Back in the late 80s there was a television show hosted by Robin Leach titled “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Each episode would showcase the lavish day to day lives of wealthy entertainers, business leaders and showbiz stars. We were treated to glimpses of their palatial estates, extraordinary collections of cars, yachts, artwork, wrist watches and occasionally wine. For a half-hour at a time the working class had an opportunity to see how the beautiful people lived - to vicariously experience the notion of true opulence.
When it comes to the purchase of wine and frankly just about everything else, all of us would like to have a bottomless checking account. Regular consumption of $60 Oregon Pinots and hundred-plus dollar Napa Cabs are not in in the cards for most of us, nor should it be. Opening your favorite “splurge wine” should be a special occasion. If you crack one open every other day it will become ordinary very fast and you will quickly lose all appreciation for these special bottles.
The good news is that there are plenty of wines in the $15 and under price range that can satisfactorily fill the bill for a weekday bottle. Since the examples in many of my articles often fall in the $20 and up range, I thought it appropriate to suggest a couple of very nice “no occasion” wines that you can put in your shopping cart for under 12 bucks.
The first wine is the result of a Rose’ taste off that I held recently with a few of my wine cronies. The tasting included wines all at about the same price point and was conducted blind so no one knew what was being poured. The wine that came out on top was the 2017 Charles and Charles Rose’ from Washington’s Columbia Valley. It is a Syrah dominant blend, which also contains a healthy dollop of Cabernet Sauvignon. This Rose’ presents a soft pink/salmon color in the glass, along with a touch of effervescence. It is produced in a light bodied, crisp, dry style with aromas and flavors of fresh, red berries and melon. Rose’ is a perfect warm weather sipping wine and is typically served chilled. This vintage is a Wine Enthusiast “Best Buy” and can be found in nearby supermarkets for $10.99.
This month’s second wine will require a leap of faith for most casual wine drinkers. The 2015 Colossal Reserva is produced by Casa Santos Lima in the Lisboa Region of Portugal. It is a medium dry, red blend that is made from a few grape varietals that may be unfamiliar to most: Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, Tinta Roriz and Syrah. Please don’t let these exotic grapes dissuade you from seeking this wine out; it is delicious, with concentrated red and black fruit flavors, along with a touch of cedar spice box. Well structured, but not overtly tannic, Colossal is a fantastic everyday red; especially with burgers, hearty stews and grilled meats. This wine was recognized as a 2017 “Top 100” from Wine Spectator. It can be had for $8 at Costco and just a bit more at Total Wine and World Market. I consider it a “Bulk Buy” so stock up while you can!
These two wines demonstrate that you don’t always have to spend a fortune to drink well. So until next month it is my hope that while living the SaddleBrooke lifestyle you can continue to enjoy “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams” while always drinking delightful wines.
Tom Oetinger holds an advanced certification in wine & spirits from the WSET in London, England and is available to answer your wine questions at firstname.lastname@example.org