Weekend wine list — experts’ picks: From smooth Malbec to juicy Shiraz

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 Alamos Malbec Argentina:
Natalie MacLean — “full-bodied, smooth and supple” — her best value red. $14.95

2006 Hayman & Hill Reserve Selection Riesling, Columbia Valley:
Jerry Shriver — “full of pure, fresh-tasting fruit … an ideal partner for Asian-style seafood dishes.” About $15

Broadbent, Vinho Verde (Portugal) Broadbent Selections NV:
Michael Franz — “the ticket for a bracing, supremely refreshing glass of wine for a warm Indian Summer evening.” He calls it a “striking wine at a strikingly attractive price.” $8

The Little Penguin  Shiraz South Eastern Australia 2006:
Wine Spectator — “smooth and juicy, with pretty blueberry and plum flavors” — with a nice finish, but drink it now. $8

Les Fiefs de Lagrange 2001 St-Julien:
Jancis Robinson — “sappy, lively, very respectable Médoc which has quite enough fruit to counterbalance the ambitious tannin level,” but drink it from spring of next year until 2016. $24.99

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!

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