I wonder if the phrase “shelter-in-place” was chosen for the fact its acronym is SIP? I mean, it’s practically an invitation to drink wine, especially when wineries, wine stores, and grocery stores everywhere are maintaining solid inventory. And, with today being National Wine Day, I definitely see a bottle in my future tonight.
Since I haven’t written in awhile, I thought now would be a great time to share some favorites that are becoming staples in our cellar during SIP. And, please feel free to use the comments section to share what you’re drinking!
Find these wines at Total Wine, Costco, or other local retailers.
National Pinot Grigio day was last Sunday, and my family celebrated by having a Facetime virtual tasting. The Laudato, from the same producer as the famed Santa Margherita, was a winner. Given a choice, I don’t typically reach for a Pinot Grigio as I don’t find them particularly interesting. But when I brought a glass of the Laudato to my nose and took in the bright peach and pear aromas, I was pleasantly surprised. And, I also appreciated its structured body and pretty finish. I bought this on sale at Total Wine for $11.99 (retail is $14.99).
We keep going back to Total Wine for more of this little white, citrusy blend from the Dao region of Portugal. It has clean minerality, is easy drinking, and just a great late afternoon sipper. It’s great paired with seafood and salads. And, it’s an incredible bargain for under $10.
A versatile Rioja is always a good choice when you’re just not sure what to open. It drinks well by itself, but it’s also food friendly. We just recently opened a bottle of the Muga with a knock-off recipe of PF Chang’s popular chicken lettuce wraps, and I even found it worked with that. Wine Advocate says the 2015, which is what we had, is one of the best recent vintages for this wine, and I wouldn’t argue with that. It was the right balance of fruit and tannins with neither overpowering the other. It’s simply elegant. Priced at about $25, it’s worth every penny.
I love a good Merlot that drinks strong enough to stand in for a Cabernet, and Provenance shows up well. It is full-bodied with lots of dark fruit. Putting a steak or burgers on the grill? This is a great match. We picked this one up for about $20 at Costco.
So, let’s first clarify that there’s the wine region called Alexander Valley, and then there’s the winery named Alexander Valley Vineyards (AVV). AVV is just one of about 40 or more wineries in the Alexander Valley region, and it has been a long-standing favorite of mine. As one of the largest, and best (in my opinion), Cabernet-producing regions in Sonoma, Alexander Valley is top notch. While AVV is perhaps more well known for it’s trio of Zins (Sin Zin, Temptation and Redemption), it makes a great medium-bodied Cabernet that has a balance of herbaceous green pepper and dark fruit. For under $20, it’s probably the best value Cabernet out there.