Monday, December 08, 2008

Recession-Proof White Wines

This time of year, people are looking for bargains to help them get through the holidays with a little spare cash in their pockets. Now, more than ever, most of us are cutting corners given the tough economy.

Today I've got three recommendations for recession-proof white wines that will leave some extra change in your pocket without leaving you feeling deprived. Each one is widely available, and each one retails for under $10 in most markets.

My first recommendation is the excellent QPR 2007 Robert Mondavi Riesling Private Selection. Made from Monterey County fruit, this is a fresh, off-dry Riesling. Aromas of apple, litchi, and honey are the preamble for flavors that include apple, lime zest, and peach. It has a long, juicy aftertaste and more complexity than many domestic Rieslings at this price point. And, best of all, it's not too sweet so it will go nicely with Asian cuisine. (I received this wine as a sample. Suggested retail price is $10, and you will find it selling for between $7 and $14 at retailers throughout the country. Please note: this wine used to be called "Johannisburg Riesling," and you may still see it advertised as such.)

My second recommendation is the very good QPR 2007 Mandolin Chardonnay. Inexpensive Chardonnays are often too sweet and have a clumsy use of oak. This wine is more sophisticated than most at this price point, with buttered pear and apple aromas. These are echoed in the flavors, with a bit of vanilla and oak in the aftertaste. This wine is nicely balanced, and is as good with food as without. (I received this wine as a sample. Suggested retail price is $10.)

Finally, everyone needs some sparkle over the holidays. The excellent QPR NV Freixenet Cava Cordon Negro Brut fills the bill perfectly. This sparkler is nutty, frothy, and citrusy. Unlike some inexpensive sparklers, there is not a harsh or unpleasant note to mar your experience. Definitely a bargain, and it's good enough that you don't have to mix it with orange juice to enjoy it. It will be perfect with appetizers or just sipping with friends before a holiday dinner or party. (I received this wine as a sample. Average retail price is under $10, and you can find it at most retailers for between $7 and $15)

I wish pinching pennies always tasted this good.


Joe said...

Debs, is the Freixenet your favourite amongst the cheap Cavas? I haven't had it in ages, opting for the Codorniu Clasico Brut instead - should I try the switch (or a blind test?)?

Dr. Debs said...

Joe, I just picked up a Cristallino--no Codorniu in the local store. I'll let you know how they compare. I had a Tarantas Cava that was quite good, on sale for $11.99, but I think I actually preferred the Freixenet.

Joe said...

I look forward to the comments - I found Codorniu so reliable that I haven't tried the others in years. But I picked up the Freixenet on your recommendation, should have some over the holidays...