Get Your Drink On
Six Great Wines for About $15 or Less
Want a good wine for sipping and entertaining without breaking the bank? Here are six affordable and delightful wines that fit any occasion or cuisine. With this little group you will always have the “perfect” wine to sip, serve or bring to that special hostess.
1. Tosti Prosecco (Italy) A great alternative to expensive champagne! Light and sparkling with an aroma of fresh peaches and slight fruity sweetness. It is great as a sipping wine, served without food, or with appetizers. It is also wonderful with fish, sushi or vegetarian dishes. Add a little fresh peach nectar and you have a “Bellini.” $15.99 (admiralimports.com)
2. Fazi Battaglia Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi “Massaccio”, 2007 (Italy) Forget whatever you remember about verdicchio! In fact, forget about pinot grigio too! Both are yesterday’s news. A new era of winemaking is flourishing in the Marche region. Bolder and more generous on the palate than ever before due to more strident regimes in the field and cellar. Nicely perfumed with a hint of citrus, you will enjoy this with grilled herbed fish or dishes of white meats or pastas that feature light saucing. Quite enjoyable by itself too because it has enough flavor and long enough finish to stand alone.
3. Caves de Lugny, Macon-Lugny 2007 (France) A reliable stand-by chardonnay! Always crisp and varietally correct. Its lack of oak overlay recommends it for sipping as an aperitif alone or with a dash of crème de cassis to make the softly fruity “Kir” cocktail. Pour this one for meatier fish, poultry and pork preparations. A good side-kick for most oriental cuisines too. $15.99 (diageo.com)
4. Cantine Cantalupo “IL Mimmo” Nebbiolo Rose, 2008 (Italy) Are you secure enough to offer this exceptional DRY rose to your guests? You should be. One hundred percent nebbiolo grapes create this bright cherry-colored beauty. Cherries and a hint of roses entice the nose. Ripe flavors of cherries greet the tongue. This wine has enough character to accompany grilled salmon or roasted veal. If you prefer your salmon poached use this wine as the poaching liquid. (Damn the cost, enjoy the fish!) Best drunk within a year of the vintage. Buy a case now and finish it up before the end of summer. Maybe keep a bottle for turkey day? $14.99 (polanerselections.com)
5. Monte Volpe Primo Rosso, 2006 (California) A throwback to the days when the Italian growers in Mendocino made “field blends” or co-fermented many different grape varieties to make their “everyday red”. Six different types of grapes are blended into this seamless, densely fruited offering. Redolent of dark fruits, softly tannic but well structured and balanced. It will age for a few years, but you cannot go wrong serving it with paste al forno and grilled meats. Affordable enough for a burger, but serious enough for a NY Strip. $13.99 (grazianofamilyvineyards.com)
6. Kaiken Malbec “Ultra” 2006 (Argentina) An oaky, smoky, inky black from high in the Andes. Dense and lush fruit are heavily framed by sweet vanilla tones. A wine not for the faint of heart! Argentina is getting quite a rep for this varietal and this wine is one of the reasons why. When the meat hits the grill, whether it is steak, lamb or sausages(or a mixed grill of them all) this is the Big boy the big Boys (and Girls) will enjoy chewing on. $16.99 (kaikenwines.com)