By Maggie Walters
Hello all! Happy Fall! I can't believe we're already into the latter part of the year. Once the pumpkins get put on the porch I feel like the rest of the year is a big blur of colorful leaves, roasted turkeys, evergreen trees, fireworks, and delicate flutes of champagne. Then somehow I find myself at the beginning of a new year completely stuffed full of delicious meals, wine, and a house with remnants of being taken over by loved ones.
Fret not though! I am here for all of your wine needs! Worry about more important things like how many hours you should roast your turkey, or who's going to host the folks for dinner. Finding the best wine for your budget and food and wine pairing are hands-down the best parts of my job at Colonial Wine Shop!
On that note, here are some great wines for $15 and under that will surely add some joy to this transitional season. You know the drill, I scour the shelves looking for a great wine with exceptional quality that doesn't break the bank. I taste some great wines, and I also taste some not so good stuff. Here are my latest offerings of the great stuff!
Cheers and enjoy!
"DUET" CHARDONNAY / VIOGNIER BLEND by Maison Louis Latour – France
This is a fuller bodied white blend. As the days grow shorter and temperatures start to drop (a little too slowly this year for my liking), I definitely start to crave whites with a little more body! Chardonnay and Viognier are both whites that have more umph to them, and this producer has blended them together! Fun fact: heavier whites don't have to be chilled down super cold, and they hold up to more substantial dishes! I had this with braised white beans and black cod and was not disappointed. One really cool thing for you wine geeks is this wine is both stainless steel fermented and goes through a full malolactic fermentation. This means you get the creamy, buttery texture and flavor profile without any charred oak. Definitely worth checking out!
CUVEE A, AMRITA by Anne Amie Winery – WILLAMETTE VALLEY, OREGON
Everyday $15.99 Sale: $12.99
Grape breakdown: 35% Riesling, 28% Pinot Blanc, 13.5% Pinot Blanc, 12.6% Viognier, 7.2% Gewurtztraminer, 3.7% Chardonnay.
Bubbles!! If you've been following my blogs you may have noticed that I kind of have an affinity for wines that sparkle. I blame it on my wine trip to Champagne, France where I fell in love! I can at least share with you what I am going gaga over these days and yes, it's delicious and affordable! The blend of grapes used differs each year, with the goal to create a consistent style from vintage to vintage. This wine has an exotic fruit-forward and floral expression. Think starfruit, elderflower, kaffir lime and ginger. This wine has just a whiff of sweetness to it, but is so balanced with the high acidity and bubbles that it almost goes completely unnoticed. This wine begs to be enjoyed with foods of heavy spice, like Asian dishes, Indian food and Mexican food. (You actually want a little bit of sweetness in your wine to go with these foods!). It's also great as an aperitif/something to greet your guests with at the door. You've been warned, this bottle disappears quite fast!
OVR OLD VINE RED by Marietta Cellars – CALIFORNIA
On to red wine! To me, what really marks the change in season is the transition to more red wine at the dinner table. Dishes get heavier as it gets colder and the wine on the table follows suit. Plus, when it really gets chilly, they have the added benefit of warming you up!
This is a Zinfandel dominant blend, which I hate to say I am extra picky about. I feel like cheap zin blends are a dime a dozen and most are lacking in structure, overly fruity, cloyingly off-dry and ridiculously high in alcohol. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. I am so impressed with this wine! It's rich and expressive, structured with a back bone of tannin structure that does not leave the palate quickly. This blend has bright acidity, and a lovely nose of pure red fruits and an unctuous meatiness. Marietta has been making their red blends for 66 years. They have a style that has passed the test of time and isn't just a trend that will fade away. Their higher end wine is worth experiencing as well, but as far as value, this is where it's at!
SILK AND SPICE RED BLEND – PORTUGAL
Everyday $12.99 Sale: $9.99
WE90 Wine Enthusiast
I featured this wine previously in my blog about Portuguese wines (which can be read here), but this is just SO GOOD it has to be mentioned twice! This wine is dark, juicy, supple, full, and spicy. Lovely notes of cocoa powder, baking spices and oak linger on your palate and have you going back for more. Red blends are definitely "in". You can't turn around good without meeting three new blends; they're coming to existence because of the current popularity of blends in the market. This means they can, unfortunately, be lackluster and overpriced. Thankfully that's is not true for this wine As I've said before, going off the beaten path to a region and/or country that isn't getting the spotlight is a great way to discover something amazing for not a lot of commitment from the pocket book. Portugal is definitely not getting a whole lot of publicity. This wine is worth every penny! The label is very eye catching too (which is always a plus). It's an old school sailors map paying homage to the Portuguese explorers' discovery of the spice rout to India. Tie that in with the spice found in the wine and you've got a great story for the dinner table!
All sizes and vintages are in stock at the time of publication. In the event advertised vintages sell out, substitute vintages may be offered at the same price. Products and prices are subject to change.