Single varietal wines from Rioja used to be hard to find and expensive. Recently, such wines have become more common, although they still tend to be priced well beyond the $10 range.
If I were forced to drink only one inexpensive white wine all year, I’d choose Louis Jadot Macon-Villages Chardonnay. This wine from Burgundy is so clean and crisp that it almost seems like it was produced from an entirely different grape variety than the one used to make the weighty, oaked California Chardonnays, those wines with such rich vanilla and butter flavors that they are best drunk in cold weather.
I’ve been a fan of Malbec from Argentina for many years, but after I recently tried Clos La Coutale, a dark, red version from Cahors in Southwest France, I have switched my allegiance.
When it comes to wine labels, I’m pretty conservative. I’m attracted to the clean, straightforward look, labels with clear type sporting a crest or a drawing of the chateau. I tend to avoid wines selling themselves with cute names, overweight circus animals and sadly portrayed dogs and cats, labels that, in my experience, often mask an inferior product.
Malbec, the signature red wine of Argentina, is well-suited for winter drinking, full of dark fruit and chocolate flavors that go well with meats, rich soups and stews.
I’m looking forward to raising a glass to bring in 2018, and I’ve spent some time looking for the right affordable sparkling wine to go with the occasion.
Sparkling rosé seems to lend itself to festive and holiday occasions. After all, it’s bubbly and pink.
William Hill Estate’s North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent value and a perfect wine for drinking on winter nights.
Castle Rock Pinot Noir got my attention a month or so ago when I found a bottle on sale and decided to give it a try. For $10.99, I expected a California Pinot Noir like many in that price range, drinkable, but bland and mass produced without much attention to detail.
Part of the fun of writing this column is that I often need to look for largely undiscovered, good affordable wines. It’s a quest that I enjoy and that can be rewarding when I do find something that’s new and exciting in the sea of wines on the market.