That's why we loved the Super Tuscan we had recently, the 2003 Re di Renieri Toscana. Super Tuscan wines are made in the Tuscany region of Italy, but their makers depart from traditional local methods and blends. The Re di Renieri comes on strong, with flavors of earth, currant and stone. We also noticed a slightly bitter note of tar or charcoal, but it was nuanced enough to add to the wine's quality rather than detracting from it. Handsome, old-school, and even soulful are a few other words we tossed around as we were drinking it.
Now for the high/low explanation: this very dark, ruby red blend of Merlot (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), Cabernet Franc (15%) and Petit Verdot (5%) has enough smoothness to appeal to the casual drinker. It's not weird enough to be intimidating. But it also has some rougher edges, which we think would appeal to those looking for a more challenging sip. We got it on sale for $29.99, and would rate it an 8.5 out of 10.