Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Go-To Wines

The April 2007 Food and Wine magazine is listing it's "50 wines You Can Always Trust." I call these "go-to wines," the wines that you can easily pick up in most retail stores and supermarkets when you are stuck without a helpful sales person or can't find any of your usual favorites. The list is also on their website, for those who want to check out the complete list with tasting notes. (image from Food and Wine)

Food and Wine's list is made entirely of wines under $20, and is producer and vineyard focused. No vintages are given, since Food and Wine contends that these wines have proven track records and vintage after vintage represents good quality for the price. Now, you can quibble with this philosophy a bit, but I have to say I agree with their choices. They even have added a list of 5 perennial Bordeaux values priced at under $25.

Among their 50 picks are the La Crema Chardonnay (around $18), which is widely available and often finds its way into my shopping cart if I am heading to dinner at someone's house who I know loves chardonnay. For red wine lovers, the stalwart performer Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel (around $11) typically represents excellent QPR no matter what the vintage, as does the Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot ($16) and the Hogue Columbia Valley Riesling ($7). Not all the selections are US wines, and there are suggestions for Australian bottlings ( like the Koonunga Hill Cabernet Sauvignon for $12 that Wannabe Wino recently enjoyed on an evening out), South American bottlings (the Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec for $10 looks like one to try), France (the Hugl et Fils "Gentil" is one of my favorite wines, and makes their list, too), Italy (Castello Banfi's Centine red blend caught my eye here), and Spain (I definitely will be trying the Osborne Tempranillo-Cabernet blend for $9 as soon as I can find it). Click on the image or story title, above, to check out the full list.

I'm going to print this out and keep it in my glove compartment, purse, or briefcase for wine shopping emergencies. Look forward to receiving your copy of this month's magazine if you are a subscriber, purchase a copy in the grocery store, or use the miracle of the internet to check out the list today before you head out to do some wine shopping. And feel free to leave a comment with your reactions to the list here.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr. Debs for pointing to this article. Theirs is a good list and yours is a good idea for "wine shopping emergencies." I'll also keep the list handy to answer the perennial question from friends and acquaintances about recommending good, safe wines. Ken W, alawine.com

Dr. Debs said...

Welcome, Ken W. Glad you think it will be useful. That was certainly my impression, and it was also a nice change to think of perennially solid wines, inside of focusing on this highly touted vintage or that one.

Orion Slayer said...

This list is a great tool for me. As a wine newby I'm learning the different varietals and have little experiance. I can use this list as a reference point to learn. Without it, I'm shooting in the dark. This list gives me confidence. More importantly, I've found almost all these wines listed at the web site of the wine store I frequent most. Thanks for pointing out this article!

Dr. Debs said...

Welcome back, Orionslayer. I think this is a great list for anyone--not just newbies--because we are all looking to try a new varietal or new producer or new store and this list does (as you say) inspire confidence. And, you don't have to worry that the store you shop in has a different vintage than the one that's "recommended." Enjoy!