Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New! New! Not.

We’ve been going through a phase. We’re actually a little tired of trying new this, new that, in search of another good affordable everyday wine. We’ve just been buying our known favorites – two of this, three of that, maybe even a case of something just to have Old Reliable on hand.

Thus, we don’t have a lot of new reviews we’re excited about (although we do have a backlog of tasting notes still to post). So we thought we’d list – for you and as a reminder for ourselves – some of our current all-time-favorite fallback affordable wines. These are the wines we’re buying in multiple quantities and keeping on hand for everyday drinking.

  • Castle Rock Pinot Noir – California
  • Barnard Griffin Syrah – Washington
  • Red Diamond Syrah – Washington
  • Concannon Petite Sirah – California
  • Barnard Griffin Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – Washington
  • Tapeña Garnacha (Grenache) – Spain
  • Tapeña Tempranillo – Spain
  • Beringer White Zinfandel – California
  • Brancott Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand
  • Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand
  • Barnard Griffin Sauvignon Blanc – Washington
  • Covey Run Fume (Sauvignon) Blanc – Washington
  • B&G Vouvray (Chenin Blanc) – France
  • Kiona Chenin Blanc – Washington
  • Columbia Crest Pinot Grigio – Washington
  • Ryan Patrick Naked Chardonnay – Washington
  • Barnard Griffin Chardonnay – Washington
  • Bogel Petite Sirah – California
  • Bogel Old Vine Zinfandel – California
All of the wines on the above list should be readily available for under $15, many even for $10 or less. And they all should be widely available.

You might notice, sadly, that there aren’t any affordable Zinfandels on that list. We absolutely adore Zin, yet have been disappointed with several (many) sub-$15 wines we previously enjoyed. The closest we have come are Dancing Bull and Ravenswood (for when we don’t want to break out a Ridge or Turley; both of which are generally in the $30+ range), but we just don’t think they quite make this list. It’s also unfortunate that there are so few nice Pinot Noirs in our “affordable” price range. We could drink Pinot Noir every day – if we could find a few in our everyday-budget range. UPDATE: We've added Bogel's Old Vine Zin to our list – the best "cheap" Zin we're recently discovered.

Finally, note that there are four Sauvignon Blancs on the list – probably because it’s summer and we love those wines this time of year. The two New Zealand wines are bright, crisp, and grassy – typical NZ styles. The two Washington wines are more mellow but still fresh and lively – excellent summer dinner wines.