Weekend wine list — experts’ picks: From Vinho Verde to dry Riesling

Comparing the picks: A survey of recent selections from popular wine experts. Whenever there’s an option, I highlight the more-affordable wines, focusing on possible choices for weekend purchases. Check their websites for full descriptions and other picks:

2006 Aveleda Follies Vinho Verde 2006 Portugal:
Natalie MacLean — marked by "enticing aromas of grapefruit and citrus" — made from the Alvarinho grape, considered the best for Vinho Verde. Her best value white. $15.95

2006 Forest Glen Pinot Noir, Calif.:
Jerry Shriver — nice "ripe black berry and cherry flavors" but too much oak and one-dimensional. Yet you come "away satisfied and that’s what counts in the end, right?" $11

2004 “Portal Roble” from Bodegas Vinos Pinol (in the Terra Alta region of northeastern Spain):
Edward Deitch — "unusually complex and interesting for the price and reminded me that Spain still offers some of the best wine values." $20

2007 Penfold’s Thomas Hyland Riesling South Australia:
Jay McInerney — "a terrific price-to-quality ratio" for this very dry Riesling "with lime and green apple fruit." $20

Churchill’s Tawny Porto 10 Years Old:
Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg — "aged tawny ports trumpet their maturity on their labels as badges of honor," but here’s one for "those of us looking for the biggest bang for our bucks." $29

Tip: Print out this list and bring it to you local wine shop — even if a specific favorite isn’t available, ask the salesperson to recommend something similar. Or try browsing the latest wine reports from this custom collection of hundreds of news websites — filtered for bargains, continuously updated, and quick and easy to scan:

  • Reds (from Beaujolais to Zinfandel)
  • Whites (from Chablis to Sauvignon Blanc).

To hit closer to home, try WNR’s Advanced Wine Search tool and see what wine finds local columnists and wine experts may be writing about in your area. Once there, just type in your city and state (within quotation marks, as in, "Napa, California"), to get results ranked by relevance.

Or dig into some perennial standbys at SFGate.com’s Top 100 Wines of 2006, the Top 100 of 2006 list (PDF download) from Wine Spectator and the list of 50 Wines You Can Always Trust from Food & Wine.

Attracted to a bottle that’s advertised in the local paper or sitting on the local wine store shelf?

Do a little background research with Wine Enthusiast’s free, searchable Wine Buying Guide — either with a specific name or by types and price. For a little extra info, try Robert Parker’s handy Vintage Chart. Or see what the online wine community says about it with the search tools at cork’d, snooth or Wine Log.

Once you’ve selected the wine, you naturally want to decide what to eat with it. For some savvy guidance, try Natalie MacLean’s Wine & Food Matcher, which boasts a database of 360,000 wine-food pairings.

The Web is about community. So take a moment to comment about your experience with a particular wine — to help steer others to or away from it. And of course, have a great weekend!


About this entry