Sunday, December 05, 2004

Everyday wines

In the December 2004 issue, Gourmet magazine recommended 10 wines under $20 to give or get this holiday season...

Red Knot cabernet Sauvignon 2003; Fleurieu, Australia; $11; Ripe cherries and berries on the nose. Very soft, but with good structure and nice acidity. Clean finish.

Turner Road Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2002; Paso Robles, California; $11; Clean fruity nose with some chocolate among the berries. Well balanced. Tannins cry out for cheese or red meat.

Rodney Strong Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2003; Sonoma County, California; $12; Big, beautiful honeysuckle nose. Rich fruit, but still very crisp and elegant. Great structure.

Kali Hart Chardonnay 2003; Saint Lucia Highlands, California; $14; Smells like flowers and peaches. Slightly sweet fruit flavors - apples and peaches - with a very crisp finish.

J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot 2001; Paso Robles, California; $15; Nose has raspberries and cherries. Soft, ripe fruit with better structure than many Merlots in this price range.

Neil Ellis Sauvignon Blanc 2004; Groenekloof, South Africa; $15; Clean, straightforward aromas. Light fruit with slight herbiness. A crisp and very elegant wine.

Southern Right Pinotage 2002; Western Cape, South Africa; $15; Big, juicy berry aromas. Noticeable oak. Berry and black cherry flavors. Good structure.

Chandon Extra-Dry Riche (NV); California; $17; Pretty floral nose. Sweet (true t the Extra-Dry style), lush with peach and licorice flavors. Finish is surprisingly crisp.

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs (NV); Sonoma County, California; $18; Beautiful pale copper color. Smells like a strawberry tart. Deliciously fruity and rich, but with good acidity.

Mumm Napa Cuvee M (NV); Napa Valley, California; $18; Very pretty nose of peach, vanilla and yeast. Fruity sweetness - ripe pears especially - and a long finish.

(And, in the same issue, Doug Frost, a master sommelier and wine consultant from Kansas City, Missouri, recommends the Gunderloch Jean Baptiste Kabinett Riesling 2003, $16, a German wine. He says it's especially good with spicy foods.)

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