Russ Winton: Wine List

White and pink wine selections

In my last column, red wines that I selected for the year were highlighted. These were wines that I chose for the “What’s On Our Table” section. This means they are readily available, good value to price. and under $20. In other words, you’ll find almost all in supermarkets. My selections fall into three price categories; Monday wines (under $10), Friday wines (under $15) and weekend wines ($15 and up). My freaked-out-reluctant-to-buy price is around $25. I would much rather find three good, well-balanced wines under $10 than one for $25. Below are the white and rosé wines that made our table this year.

If chardonnay is your white wine of choice and if you’re looking for an inexpensive daily sipper, try Liberty Creek. The medal-winning wine is a light, well-balanced chardonnay and a terrific value to price. A step up in price but still under $15 is the Cupcake 2012 Chardonnay. Two on the upper end are the 2012 Landmark Overlook and the 2013 Napa Cellars. Both are made in a lighter style with a touch of creaminess, just a touch of oak and are excellent food wines.

Six sauvignon blancs made the table this year, three under $10 and three under $15. If you enjoy a crisp white wine (read acidity), Kenwood, Geyser Peak and Seaglass should be on your list. All are sale priced under $9 and make excellent daily whites. If you’d like a step up, try the Franciscan, Hanna or Benziger, all from the 2012 vintage and in the $12 to $15 range. If you’re tired of these two popular whites, try a chenin blanc, the 2013 Dry Creek or the 2013 Pine Ridge. The Pine Ridge is a few bucks more but is blended with viognier, which gives it a bigger mouth-feel and light floral aromas.

If you haven’t tried viognier (say vee-ohn-YAY), try the award-winning McManis. I’m not aware of any other viogniers in this price range ($10 or even higher) that are as good as this one. Two box white wines I chose were the Blackbox Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and the Wine Cube Pinot Grigio. Both make great house wines.

All the rosés selected were from the most current vintage (2013) and two amazing bargains came from Trader Joe’s. The Robert Hall Rosé de Robles and the Marques De Caceres from Rioja were just $7. In the mid-price range the Tolosa Rosé of Pinot Noir, the Charles & Charles Columbia Valley Rosá and the Pedroncelli Dry Rosé of Zinfandel were excellent. At the $15 level, the Benziger Family Dry Rosé, the Lange Twins Sangiovese Rosé and the Navarro Mendocino Rosé were beautiful pink, bone-dry wines.

In my next column I’ll list my favorite bubblies from year seven, just in time for the holidays. Cheers!

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