Most of us drink what we like and can afford during the week and drink what we love when we are entertaining, or have a special occasion, or can afford it. I have a friend who differentiates the two as “Monday to Thursday wines [$] and Friday to Saturday wines [$$$$].” What do you do if all you want to drink is the Friday to Saturday stuff? You look for an impostor. In the wine world, price does not always connote quality and there are often great value wines that taste just like the high-buck stuff. If you want Champagne on a busboy budget, follow me . . .
This month’s selections are available at Sorella Wine Shop, 1010 Washington Ave. S., Mpls., 612-339-4040
Avinyo Brut Cava NV (Penedés, Spain), $14.99
When Champagne is out of reach, this Spanish sparkler is dry, crisp, and full of flavor. It’s delicate and would be great for greeting guests at your home or just sipping on a Sunday afternoon. It doesn’t need food, but it would be great with brunch.
Errazuriz Wild Ferment 2005 (Casablanca Valley, Chile), $20.99
100% chardonnay. A monster chardonnay without the monster price (or trendy Australia/Napa label). This wine is rich and complex with butter and oak culminating in a creamy finish. It’s calling for lobster, but no need to dip in butter—just take a sip.
Joseph Drouhin Morgon 2005 (Beaujolais, France), $15.99
100% gamay. If you love Burgundy and pinot noir, but would like to have it on the table more often, try this delight. It’s not pinot, but is from Burgundy and you get some of that rich fruit, earthiness, and body without the price. It is a beautiful garnet color with raspberry and cherry fruit and that distinct hint of the soil. Pair with game or lamb.
Gundlach Bundschu Mountain Cuvée 2003 (Sonoma Valley), $24.99
74% merlot, 23% cabernet sauvignon, 2% cabernet franc, 1% petit verdot. Very good Bordeaux or meritage is hard to find when watching the dollars, but this domestic blend delivers. You need food to appreciate this wine, but that isn’t a burden when it’s calling out for a steak. It’s complex, has great big body, and could even be paired with chocolate.