Okay, next up are my picks for “best wine buys for the season”. These are the wines that you can either get by the case (if you are hosting a party) or take as a host/hostess gift. Regardless of the situation, you won’t break the bank…and your friends will be impressed with the quality of your wine selections!
Let’s start with white wines this time – a perennial best buy, and a newcomer that has blown me away the last couple of vintages. The first is the Viognier that Chilean winery Con Sur makes. Yes, it is on the ripe side for a Viognier, made in that fruit cocktail style. And, yes, it is so fruity that you almost mistake it for being sweet (although it’s not). But for the price — $10.99 – it is hard to beat. And it will turn more than a few heads at any holiday party.
The other white is the same price, but may be an even better value. I am not normally a big fan of South African wines, but the Two Oceans winery is doing some amazing things for ridiculously low prices. The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc might just be the best overall wine bargain around – classic, dry SB, with touches of herbs and grasses around crisp, dry citrus fruit. It tastes like it should cost $10 more, but is only $10.99 to start with! I imagine in places with lower alcohol taxes this is probably a $5 wine, which makes me cry!
On to the reds. A repeat from last year’s list and another perennial best buy in its own right, the Vin de Pays from Domaine de la Bastide is what an every day wine should be. It is made from Rhone varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, etc) and exhibits that classic south of France style – dry, with earthy black cherries and no oak. A pleasure to drink, and amazing at $10.25.
At a buck and a half more, Castano’s Monastrell is also a great deal. Different grape, but the wine tastes very much like the Bastide, although perhaps a bit earthier. It is my favourite wine deal from Spain, and again has no oakiness at all. At $11.97, you can afford more than a couple of bottles.
So what about sparkling wine, then? Not usually something you consider a bargain…but there is, once again, a great value wine out there! It is also from Spain, the NV Brut by Segura Viudas. It is made in the classic “cava” style – green apples, crisp, dry but also fruity, with nice bubbles. At $15.99, it is affordable enough to serve at an open house!
Finally, sweet wine. Not many will serve sweet wine during the holidays, but if you are having cheese, nuts, etc., you would be surprised how well it goes (and will be received). If you want to go that way, try the 2011 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Chilean winery Concha Y Toro. A Sauternes “look a like”, it is golden yellow, with sweet fruit on the nose and nice caramel/toffee flavours. A little goes a long way with sweet wine, so at $14.99, a couple of bottles will probably do.
So there you go! A selection of best buys that will make any party, house warming, event, etc. a hit. And they won’t break the bank!