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red wines...

Looking for a few great red wines to sip around the barbeque? Something that would work with a burger? Ribs? Steak?

Price is usually an issue... but the QPR – Quality-to-Price-Ratio – is even more important. Wines that over-deliver for the price are gems. Great bang-for-the-buck red wines are priceless!

Portugal's largest wine producer Sogrape Vinhos is better know for its global brands - Mateus Rosé, Sandeman's Ports and the Ferreirinha's legendary red Barca-Velha. Founded in 1942 Sogrape has been producing their everyday red Grão Vasco since 1958.

Ridiculously affordable, this month, Grão Vasco Dão Red $7.99 is an un-oaked blend of indigenous grapes from the Dão region south of the Douro river. Approximately 30 percent Touriga Nacional, 29 percent Tinta Roriz (aka:Tempranillo in Spain), 24 percent Alfrocheiro and 17 percent Jaen come together to make a sassy medium-bodied wine full of strawberry, plum and blackberry aromas and flavours with some inky, earthy, leathery notes lingering in the finish.

From hillside vineyards across the Languedoc, from Perpignan to Montpellier in the south of France, Jean-Claude Mas makes French wines in the ripe, smooth style international markets prefer. With winemaking roots going back to 1892, Domaines Paul Mas - named for Jean-Claude’s father - is the largest privately-owned winery in France outside Champagne.

Brimming with forward, fruity aromas and flavours of ripe cherries and blackberries Paul Mas Grenache Noir Pays d'Oc $12.99 also

offers intriguing hints of sage, rosemary and thyme. Rich, medium-bodied, it definitely boasts Bang-for-the-Buck! Smooth, peppery tannins add underlying structure and an echo of dry, dark chocolate hovers beneath the fruit and spices.

Like California, Australia launched action against BC's grocery store/VQA wine restrictions in the World Trade Organisation last year, complaining about a raft of discriminatory measures hitting Australian wine producers and breaching trade rules. Come November 1, those discriminatory measures will be repealed.

Blending grapes from two renowned South Australian regions – Padthaway and Coonawarra - Quarisa 'Enchanted Tree' Shiraz $15.99 is the latest Double Gold winning Shiraz from the same

winemaker who gave us the Johnny Q range of wines. Luscious, ripe raspberry and plum flavours are framed by wisps of mint and creamy, spicy oak in this exceptionally fruity red.

Spanish red wines pair exceptionally well with all grilled meats. Simple red Riojas are juicy young reds. Red Crianzas have spent at least a year in oak and a year in the bottle. Red Reservas are aged at least a year in oak and two years in the bottle. Gran Reservas reds are aged at least two years in oak and two years in the bottle.

Hacienda López de Haro Crianza $17.99 is a blend of 90 percent Tempranillo, 7 percent Garnacha and 3 percent Graciano aged in French and American oak barrels for 18 months. Deep dusty cherry and strawberry aromas and flavours slide into liquorice, coffee and dark chocolate. Sweet vanilla oak notes linger in the aftertaste.

Known as Tribidrag or Crljenak Kastelanski where it originated in Croatia and Zinfandel where it blossomed in California, Italy's Primitivo is today the primary red wine grape of Puglia, the heel of the boot of Italy. Across the Adriatic it has been rediscovered and replanted along the Dalmatian coast.

From tiny Santeramo in Colle, in Puglia, Tenuta Viglione Primitivo Organico $19.99 is an un-oaked organic wine, overflowing with bright cherry and ripe plum and earthy wild berry aromas. Dried blueberry and blackberry flavours fill out the mid-palate of this surprisingly sassy red.

In South Africa the word "braai"- an abbreviation of the word "braaivleis" - is the Afrikaans word for barbeque. Barbeque friendly South African red wines can be had for $10 - $15 but there's astonishing quality in premium wines - those over $20.

A blend of 53 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 22 percent Cabernet Franc, 17 percent Petit Verdot, 4 percent Merlot and 4 percent Malbec, KWV ‘The Mentors’ Orchestra 2013 $30.99 is an outrageously tasty Bordeaux-styled blend. Rich ripe flavours of dark chocolate, sage, thyme, mint and eucalyptus mingle with

black and red berries, hints of violets and cedar with undernotes of new leather.

Grab that apron and fire up the barbeque with confidence. Any one of these red wines will pair well with grilled meats and even salmon!

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