By The Glass
Good values found in an international selection
GREAT wine values are growing harder and harder to come by, which makes the thrill of finding one all the more fulfilling. Here are some of my most recent discoveries:
2004 Farnese Trebbiano d'Abruzzo (less than $8): This dry, delicious, crisp and refreshing white wine comes from the east coast of Italy. Wines like this are usually served with fresh seafood from the fishing ports that dot the coastline. In fact it seems made to have with simply grilled or stewed seafood dishes.
A friend from the area once told me these kinds of gulpable white wines are kept around to quench the thirst on a hot day. We have many such hot days in the islands, so this wine would come in quite handy.
2004 Uvagio Vermentino ($11): This white-wine grape is frequently seen on Italy's Ligurian/Cinque Terre Coast, as well as the Isle of Sardegna. When produced well, it has a mesmerizing minerality and floral perfume that few other wines can mimic.
Although this particular vermentino comes from California, it still captures that wonderful floral, nutty, perfume and the crisp, lively character I love so much from the Italian and southern French versions.
For those used to drinking California wines, this version also has a lush, ripe, round feel on the palate that does not compromise food-friendliness. And like its European counterparts, this wine is absolutely delicious.
2003 Trevor Jones Chardonnay "The Virgin" (less than $20): I just read a magazine article that said chardonnay is still kingpin of white wines. And year in and year out, one of the best quality-for-your-dollar chardonnays has to be this bottling from Australia. It is always loaded with flavor, layers, unfolding nuance and deliciousness.
2004 Christoffel Riesling "JJ" (less than $20): The more 2004 German Rieslings I taste, the more impressed I am with the vintage, and Christoffel gets my vote as one of the very top producers.
The wines have such incredible purity, pedigree and sophistication. I also love their finesse, refinement and unbelievable delicacy. This is really good winemaking and you shouldn't miss out. The 2004 "JJ" bottling is an especially provocative riesling. Take it to any BYOB Asian restaurant to have with their sweet, spicy and/or salty foods.
2003 Ramos Pinto "Adriano" ($13): Here is an absolutely delicious, fruit-driven, wonderfully refreshing red wine from Portugal. I could easily see myself at a Mediterranean cafe or bistro, sipping on a slightly chilled bottle of this, with any local fare. A delicious café wine.
2003 Pillar Box ($12): Not everyone likes perky, refreshing, light-bodied red wines like the Adriano, regardless of how ideal they are for our warm weather. For those seeking something more rich, ripe and supple, this is for you.
Pillar Box is mainly produced from Australian grenache. And while it is not light and fruity, neither is it heavy or over the top. Delicious is a good word to describe this wine. Value is another.
Chuck Furuya is a master sommelier and a partner in the Sansei restaurants. This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals.
This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org