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Red Road Wines

Posted on: November 12th, 2010 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

Most people know about “road beers”, those bottles and cans you carefully select for the picnic cooler, or to pass around to celebrate once you’re checked into the hotel.  Just to cut the trail dust, or some other excuse, is the reason given for it all.  Did you know there are also road wines for “touring professionals”?  Of course there are, and good red ones too.

Red Road Wines are a special breed mainly because you’re never sure just what snacks (if any) are going to be available or exactly when the wine is going to be consumed.  That calls for varieties that are simply called “easy-drinking”, “highly-versatile”, or “refreshing”.  Some prefer sweet wines for this, but after a long ride, the extra sugar just increases the thirst.

One good option is a wine with a flavor that hints of sweet, but isn’t at all.  Even though we’re just looking at reds, that still leaves many possibilities.  These are commonly known as “smooth reds” and here are a couple well-priced selections for your consideration:

The 1st is Zinfandel.  Although some believe that Zins are harsh, ripping reds, many are blended from fruit that is soft and rewarding to the thirsty palette.  A very interesting road wine is Kenwood’s “Jack London”.  It’s smooth, goes well with cheese and crackers, and if you put a bag over the beautiful bottle, many people cannot even guess what type of wine it is.  Give it a try, and bring a few extra.  This one always goes fast.  It is priced below $20 and can be found at Fry’s Marketplace and wine specialty shops.

The 2nd is Carmenere.  It is less fruity than Zinfandel, but its elegant, well-balanced flavors will prove to be a just reward for a hard day’s travel!  The Chilean producers create a Carmenere with New World low acid and balanced fruit, making it a great road wine. A really nice Chilean Carmenere is “Root:1”.  It is priced below $20 and is relatively easy to find at wine outlets like Total Wine.

Yep roadie, if they’ve been in the back of the car you can open these after they have been on ice for 20-30 minutes.  One advantage of both is that neither have paper labels that soak off when you throw them in the ice with the beer.  For more fun, compare side-by-side.

Written by Tom Peiffer, Phoenix Wine Shopping Examiner at

View more of Tom’s articles on by visiting his writer’s page.

About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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