Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Midweek Wine Recommendations



Around our house we have something we call the the "midweek wine." It's different from a Friday night wine or a weekend wine. The primary attribute is that it needs to cost less than a weekend wine. BUT, and this is a biggie, it still needs to be a great tasting wine that pairs well with food because weekdays deserve good wine too!

Here are some wine pairings that work well with winter food such as soups, stews, meatloaf, pizza, etc. Most are about $20 - some are less!

Rosso di Montalcino: Rosso comes from the Tuscany region of Italy and is made from the Sangiovese grape. It can vary from being a lighter red to something that is quite dark and heavy. I open a Rosso anytime I am looking for a "rougher" sort of red that will stand up to hearty food. Some labels to look for: La Fortuna and Valdicava (this one may run you more like $30 but it's worth it!).

Barbera: Barbera comes from the Piedmont region of Italy. I had never had one until we went to Piedmont a few years ago. We checked into our hotel (a renovated castle!) and the proprietor gave my husband and me some wine to enjoy outside in their beautiful garden. That wine was a Barbera. I loved it at first sip and have never looked back. Back in the U.S., I was thrilled to discover that Barbera is typically a really good deal. It has good acid, making it a great food/wine pairing candidate. It's not heavy on the tannins so you can drink it young. Barberas pair well with a variety of food, including pizza and any sort of food with a red sauce. Some labels to look for:
- Unti
- Rivetti La Spinetta Barbera d'Asti "Ca di Pian"
- Michele Chiarlo (about $10)
- Ruggeri Corsini Barbera d'Alba (about $15)
- Ruggeri Corsini Barbera d'Alba "Armujan"

Pinot Noir:
Inexpensive Pinot Noir is tough. However, so many foods pair so well with this wine that you need to have a few well-priced Pinots in your mid-week repertoire. Some names to look for:
- Saintsbury Garnet (about $16)
- Keller Estate (our Costco has this for $20)
- Melville Estate Verna's
- I have also found good deals on Pinots from Longboard Vineyards and Hook and Ladder.

A few other mid-week wine ideas:
- Keep a mini barrel of Red Truck wine in your fridge
- Check out my value priced white wines list

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