By John ~ September 25th, 2013
LaGayle and I sip a glass or two of wine virtually every evening, either just sitting out on the deck talking and/or as an accompaniment with dinner. Unless we are having guests or it is a special occasion, we like to keep the cost moderate on these everyday wines. Over the years, we have developed several “Go-To” favorites that seem to be consistently good from vintage to vintage. In that group there is one sparkling wine, the Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut (Columbia Valley, Washington); two white whites, the Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand) and the Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington); and one red wine, the Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet (South Australia, Australia).
All four of these wines are well above average in quality, give you excellent bang for your buck, and are readily available almost anywhere you go to buy wine. We often buy one or more of these to keep in our hotel room when we are traveling to sip in the evening after a day of sightseeing.
Domaine Ste. Michelle is one of the largest sparkling wine houses in the United States, producing more than 300,000 cases each year. DSM has been producing sparkling wine for over 30 years, and Rick Casqueiro has been head winemaker since 1994. While this Brut is good enough to celebrate a special occasion, its price point makes it an excellent weeknight or Sunday brunch bubbly. Available at Total Wine and More for $7.57.
“Sparkling wine is a wonderful yet often overlooked accompaniment to food. Bright acidity and effervescence cleanses the palate, while the delicate flavors complement a wide array of dishes….” –Winemaker Rick Casqueiro
Regular readers know that as far as white wines go, we Wine Peeps love Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. But as far as LaGayle is concerned, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is the best wine period. And, Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc is one of her favorite wines from New Zealand. It is crisp, refreshing, and an excellent sipper no matter whether you are sitting on the deck on a sunny afternoon or curled up with a book on a winter’s evening. Available at Total Wine and More for $7.57.
“Intense aromas of pineapple, passion fruit and guava [and LaGayle would say grapefruit, too], complemented by flinty minerality and herbal notes of nettle and cut tomato plant. The nettle and cut tomato plant characters give richness to the palate, and there is an abundance of luscious fruit sweetness, especially passion fruit and pineapple notes. The wine has excellent presence and mouth feel, with balanced acidity and a generous finish.” –Nobilo
Riesling has become known as Washington State’s signature white variety. Washington is the largest Riesling producing state in the United States. And, Washington State’s own Chateau Ste. Michelle is the largest Riesling producer in the world. Chateau Ste. Michelle makes a number of different Rieslings of different styles and price points, including this off-dry Columbia Valley Riesling. Available at Total Wine and More for $5.97.
“Our Columbia Valley Riesling is a blend of Riesling from throughout Washington’s Columbia Valley. We craft it to be a refreshing, off-dry Riesling vintage after vintage. The wine delivers sweet lime and peach character with subtle mineral notes. This is our ‘any day Riesling’ that is a pleasure to drink and easy to match with a variety of foods.” –Bob Bertheau, Head Winemaker
Penfolds is one of the oldest and most well respected wineries in Australia. Today, Penfolds is most famous for its top of the line Grange wine that often sells for $500 or more. This Koonunga Hill wine is from one of their value lines. Nevertheless, according to some experts, it is a wine that can age for 20 years, which is remarkable for a wine at this price point. Available at Total Wine and More for $7.97.
“Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet is very much a reflection of the Penfolds winemaking style and philosophy. Sourced from premium vineyards across South Australia, the wine is known for its full-flavoured style with excellent Shiraz and Cabernet fruit, firm yet well-rounded structure and balanced oak. Made as a traditional ‘Australian blend’, the Shiraz component provides fleshy fruit flavour while Cabernet provides a frame of fine grained tannins.” –Penfolds
I highly recommend that you put a few bottles of each of these wines in your cellar (wine rack, closet, or wherever you keep your wine), and you’ll have some very enjoyable evenings without breaking the bank.
Filed under: American Wine, Australian Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, New Zealand Wine, Red Wine, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz/Syrah, Sparkling Wine, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25