By The Glass
Value and quality make a good pairing with select wines
Isn't it great when you find a terrific wine at a reasonable price? Value will always be in fashion.
I recently found two French Cotes-du-Rhone, which at $10 a bottle offer great value. The names are very similar, yet the resulting red wines are very different in style and character.
The first is labeled 2005 Les Garrigues. This 2005 grenache-based red is full of finesse and deliciousness, with absolutely no hard edges. It glides so wonderfully down the palate.
Serve it with vegetable- and/or meat-based pasta dishes.
The second is labeled 2003 La Garrigue and is, in comparison, quite hearty, robust and rustic, and would work very well with meatloaf, braised meat dishes or even roast chicken.
A pinot noir value
I recently tasted a newly released 2006 pinot noir that is well worth looking for, because of its inherent value. It is the 2006 Summerland Winery Pinot Noir "Santa Barbara,"
which should retail for less than $20 a bottle.
In this day and age, $20 for a good pinot is a real bargain. As wine lovers will attest, the prices of quality California pinot noir keep going up.
Well, the 2006 California pinot crop is much smaller than the 2004 and 2005 crops, so the wines will be scarcer and we will see some pretty significant price increases. The fruit for this bottling was sourced primarily from various blocks in the Bien Nacido Vineyard and a small portion of the blend was derived from nearby vineyards that share the same soil and climate within the Santa Maria Valley. The resulting wine is lovely, pretty, quite feminine, silky and very much about deliciousness.
2005 Keller Estate "La Cruz Vineyard"
is a new face that I highly recommend you seek out. The Keller family own a breath-taking vineyard within the en-vogue Sonoma Coast appellation of California. What separates this chardonnay from many of its peers is how elegant, classy and supremely well-textured and layered it really is. At $30 a bottle, it is a steal today, and I think the price will go up with each vintage because of the accolades the winery is receiving.
2004 Au Bon Climat "Sanford & Benedict" has been one of my favorite chardonnay bottlings for years. At a recent chardonnay tasting, the 2004 again proved to be top of the class, because of its innate breed, pedigree, finesse, texture and balance. Those looking for buttery, oaky, showy wines -- this is definitely not for you. For those looking for a chardonnay more akin to a white burgundy, here is the wine.
Chuck Furuya is a master sommelier, partner in the Sansei restaurants and a consultant to Southern Wine and Spirits.
This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org