With the end of summer and holidays approaching, what are the best wines to entertain or to simply enjoy everyday, and what’s the best to splurge on for that special night. This morning at 11am on KXAS/NBC DFW I’ll offer a few suggestions to ensure you are set for your weekend festivities.
For hosting your crowd, have a bubbly; a few light white wines, like dry and off-dry Riesling; a fuller bodied white, as it is great for food pairing, like a well made California Chardonnay; if you are grilling steaks there is nothing better than a great Cabernet Sauvignon; and include a few non-traditional reds that may not be your standard go-to, but offer interesting taste variations, like an Italian blend, Malbec or smoky Syrah.
Bubbles are ideal for any celebration, even just celebrating the day. From traditional sparkling wine, Cava, Prosecco or Champagne, to refreshing options that are slightly effervescent, like a Vinho Verde, bubbles should always be enjoyed.
For the splurge wine, nothing is quite as dreamy as Le Reve Brut Rose from Domaine Carneros. Crafted from hand selected, hand harvested, sustainably farmed estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay revealing layers of wild rose, strawberry jam and peach. $125
From Spain, my go to Cava is Segura Viudas Brut Rose made in the traditional method, like they do in Champagne, from Spanish grapes. Very dry, very fresh and very inexpensive, usually under $10.
Vinho Verde, green wine, from Portugal refreshes with their slightly effervescent white, enhanced with a touch of CO2 to lighten the low alcohol thrist quencher produced from a blend of varieties like Arinto, Alvarinho and Azal. Best enjoyed young, and usually a steal for $6-$10.
Washington State has become the leader for great Riesling wine in the U.S., thanks in part to the incredible dedication to the variety that Chateau Ste. Michelle has made. Partnering with Ernst Loosen in Germany, they craft their intoxicating dry Eroica Riesling, and Eroica Gold, the off-dry sibling with layers of white flowers, golden honey and marmalade. $30
From Willamette Valley, Brooks Winery crafts a very dry, crisp and lively Riesling from vineyards throughout the region to create a wine with melon, honeysuckle and white peach notes. $20
Chardonnay is always a favorite in our house, especially when it comes with a special story. This year marks the 25th anniversary for Landmark Vineyards Overlook Chardonnay in Sonoma. From Russian River estate fruit, the wine embodies the premium quality Landmark gives all of their wines, helping initially establish them as one of the finest producers of Chardonnay in the region. $25
Fifty years ago Dutton Ranch planted their first Chardonnay vineyards that still today produces some of the most enticing Chardonnay on the market. Always dedicated to growing premium fruit, they sell most of their grapes to hand-selected wineries who know how to showcase it. Texan Ali Smith-Story, and her husband, Eric Story of Smith-Story Wines are two of the best who honor the quality of the product by letting the fruit, and the vineyard, shine. $45
From one of our favorite Napa Valley wineries in warm Calistoga, Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon highlights the rich, juiciness of the variety with layers of black cherry, licorice, dark chocolate and espresso. $160
Great wine should be shared with great friends, over lively dinner conversations that are both thought provoking and entertaining. This is the basis for Duckhorn’s “The Discussion.” A hearty red filled with earthy leather and woody herb notes, black currant, sweet spice and vanilla. $135
When looking for affordable, delicious Cabernet Sauvginon, try the wines of Paso Robles, Livermore and Lodi or Columbia Valley, WA. Wineries like Bridlewood, J Lohr, Lange Twins and Justin in California are producing varietally spot-on selections from throughout the Central Coast and North Coast of California, and inland from Livermore out to the vineyards around Sacramento. In Washington, Columbia Winery and Chateau Ste. Michelle have proven that quality and affordability reign in Washington.
From Veneto, Italy and the celebrated Allegrini family, crafts both an insanely delicious Amarone ($80) and a more affordable, everyday red from the region, Palazzo della Torre ($25) both blending Corvina, Rondinella and Sangiovese, the classic varieties of Valpolicella and Amarone. The Amarone goes through the traditional process of drying the fruit after harvest to develop layers of dried cherry, dried fig and earthy, hebaceous notes. The Palazzo also see a bit of air-drying, about 30% of the fruit for a month after the harvest. This brief appassimento shapes the luscious wine, layering black cherry, dried fig and spice for a concentrated, elegant wine.