Early Bird Ends
January 31, 2024
May 21, 2024
June 20, 2024
Value in wine is not the cheapest price. Additional dimensions of distinctiveness and interest typically require $15 to $20 per bottle.
Below are some of the best wine lists in America where you can get a fine wine for less; The Winter '20 Under $20
This is a lovely Barbera d'Alba from an excellent Barolo maker, full of the usual vibrant fruit flavors of the grapes and lively acidity. It's bracing, tasty and unblemished with the flavors of the oak. It's almost five years old, but it's totally new. The 2015s are also still on the shelves, and we're going to warrant that they're just as good. (Selection of Polaner, Mount Kisco, N.Y.)
Semillon is one of the unsung heroes of Australia. Many already on its distinctiveness are rewarded by the long-standing term of the Hunter Valley; however, this one usually comes from Margaret River, all the way to the West Coast of Australia. Semillon is what also gives white Bordeaux texture and body. This one from Happs, more than four years old, is not an extravagantly scented wine, but a subtle, nutty, silky, herbal and richly mineral wine, and a pleasure to roll around in the mouth. (Small Peacock, New York)
The mencías of Bierzo appear to be richer than those of Ribeira Sacra, and this, one of Spain's finest winemakers, is no exception. It is complex and lively, with powerful, lingering aromas of spicy fruit. Serve with chops of lamb or beef.
Visit: Skurnik Wines, New York
Healthy fino sherry is a wine of all seasons. It's always refreshing, but often its absorbing tastes have a density that can melt the soul on a cold night. This is one of those, a great small maker. Its unvarnished flavours of almond seem to go on and on. It is a remarkable attribute.
Seyssel, deep in the Savoie region of eastern France, is scarcely recognized outside its borders. It's also true of the oranges, the molette and the Altasse, which go into this softly floral sparkling wine. It is made much like Champagne, undergoing the second fermentation in the bottle, which is aged for two years before publication; the outcome is lovely and relaxing.
German Riesling is one of the most exciting wines in the world, and while only a small but steady fraction of the wine-growing public knows this, great values prevail, particularly among dry cuvées. Klaus-Peter Keller is one of the leading producers who helped revive the Rheinhessen region. This entry-level wine offers soft fruit and floral flavours galvanized by rippling acidity. It's delicious.
In comparison to the Keller, the Bürklin-Wolf, a long-established producer in the Pfalz area, is leaner and more linear, with a savory, salty edge and a pulsation with almost electrical minerality. Old, single-vineyard Bürklin-Wolfs are among the best dry German rieslings we've ever had. This is a really nice introduction to the style.
You're never going to have enough Riesling. That's what we believe, at least. It is particularly interesting to compare the German Rieslings with this one, the Finger Lakes in New York. It's a little lighter, less mineral and more floral, with citrus and peach flavours, but also with the acidity spine that makes Riesling popular. The Finger Lakes is now possibly the best Riesling area in America, and this is a wonderful example.
This is a big, strong, generous wine with bright cherry flavours, which seem to overflow the bottle. The fruit is tempered by a lot of the characteristic acidity of the Sangiovese grape, a trace of mild yet welcome bitterness and dusty, condensed tannins. A good winter red for cold nights and spicy stews.
Visit: T. Edward Wines, N.Y.
Wines from the Bairrada region, especially red grapes made from Baga grapes, are among the most exciting bottles and best value in Portugal. Although baga can be made in a light and fruity style that we will gladly guzzle in the summer, this bottle from Sidónio de Sousa, an excellent family producer who ages the wine for around 18 months in 100-year-old oak barrels, is sturdier and more tannic. Open it with a juicy roast or a plate of sausages.
We love the white wines of the far southwestern regions of France, such as Irouléguy and Jurançon, the source of this wine. It is made entirely of biodynamically farmed gross manseng, which, with its little manseng sibling, is greatly undervalued; this wine is bone dry, with flavours that remind me of spicy apricots if you can picture anything like that.
Visit: Kermit Lynch Wine Trader
Bonny Doon's attention is increasingly on the interesting wines from his Popelouchum Vineyard. But it continues to deliver the greatest hits, made from bought grapes, including the perpetually winning Clos de Gilroy, a Monterey grenache made with a blessedly light side. With its aromas of red fruit and earth, this wine has a thirst-quenching effect and goes down quickly.