The Wine Guy: A Bargain Red to Feel Good About

One of the best feel-good stories in the wine industry during the past few years—and one of the best values to boot—has been the 2 Brothers Big Tattoo line. Created six years ago by Billington Imports, the Springfield-based company that introduced most Americans to the wines of Chile and Argentina, the line gives us the opportunity to save money on high-quality juice while helping a good cause—50 cents from each bottle sold is donated to local hospice and breast-cancer charities. As of the end of 2007, more than $1 million had been raised—that’s a lot of bottles.

Quite frankly, I’d rather donate directly to charity if these wines weren’t so darn good. The flagship of the line is the Big Tattoo Red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from Chile’s Colchagua Valley. There’s also a Syrah and a Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva. All three are great value, but the 2005 Big Tattoo Red is the standout—it seems a little less fleshy than earlier bottlings (perhaps because some of the juice has gone into the Reserva?), but that austerity actually lends the wine a hint of complexity, with nuances of tea and cocoa. 

Listen to me—I’m talking about “complexity” and “nuance” in a wine that sells for less than $10! 

There are some nice whites, too, including a serviceable Riesling from Germany, but the reds are the winners. They deliver great quality for the price, plus a warm and fuzzy feeling. Consider them for your “house red” this year.

The 2 Brothers line is available at Rodman’s (DC, 202-363-3466; Wheaton, 301-946-3100; Rockville, 301-881-6253), Montgomery County Liquor & Wine (6831 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301-986-4372), MacArthur Beverages (4877 MacArthur Blvd., NW; 202-338-1433), Calvert Woodley (4339 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-966-4400), Arrowine (4508 Lee Hwy., Arlington; 703-525-0990), the Curious Grape (4056 S. 28th St., Arlington; 703-671-8700), and select Harris-Teeter and Wegmans stores.