Sunday, January 6, 2008

Cheapies for the post-holiday (wallet) hangover

If you're like me, you probably are feeling a bit broke now that the holidays are over. While you can spend a tidy amount on pricey bottles of knock-out California Pinot or Cab (or a small fortune during a wine-tasting trip to Mendocino County!!), there are some excellent steals to be found, often in the import category.

Some recent outstanding bottles I sampled were the Bodega Campo Reales '05 Tempranillo from Spain, an absolute steal at $6.99 at Beltramo's in Redwood City. The tannins are very smooth and the currant and vanilla aromas and juicy taste would match well with straightforward fare such as hamburgers and chili, which along with the price, make it a great bachelor wine...

Another winner from Beltramo's was Southern Right '07 Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa for $12.99. Given that B & I are SB lovers and have tried quite a few from around the world, we were blown away by this one, which has a rounder mouthfeel than the New Zealand SBs we love, but enough minerality and citrus-pear notes to give it the zip we crave in New World Sauv Blancs. Another great reason to buy this wine is that Southern Right Winery (which makes only SB and Pinotage) donated a portion of the proceeds from each bottle sold to conservation of the whale species from which it takes its name.

Speaking of NZ Sauv Blancs, we had an exceptional one last night with friends at L Wine Lounge and Urban Kitchen in Sacramento: Chasing Venus '07 Sauvignon Blanc from Crew Wine Co. for $17. Classic NZ SB flavors of grapefruit and gooseberry with a lively finish. Nearly the whole table was drinking this one by the time we left.