Back when I was in college, my mother gave me a cookbook with a few things tagged. From this volume I learned to make a very good salmon loaf (which I haven’t had in years because Spouse hates salmon) and an excellent pot roast.

My secret to the latter was a bottle of dry red wine in place of beef broth. Sear the meat, lots of salt and pepper, toss in a bunch of sliced onions, add half a bottle (or so) of red wine, put the covered pot in the oven at at a moderate temperature for four hours or so until the meat is about ready to fall apart, and an hour or so before the end add carrots and potatoes.

Not at all difficult, but a lot of fun, and very tasty. Serve with horseradish.

Because Spouse is LDS and I was, for years I’ve tried making it with one or another form of juice, but nothing has the tannic flavor I want. This afternoon I tried it with some FRE-brand “alcohol-free” wine (the stuff absolutely tastes like crap if you try to drink it, but I thought it was worth a shot for cooking), and that was a little better than plain grape juice, but still not great.

So next time I’m going to do it with wine. Spouse is showing signs of relaxing her position a little, and a meal worth doing is worth doing properly. But it’s been more than 33 years since I bought a bottle of wine, so I ask for guidance: what’s a good, broad, bold, dry red wine that’s fairly inexpensive? Recommendations, folks?