The following story was written by Jameson Fink.
It's late and your local wine shop is closed. You don't feel like dealing with the vastness of the grocery store. Are you out of options? Surprisingly, you never know what you might find at your local bodega.
I will confess to always being in retail wine professional mode when I walk into any convenient store, scanning the shelves and making a mental inventory. Sometimes you'll find wines beyond the usual suspects, having no idea how they got there. Was it a decision by the owner or a suggestion by the sales rep? No matter, by scouring the shelves you can dig up an affordable, and drinkable, treasure.
This was the case when I stopped by my neighborhood bodega, Summit Foods, at (not surprisingly) Summit and Belmont in Capitol Hill. Buried on the bottom shelf I found one of my favorite under $10 wines: Encosta dos Curiosos.
This Portuguese red is a blend of Castel?, Tinta Miuda, Alicante Bouschet, and Aragones. Don't worry, there's no quiz. And I'll forget the names of at least three of those grapes before I get the bottle home. Just remember the the red "EC" on the label.
The Encosta dos Curiosos is an easy-drinking red for taking to a party or taking home to enjoy with a pizza. It goes to show that when it comes to wine sleuthing (and drinking), it pays to be curious.