Monday, March 19, 2012
Checking Out Some Great Value Wines
Where can I find great wine for a great price?
Or, what can I find from the grocery store?
After three years of doing this those are still the most frequently asked questions of this column and my related blog. I try to use the space five or six times a year to give some specific examples.
The Robert Mondavi "Private Selection" label has been one of my favorites lately in this category. You'll find the label almost everywhere. Most Indiana Kroger groceries carry the Mondavi wines.
The most recent offering is the 2010 Robert Mondavi Meritage. The wine is a blend of mostly Cabernet, Merlot, and Malbec. They do add a small amount of Petit Verdot. You could call it a classic Bordeaux blend if that makes more sense.
The great thing about this wine is its easy drinkability and smooth finish. The grapes come from California's Central Coastal region in the Monterey wine region. The wine has very mild tannins and would be great for experienced and novice wine drinkers.
This is the Mondavi entry level label. I've had the Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot and Chardonnay. The suggested retail price is $11. It's usually available for less. All are great value buys.
I am really developing a taste for different white wines. It's easy to go into any market or liquor store and find a Chardonnay, Riesling, or even a Sauvignon Blanc.
Two of the best I've tasted lately are a bit more exotic but still easy to find in any decent wine shop.
Semillon is a grape known widely in the Bordeaux region of France but it's grown around the world. There are nice Semillon wines coming out of California, if you can find them. Australia's Jenke Semillon (a 2008 vintage) was a great recent find.
It's crisp with a hint of that grassy/lime flavor you get with Sauv Blanc. But Semillon is much smooth and this particular wine had an incredibly smooth finish.
This wine does not require an adventursome spirit. It's easy to drink and for $15-$20 the wine is a tremendous value.
The other white is similar in ways to the Semillon with a smooth drinkable feel on the palate. Morris Maremma Toscana Vermentino is a fabulous bottle of white wine. The Vermentino will be a bit more dry than the Semillon but still perfect alone or with chicken dishes.
Vermentino is known for its Sardinia origins but it's also found in Southern France's Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon regions.
Both of these whites are great choices as sippers, with snacks, or chicken meals. Many folks think of white wine and then fish, but I would recommend something with a bit more acidity than these two for most white fish meals.
Now if you can't find the Jenke or Italian label, just go to a wine shop and ask for a Semillon, Vermentino, or take the shop owner's recommendation.
So you have one easy-to-find supermarket wine with the Mondavi label and two from the something really different category that you should try.
All three wines are easy on the palate and wallet!
Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, IN., writes about wine every other week for 18 Midwestern Newspapers. You can write him at: firstname.lastname@example.org