Summertime often brings casual, hot, sweaty, outdoor parties. And even though friends deserve the very best, the budget deserves attention too, so locating a great tasting wine to enjoy with friends while not breaking the budget is a great way to feel good about the next party! Here are several wines that might help with both goals – ALL good quality, ALL under $10! Last weekend I tested these wines on my friends and they showed well (always nice to get extra opinions!), so I suggest you enjoy them all… and with the money you saved, buy something nice for yourself!!!
De Perriere Rose Brut France NV (PLCB Code: 47635 $8.99 Available in Premium Collection Stores) What a nice bottle of inexpensive rose sparkler! This may be a perfect for casual, warm evenings with friends. Lightly effervescent with strawberry scents on the nose, the flavors, while not layered or complex, are straightforward red fruits that persist through to a clean finish. Upon tasting this sparkler, a friend reminded me that for less than the price of many, mildly-disappointing glasses of non-descript restaurant sparklers, you can have the entire bottle of the De Perriere Rose Brut – which makes it my new favorite inexpensive sparkler AND makes it a Screaming Good Deal!
Bommarito Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2014 (PLCB Code: 33803 $9.99 widely available) This Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is produced under famous Napa producer Whitehall Lane. Anyone familiar with new world style Sauvignon Blancs will recognize the trademark heavier weight and concentrated fruit flavors – this particular SB features a number of candied fruit elements that overshadow the typical Sauv Blanc grassy/grapefruit elements, all of which drive through to a finish that features a slight savory note, possibly due to the alcohol level of 13.2%. While this wine is not a style that I seek out, it is a representative example of new world, full-throttle Napa white, and at this price point, for those who like a bigger white: it is a Screaming Good Deal!
Xanthos Chardonnay California 2013 (PLCB Code: 33788 $8.99 widely available) If the previously referenced Sauvignon Blanc is “full-throttle” then this California Chardonnay is “full-er-throttle”! Despite the high, but not uncommon in CA Chardonnay, 14.3% alcohol, the nose is full of apricot and honey notes followed by a big, high density, mouth full of baked apple flavors followed by a persistent finish tinged (not badly) with oak and pear flavors. A great example of an inexpensive wine produced from a high quality vintage delivering value to the consumer. Big, new-world white wines are not my bag, but lots of people will find lots of great elements in this highly affordable California Chardonnay – for those who like a heavy hitting Chardonnay: this is a Screaming Good Deal!
Dezzani Otto Bucce Piedmont DOC 2013 (PLCB code: 33805 $7.99 widely available) A blend consisting mainly of the fantastic for young, easy-drinking reds, Dolcetto grapes (68%) combined with small (8% or less) of seven other grapes including Barbera, Bonarda, Freisa, Albarossa, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Despite the exhausting number of grapes in the blend, this ruby red, light to medium bodied wine delivers a pleasant and smooth mouthful of easy-drinking red and black fruits. The mid-palate touch of sweet fruits, is unusual, but works, and carries through to a soft finish. This is not a tannic wine to keep in the cellar, rather a wine to drink this summer and fall before the weather demands more full-bodied reds. At this price point, definitely a Screaming Good Deal – I would grab several bottles for my next evening barbeque invitation!
Bodegas Langa Real de Aragon Garnacha Calatayud 2012 (PLCB code: 44035 $9.99 Available in Premium Collection Stores) Who says Southern France is the best source of value-oriented Grenache? Simply change a few letters of the grape name and you’ve got Garnacha (same grape, just the Spanish name). Grenache in Southern France benefits from a warm/hot growing season and Spain has plenty of hot weather, so it stands to reason that this Garnacha from the Calatayud region, which is roughly mid-way between Barcelona and Madrid, where Romans first cultivated wine of many grape varietals, but now 88% of the region’s grapes are Garnacha. This Real de Aragon Garnacha is seriously dark, nearly opaque without a dominating nose, but evenly structured, displaying solid, ripe juicy black fruit along an undertone of slightly spicy vanilla bean and fine grip/tannins on the finish – this wine has depth that is unexpected at this price. Definitely a Screaming Good Deal that would be happy paired with grilled meat or blue cheese!
Altovinum Evodia 2013 (PLCB code: 43553 $9.99 Available in Premium Collection Stores) Another Garnacha from Spain’s Calatayud region, this relatively young 2013 vintage bursts with fruit, both in the nose and the forward leaning ripe red peppery fruit flavors. The mouth feel definitely has some weight to it, but despite the heft, this wine still shows the structure and cut to keep it in the old-world style. If your friends lean toward new world, fruit forward styles this may be a great introduction to the old world wines that feature big fruit but bring structure and acidity along for the ride. This wine is unapologetic in its fruit delivery, so I am unapologetic in declaring it a Screaming Good Deal!