The last couple of posts in the In Vino Veritas series could have been considered a little bit too inside the wine business. I didn’t start this series for wine novices, and I intend on keeping it this way. Today’s post will not talk about brands, it will not talk about marketing or the business of wine. Today you will learn about a few types of wines that I feel should be in everyone’s collection. I am not going to name wine brands, but I will reply to comments that ask me specific question with specific brands. So lets get interactive with this one.
The Every Day Drinker: This should be a bottle of wine that doesn’t break the bank. For me, I like to spend between 15 to 18 dollars on something from the old world. I’ve found that you rarely can match the bang for your buck you get from Portugal, Spain and Italy. You can find some fantastic wines from Abruzzo in central Italy for 12 to 15 dollars that will give twenty dollar wines from the new world a run for their money. The region of Terras Do Sado from Portugal makes some fantastic Tourigua Nacional that come in around 18 dollars.
The Dinner Party Star: You should always have a good bottle of wine to bring with you to a dinner party. Now not all dinner parties are created equal. A rep once told me there is friend wine and then there is brother in law wine. For friend wine think red, think approachable, think versatile, and spend ten to fifteen dollars more than you would spend on an every day drinker($25-$30). This is a wine that makes a statement but doesn’t go over anyone’s head. An Aussie Shiraz from The Coonawarra, a Chilean Cabernet or Merlot from Maipo or Colchagua. These are wines that are familiar but deliver huge quality for a reasonable price.
The Mind Blower: Sometimes you need to drink something that makes you reevaluate the wines you love. There are two italian varietals that I love to drink just as a way for me to reconsider what wine should be, Nebbiolo and Nero D’Avola. One wine native to the far north of the county one native to Sicily.
Nebbiolo is a noble grape of Piedmonte. It’s name is derived from the italian word “nebbia” which mean fog or cloud. Nebbiolo is harvested late in the growing season usually when thick fogs invade the mountainous growing regions. But there is a deeper meaning to this as well, Nebbiolo as a wine is also like a fog, shapeless, mysterious, without form. The Nebbiolo grape is used in the production of three famous Piedmontese wines Barolo, Barberesco and Gattinara. These wines can run you a pretty penny, and need some pretty serious aging but they may change your life.
Nero D’avola is a grape native to Sicly, it’s name literally means “black of Avola”. The wine is an inky purple colour and can taste sweet and jammy like an Aussie shiraz or tannic and complex. If I am going to stump my friends at a tasting Nero D’Avola is my go to wine. Wine geeks can never place it, but rarely dislike it. It’s a great way to make yourself look like the smartest wine drinker in the room.
The Patio Wine: Most people would assume I hate white wine. And that is somewhat true, I hate bad white wine. Bad red wine is something I can choke down with food, but bad white wine isn’t something I can deal with. But there is a time and a place for a white. Sitting on a patio or a deck on a hot day is such an occasion. For those days I look to France, and Spain.
First is france, I love a Chablis, I want that flinty minerality and austere flavour profile. It’s refreshing, it’s bone dry and it’s acidity fools my mouth into thinking it’s cold even when it warms up a little bit.
Next is Spain, Verdejo is a native spanish grape that exhibits some amazing citrus notes as well as fantastic acidity that belies it’s heaviness on the palette. The aromitics of Verdejo can be stunning as well, from orange blossom to green tea it always surprises you.
The Celebratory Bottle: Now you are probably thinking Champagne. Sure, you can drop ungodly amounts of cash on a bottle of Champagne. I would rather buy some sparkling wine from Limoux from the southwestern part of france. You can get great bottles of bubbly for 1/3 of the price of Champagne. I personally don’t need to have bubbly to celebrate. I would rather open a really special red. Whether it be a California cult wine, a Super Tuscan from Bolgheri or a Bordeau, celebration does not mean bubbles to me. Drink what you like when you are celebrating.
The world of wine is almost endless. Every bottle has a story, and a history. The more we drink hopefully the more we learn about the world.