Wine of the week: Little James’ Basket Press Red NV

Little James Basket Press RedThe blog’s seventh annual birthday week begins on Monday, so what better preview for all the fun than Little James’ Basket Press Red ($10, purchased, 13.5%)? This is cheap French red wine that does everything that great cheap wine should do:

? Varietally correct. This is a red Rhone blend with lots of Rhone-style red fruit, It’s made with grenache, which seems to take on a different life every time I review it. This year, it was sweet cherries, and much less dark than last year. And it’s even different from the review two years ago.

? Tasty. The bottle was empty before dinner was over, which has turned out to be the best way to determine how much I like a wine. It’s not as spicy as years past and the funky aroma is fading, but the tannins and acid still balance the fruit. Think steak frites.

? Unpretentious. That means a screwcap, a clever front label, and a weird tasting note on the back label with the phrase “irresistible crunchy fruit.” I have no idea what that means, but it’s still infinitely better than the usual junk that passes for back label tasting notes.

? Non-vintage. The key to the Little James is a solera, in which old wine is mixed with new wine and vintage doesn’t matter. In fact, for a cheap wine, this often adds complexity that the wine wouldn’t have.

Highly recommended, and certain to return to the $10 Hall of Fame next year. The only drawback? The importer has been sold, and I’ve had difficulty finding the wine in Dallas. Thanks, three-tier system.

3 thoughts on “Wine of the week: Little James’ Basket Press Red NV

  • By Kat McDonald -

    The bottle being empty is always a great way review! We make wine with several vintages but we call it MV – multi-vintage…Cheers

  • By Gary millman -

    i have always enjoyed their white wine, which is crisp, with a nice zing of acidity that makes it perfect with chicken or fish. Have never seen the red in a store, but will try to find it.

    • By Wine Curmudgeon -

      The white is in the $10 Hall of Fame, though I always forget to do it as a wine of the week.

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