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Venta Morales Tempranillo 2008, Spain

COST: $8

WHAT: Made from 100 percent Tempranillo grapes, this wine tastes much bigger than an $8 wine. It starts with a deep red, almost purple, color, with a luscious aroma of cherries. It has a full fruit taste, with notes of raspberry, black cherry and some herbs. It's not a particularly complex wine, but it delivers plenty of hearty flavor.

The balance between tannins and acidity make this a pleasant wine with a medium body, especially good with food. A friend calls it a great pizza wine, and that's an appropriate description.

THE WINERY: Venta Morales is another discovery of importer Jorge Ordonez, the man primarily responsible for bringing Spanish wines to the United States in the 1980s. When his name is on the bottle, the wine is worth trying.

GOES WITH: We had this with chili and with pizza, and it was a great match both times. It also would go well with simple foods such as burgers, barbecue and cheese.

REACH DENNIS SODOMKA AT DENNIS@BOTTLEREPORT.COM. READ HIS COLUMN ON WINES FROM CHILE IN THE JANUARY ISSUE OF AUGUSTA MAGAZINE.

WINE EVENTS

FRIDAY

Second Friday tasting at Wine World; six wines and several cheeses; $4, with rebate on the purchase of one bottle of the feature wines

Friday wine fest, the Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

SATURDAY

Weekend wine tasting, the Vineyard Wine Market, 1-5 p.m.

TUESDAY

Benefit wine tasting at The Snug, 240 Davis Road, sponsored by the Bottle Shop next door, 5-7 p.m.; $10, benefits Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation; silent auctions and door prizes; heavy hors d'oeuvres included

WEDNESDAY

Educational Wine Tasting, the Bee's Knees, 211 10th St., 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Eric Norviel will present six wines, with food supplied by Bee's Knees; reservations by calling Ninth Street Wine Market, (706) 724-1442; $15

JAN. 15

Wines of the Southern Rhone, a Tasters Guild event featuring Sally and Dick Benjamin, 7:30 p.m., North Augusta Community Center, 101 Brookside Drive; $32 for members, $38 for others; for reservations call (803) 279-9522

JAN. 18

In-shop wine tasting, Ninth Street Wine Market, 12 Ninth St., 5:30 p.m.; 10 wines will be tasted for $10.


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