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Low-Cost Whites That Won’t Tax Your Palate PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Citara - BT Contributor   
April 2012

 

Red, white, and you: Agreeable wine for $12 or less

Pix_for_Vino_4-12Two things, they say, are certain in this world. Death and taxes.

To those we can probably add one more: You’ll need a drink after paying your taxes. But that’s okay, at least the drinking part, because Vino has got you covered. In fact, to celebrate everybody’s least favorite day -- April 15 -- we’re going even cheaper than usual, reducing our already skinflint $12-a-bottle price limit by two bucks. A few months back, we harvested a banner crop of El Cheapo reds; now we’re doing the same for whites.

And not a moment too soon, from what I’ve been hearing. Recently I’ve been talking to some folks deep in the wine biz, owners and winemakers, and they’re telling me the glut of good juice that’s kept prices down and good, inexpensive wine flowing, has pretty much dried up. There are still plenty of players in the affordable-wine market, but it’s going to be tougher and more expensive for them to get the juice they need, so enjoy the good deals while you can.

And speaking of good deals…

This is a deal so good you need to take advantage of it right now. Don’t brush your teeth or comb your hair or change out of your jammies, just get in your car and scream over to the nearest Total Wine and buy as much of the 2009 Daisy Chain Marie’s White as your (after-tax) pocketbook will allow. I can’t really tell you anything about it, except that it’s made in Central California and is a blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, and Riesling.

Oh, and did I mention the price? Four bucks a bottle. For that, you get a wine that’s perfect for everyday drinking, lushly aromatic with scents of tropical fruit and just-bloomed flowers, rich and creamy and ever-so-slightly sweet on the palate, tasting of ripe mangoes, peaches, and pears, with a long lemon-lime finish. It’s a fine match with spicy Asian or Mexican dishes, and would be ideal for your next backyard barbecue. EDITOR'S NOTE: To our dismay, we have learned that Total Wine has decided to stop carrying the Daisy Chain white. As the existing inventory is sold, it will not be replaced. Please call ahead to check availability.

It shows you what a bargain the Daisy Chain is that a wine like Meridian’s 2010 California Chardonnay, at $7.99, is only a good deal, not a great one. Don’t let that stop you, though, because the Meridian is a very nice wine for the money. Done in the classic rich ’n’ creamy California style, with lots of tropical fruit, pear, apricot, and vanilla flavors, it earns more points for keeping all that lushness in check with a welcome citrus-pineapple acidity that carries through to a smooth, lingering finish. Even if you’re not a fan of big, fruity California Chardonnays, I think you’ll like this wine, which would make a very pleasant partner to roasted chicken, veal dishes, and almost any kind of cream-sauced pasta.

Two more wines also earn spots on my Beat the Tax Bite list. The 2010 Antinori Campogrande Santa Cristina Orvieto is a perennial winner, displaying the consistent quality and user-friendliness for which this Italian wine behemoth is known. You’ll get whiffs of citrus and pears and melons when you first pop a bottle, then flavors of lemons and limes and green apples, with a hint of apricot richness. Well made, well balanced, and well priced at $8.99.

The other nice-priced wine that always has a place on my table is this year’s vintage (2010) of Dry Creek Clarksburg Chenin Blanc. Where the Antinori promises more luxury in the nose than in the mouth, the Dry Creek comes off at first as a little austere, with lemony, grapefruity, mineral aromas. But it gains fullness on the palate, enriching its tangy citrus flavors with those of peach and pear and apricot. I served it with a roasted chicken stuffed under the skin with sprigs of fresh rosemary and it was as ideal a complement to the bird as the cluck.

Two other wines were better, though not in our top four. The 2010 Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc was aggressively tart and mineraly, more like a Muscadet than the typical Chilean SB. And the Angelo Bufani 2010 Pinot Grigio was as simple and inoffensive as it was ultimately forgettable, though it was, in fact, far preferable to both death and taxes.

 

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