Few of us can afford Spanish wine star Alvaro Palacios' big dog, L'Ermita. But we can all afford an occasional bottle of his Camins del Priorat. Think of it as an introductory wine from northern Spain's rugged Priorat region. A blend of Carignan and Garnacha with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2007 Camins del Priorat is made from "younger" vines. That would be in the vicinity of 15 years old. It has everything going for it -- bright concentrated fruit, ripe tannins, silky texture, all of which make it an extremely versatile wine with food.
It won't overwhelm a simple roasted chicken yet can stand up to the rich flavors of a chicken fricassee with jamón serrano and sweet red peppers or a platter of grilled sausages. And like most Spanish reds, this one loves lamb.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Region: Priorat, Spain
Price: About $20
Style: Aromatic and fruity
What it goes with: roast chicken, chicken fricassee, sausages, lamb
Where to find it: Amazing Grapes Wine Store in Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-9007; www.amazing grapeswinestore .com; Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, www.hi timewine.net; John & Pete's Fine Wines & Spirits in West Hollywood, (310) 657-3080, www.johnand petes.com; Mel & Rose Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood, (323) 655-5557, www.meland rose.com; Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454, www.winex.com; Wine House, West L.A., (310) 479-3731, www.winehouse .com.