Below are twelve bottles of wine that hopefully you can find without too much difficulty in your local wine shops or grocery stores. Feel free to buy as many or as few as you want, or you can just tune in and listen. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evening I’ll be opening one of these up and live-streaming on an as-yet-undetermined platform (send suggestions) my thoughts and tasting notes. Prior to that I’ll send out some information on potential pairings and other relevant information.
These are trying times for all of us. While I’d never advocate for turning to alcohol as a way to deal with problems, I do think that there are times when a drink is not only appropriate, but frankly welcomed, and this is very much one of those times. That said, drinking alone is rarely as enjoyable as drinking in community, and while I don’t think we will be able to raise a glass in person for a while, I’m trying to figure out ways where we can all enjoy a glass of wine and talk about it from our own homes.
Again, I think that one of the things that will help us all get through this incredibly difficult time will be communication and contact with the outside world...and some fun. My goal is to provide a bit of both, as best I can.
The list of wines is below, along with standard retail pricing: I’ve tried to keep the cost of all 12 bottles below $300, but obviously pricing may vary a bit depending on where you shop. If you’re having trouble finding some of these wines, feel free to reach out and I’ll either try to help you find them or suggest some alternatives.
Gruet Brut ($14.49): A traditional-method sparkler from New Mexico (!), this will bring some life and freshness to the party.
Domaine Carneros Brut ($27.99): A bit more substantial sparkling wine from California, but still extremely versatile.
JJ Prum Kabinett Riesling ($26.99): This is the perfect time to get over your unjustified fear of Riesling, and I recommend this excellent bottling from one of the great houses of the Mosel: yes, there's a touch of sweetness, but we could all use that now.
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Sec ($29.99): Here's another opportunity to explore one of the wine world's most underappreciated grapes: Chenin Blanc. It offers something for those of you who like Sauvignon Blanc (racy acidity) and Chardonnay (a broader texture and more generous fruit profile), and it's about as food-friendly as wine gets.
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc ($22.99): One of the icons of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, this is a lovely bottle to sip if there's any sunshine to be seen out the window...or if you want to imagine it.
Domaine LaRoche Chablis ($24.99): Our tour of the great and underappreciated white wines of Europe concludes (for now) with this bracing and flinty wine, sure to brighten up your evening.
Chateau d’Esclans “Whispering Angel” ($19.99): Yes, we would all rather be sipping rosé on a patio somewhere (or even in the South of France), but for now we'll have to settle for recreating that experience at home.
Montinore “Red Cap” Pinot Noir ($17.49): A great introduction to the magic of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, this is all bright red fruit and a hint of dried leaves and mushrooms.
Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco ($39.99): Enjoy this wine. None of us know if there will even be a 2020 vintage.
E. Guigal Cotes-du-Rhone ($11.99): Should you want a casual bottle, this easy-drinking yet interesting bottle from the Southern Rhone goes great with stewed or braised meats.
Faustino I Rioja Gran Reserva ($36.49): Since you'll have plenty of time, you can open this bottle up several hours in advance and enjoy it with the proper aeration. I love time capsules like this wine!
Canvasback Cabernet Sauvignon ($26.99): And hey, I gotta throw my home state a little love: when you want a powerful but balanced bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, you can't go wrong with Red Mountain!