Check has picked up on some of the telltale traits that separate a decent bottle from a forgettable one. In our experience, wines that come with a twist-off top are often placed in the forgettable category, but Gut Check's opinion was changed by the Villa des Anges cabernet sauvignon from the Wine and Cheese Place (7435 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-727-8788)
had this cabernet ready for us when we walked in the door and told us that for only $9.99, this wine is one of the store's better sellers.
"The price is absolutely right," Silver said. "To get a cab with some character for under $10 is very good."
The wine is sourced from the Domaine Espitalet des Anges in Capestang, France, which is situated on the ruins of an ancient Roman villa -- talk about good soil. Accolades for this low-priced cabernet are pretty lofty, calling the wine "full-bodied" and something that can "stump other wine snobs in blind tastings." It sounds a bit too good to be true, but Silver told us the taste of the wine falls in line with what the critics are saying.
Like any other cabernet, the Villa des Anges pairs well with red meat and heavier dishes owing to the acidity of the wine. Finding a cabernet for only ten bucks that we can enjoy all winter long with pot roasts and stews is just what Gut Check was looking for and, most important, now we know better than to judge a wine by its screw-off top.
Gut Check's Take?
The 2009 Villa des Anges cabernet sauvignon looks and smells like a top-notch cabernet despite its low price tag. It pours a dark ruby, and on the first whiff, we're hit with that classic, bold cabernet smell. Some cheaper (as in dirt cheap) cabernets can overwhelm with their alcohol taste and aroma, but in the Villa des Anges, a smooth cabernet flavor takes center stage. Silver told us the wine takes a few minutes to open up; once it does, we're greeted by a wine that's not too strong and not too sweet. The wine is well-balanced, with dark berry aromas and a light spice on the finish. It's intense, like most cabernets, but smooth enough to drink on its own.