Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Best Wine Values: "Fun With Wine" Best Values in Red, White, Sparkling and Dessert Wines

There a number of proven ways to identify the world's best wine values. The most comprehensive way is to sample hundreds of red wines, white wines, sparkling wines and dessert wines, then rate each one for quality. Then you look for those cases where the wine's quality rating far exceeds its cost. Those are best-value wines. They represent the best wines in the world for a given price. That approach has been employed by SpiritofWine, and results can be seen here and here.

There is another, more informal and - I will admit - more pleasant way to identify best wine values. That is to find a wine tasting offering a pre-identified selection of wines in the same price range. Then, at that tasting, apply a rigorous rating system to all the wines; then, because the costs are all more or less equivalent, the highest rated wines become the best value wines.

Here are quick ratings and notes, filed from a recent Fun With Wine tasting in New York City. Fun With Wine is a group known especially for their regular walk-around wine tastings, organized by Rick Weissman. This tasting, themed to wines for the summer, encompassed only modestly-priced wines, priced within the same range of approximately $12-20 U.S.. Listed below are the categories of wines offered at this tasting, along with the individual wines shown at each table. For tasted wines, I have included asterisks to indicate the number of stars for rating, consistent with the SpiritofWine rating scheme. That scheme runs as 1 to 5 stars, with 1 star being a wine I can't even finish, 2 stars being a wine I would not buy again, 3 stars being one I would like to try again, 4 stars being one I would stay with for the evening, and 5 stars being a wine that you had better not try to take away from me! I may add a plus to any rating if there was something unique about the wine at that level.

Some wines also contain brief notes that reflect highlights of the wine. In such a real-time review like this, the wines are not assessed with the same rigor as in an individual wine tasting. All of the best-value wines are shown below in bold print.

Table 1: Beach Wine Table
Start your wine tour on the beach with light summery wines meant for a hot day

Novellum Chardonnay 2007, France - shy aroma, light **+, plus for pleasantness
S.c.pannell Grenache Rose 2006 ** shy aroma, light sweetness, undistinctive
Potel-aviron Julienas Vieilles Vignes 2004 shy nose, cozy mouthfeel - ***+
Chateau Ste Michelle Nellie's Garden Dry Rose, Columbia Valley WA - strawberry scent, fast finish - ***

Table 2: Cafe/Lunch Wine Table
Imagine you are at a Cafe in Cannes, overlooking the harbor and eating lunch. Let us show you what you will order with your lobster roll.

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (New Zealand). Dry grassy, deeper moutfeel *** clean lingering finish
Huber Gruner Veltliner 2007 (Austria), graSsy sauv blanc nose, **+
Vinedos Dos Victorias Elias Mora Toro 2006 (Spain) - funky fruity aroma, deep, aromatic, ***+
Gladiator Nero d'Avola (Sicily) 2004 - shy aroma - fruity - **

Table 3: Wines to watch the Sunset with
As the day winds down, and we roll into the evening, the wines you will drink will increase in intensity.

Craggy Range Kidnappers Chardonnay 2007, New Zealand - ***+
Chateau St. Michelle Dry Rose 2006 - **
Foris Pinot Noir Rogue Valley, Oregon, 2006 - light clrean aroma, interesting vegatative, ***
Lorinon Crianza 2003 (Rioja) - nice, potent old world aroma - depth, fruit, brambles - ***+
Bodegas Rejadorada Tinto 2006 (Rioja) jammy, plum ***+
Le Rose de Pavie Macquin 2001, Bordeaux - light open, ****

Table 4: Bar-B-Q Wines
There are lots of great wines to go with dinner on the Bar-B-Q which will be featured here

Barrel 27 High On The Hog - Viognier, Rousanne, Marsanne - bright sweet aroma - thick, petrol style - ****
Craggy Range Te Kahu 2005 (Cab/Shiraz blend from New Zealand) - shy old world aroma *** dry, stiff
Killibinbin Cellar Release The Blend #2 2005 (Cabernet/Shiraz from Australia) ***+ unique brightness
Quinta De Viluco Maipo Syrah 2005 (Chile) funky deep oxidized aroma, bright fruit lifts flavor, ***
Pujanza 2003 Rioja (Spain) - fruity depth, an anachronism, **+
Luigi Bosca Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Argentina. - slight old world aroma, rich layered experience - ***+

Table 5: Seductive/Hook-Up Wine Table
Enjoy a selection of seductive, rich wines you will want to share with your special friend

Baron de Ley Finca Monastario 2001 (Rioja) robust old world aroma, deep, full, lingering. Could age ***+
Saint Jean Du Barroux L'oligocene 2004 (Provence, France) **+ aromatic
Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Napa) *** bit light
20 Bench Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Napa) - purple beaujolais character aroma, **+
Marshall Cellars Juliet Peery Beckstoffer Tokalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (Napa) **** dense

Table 6: Wines to Watch the Sunrise With
Enjoy a selection of late night into morning wines, including a few bubblies, and dessert wines

Domaine St. Michelle Extra Dry Brut NV - Lightly sweet and flavorful ***
Bailly Laire Brut NV (Champagne) ***+ walnutty
Cazes Muscat De Rivesaltes 2004 (France) *** light, honey sweet
St. Francis Zinfandel 2005 (California) *** deep bright

1 comment:

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