Weekend wine list — experts’ picks: ‘terrific’ Riesling to ‘seductive’ Syrah

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:

2004 750 Langwerth Von Simmern Riesling Kabinett Rheingau, Germany:
Natalie MacLean — you’ll find it to be a “terrific, well-balanced riesling with refreshing aromas of lime and citrus,” goes well with chicken, pork, ham. $22.95

Pacific Rim Chenin Blanc:
Jerry Shriver — “hits you with a seductive flowery bouquet, which leads to faintly sweet and lush pear flavors and brown-spice notes” — recommended with spicy Asian seafood dishes. $12

Cockburn’s Ten Year Old Tawny Port:
Jay McInerney — “lighter and mellower than the Vintage Ports from this house and slightly drier in style than other tawnies.” $26.99

Etim Blanco 2005 Montsant:
Jancis Robinson — she calls this 100% Garnacha Blanca “a revelation and a bargain … a full bodied, flavour-packed yet refreshing dry white.” £6.99

Stefano Moccagatta 2004 Tannat:
Edward Deitch — “one of the best red wines I’ve tasted this year … elegant and refined, full of dark berry fruit — blackberry, blueberry and boysenberry.” $26

Colli Orientali del Friuli, Pinot Grigio ‘Ramato’, Visintini (2006):
decanter.com — “marvellous wine from Grave del Friuli breaks the Pinot Grigio mould,” with its pale copper colour and “lovely purity of fruit.” £8.95

2003 Goose Ridge Vineyards Columbia Valley Syrah:
Lynne Char Bennett — a “rewarding” wine whose aspects include “dark woody notes, peppery bacon, extracted blackberry,” among an ample list of Washington state Syrah and Rhone-style blends featured here. $20

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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