We all have favorites. Go to selections – like a little black dress or leopard spotted pumps – that are perfect for everyday occasions and special events.
More important than shoes or clothes, I have go-to wines. Red, white, rosé , sparkling and still, dry or sweet, dessert or aperitif I have favorites in all such categories and would love to share them with you. With the exception of Port and Dessert wine I have listed a value priced (under $15.00) wine along with one other. I believe these selections are easy-drinking, great value, broadly appealing, affordable and readily available.
Let us begin with sparkling. Sparkling wines (along with rose) are the most versatile of all wines and are considered to be the wines of celebration. Begin an evening with a dry sparkling wine, either served alone or alongside aperitifs or end dinner with an off-dry or sweet sparkling wine easily paired with a vast array of desserts. Mums Napa Brut Prestige ($22.49), is made in the U.S.A. using the traditional sparkling wine technique ( the same technique as used for the production of Champagne). This is a beautiful and decadent wine. My value sparkler is Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava, priced at $14.95, also made using the traditional method.
Rosé wines offers incredible diversity and beauty. Styles vary, covering a broad spectrum ranging from dry to sparkling to dessert. Belleruche Cotes du Rhone Rosé is dry and elegant and priced at $16.99. In the value category, and a relatively new addition to my go-to list, is the Marchesi de Frescobaldi Rèmole rosé from Italy. This wine is priced at $14.99.
Next up. White wine. If you were to ask what my favorite grape varietal is, that is a question I can easily and quickly reveal. It is Riesling. Hands down. My go-to choices in the white wine category are Dr Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett, $24.99, a delicate and beautiful wine and the value-priced and charming Jackson-Triggs Reserve Riesling ($14.99.)
Red wine is beloved by many. It is not as food – friendly as wine in other categories and food pairing is often a consideration. When choosing which go-to red is most suitable for an evening I like to not only select what I believe to be the most suitable wine but also give careful thought to who will be attending and what their red wine preferences are. One wine I have repeatedly featured at events and whose quality remains consistent from vintage to vintage is the Marchesi de Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina $19.99. A value red that seriously overdelivers is Grandes Vinos Y Vinedos Monasterio de Las Vinas Reserva ($14.99). Red wines from Italy, Spain and France offer terrific value, are great pairing wines and are well-represented on my go-to list.
Dessert wines add a sense of formality to an evening. A rich and decadent dessert wine Torres Floralis at $14.97 (500 ml) is my currant go-to. This highly aromatic wine has an exotic nose of acacia, roses, brandied apricot, peach and honey. We served this at Thanksgiving Dinner and it was a huge hit. Don’t be concerned about the small bottle size (500 ml) as dessert wine pours measure 2 ounces so a small bottle goes a long way. Dessert wines are an extra special touch and not only pair well with the majority of desserts they are also lovely served along cheese or nuts.
The cool weather and dark nights scream out for Port. Add a roaring fire and Port is essential. Although there are many different types of Port, I favor Tawny Port. Tawny is a blend of several vintages (years) and wood aging gives it softer subtler flavors and aromas. Warre’s Otima 10 year old Tawny Port $25.09 (500 ml) is consistently delicious. A standard Port pour is 3 ounces.
It is comforting to have a go-to wine list. The wine selections listed above are a sampling from my go-to wine list, wines that I seek out for their broad appeal and exceptional quality. Favorites come and go so I encourage experimentation. It is the only way to expand your “go-to list”. Perhaps that is the best advice of all.