Yeah, yeah, I know. What is this wine – perfectly acceptable as a $5 fill-in when there is not much else to drink – doing as a wine of the week? All I can say is that the Wine Curmudgeon is as surprised as you are.
I bought this at the end of a long, tiring stretch that saw too much travel, too little time at home, and too much work. All I wanted was something to drink with dinner, and since dinner was hot dogs and beans, I didn’t need much.
The Barbier ($5, purchased) delivered so much more than that. This used to be the red wine I recommended to people who didn’t like red wine, since it was soft and cherry-ish and could be chilled. This "vintage," though, is completely different.
The wine has more structure, including tannins, which I don't remember it having. In addition, the fruit is darker and more Spanish in style (with more acidity), and certainly not soft cherry. I think there is more and better quality tempranillo in it than before, which would account for the difference.
Having said that, there is no guarantee that the wine will taste like this in six months, since it’s non-vintage; the blend could change when the producer makes the next batch and it will go back to what it was. Until then, enjoy the improvement. At $5, this is a steal.