Many Wine Line readers have let me know that their favorite part of this column is the What’s On Our Table section. They have asked,“Where has it been the last two months?” I wish I had a good answer, but I don’t. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again, I promise. So this column is dedicated to those wines that have graced our table and are readily available, under $15 and an excellent quality to price ratio (QPR).
The editor loves to cook and is a true gourmet. She also gets to choose the dinner wine. This summer she has been requesting “a nice light red” nearly every night. When we went through the 100 degree days we relied on the three 2012 French roses that Costco sold. The Saint Roch Les Vignes was my favorite ($9.99). Pinot noir lightly chilled is an excellent warm weather wine and pairs easily with most all foods. The Barefoot ($6.99) and The Naked Grape ($7.99) pinot noirs from Gallo are a tremendous value.
Only five pinot noirs won double gold medals at the State Fair Competition. These two were in that group. Two other pinots worth finding are the 2011 Monterey County Garnet Vineyards and the 2011 J. Lohr Estates Falcon’s Perch. Both, on sale, are around $13.
If you’re not a pinot fan try the 2011 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguie ($9.99). The Valdiguie grape is very much like the gamay noir variety from France’s Beaujolais region and produces flavors of pomegranate and raspberry.
Two tempranillos made our summer table and are super deals. The 2007 Vina Eguia from the Rioja region in Spain is a steal for just $9.99 at Costco and the 2010 Matchbook Dunnigan Hills tempranillo is available at most markets for under $14. Two steals from the Grocery Outlet are the 2009 A Mano Primitivo ($3.99) and the 2008 Niner Wine Estates Bootjack Ranch Syrah ($7.99). Primitivo is the Italian version of zinfandel and it has red berry fruit with soft round tannins. Niner Wine Estates is one of my favorite wineries in Paso Robles. I’m not sure how the G.O. scored this wine but I’m glad they did. It’s big and bold and I suggest you decant it (let it breathe) for about 30 minutes and pair it with baby back ribs off the barbeque for the perfect summer meal.
There is a saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Now substitute the cook for Mama and you’ll understand why I only have two white wine selections. The 2011 Montresor Pinot Grigio from Italy is only $4.99 and the 2011 Italian Riondo Soave is just $3.99 at the Grocery Outlet. The Riondo Soave scored an 85 and a “Best Buy” ($10) by a major wine magazine. Two fresh, crisp 2011 Italian white wines at bargain prices right here in Merced.