- Rosso Conero, Barco, Brunori, 2004 - These Marche wines are great values. This montepluciano/sangiovese blend combines the structure, earthy fruitiness and zesty acidity that is so distinctively Italian. I’m going back and buying a case. Just a great food wine.
- Menetou-Salon, Cuvee Le Charnay, Jean-Max Roger, 2005 - I have been a fan of Roger Sancerre for several decades. In this Menetou-Salon Roger offers a wine that, while just a notch below their Sancerre, is an outrageously good sauvignon blanc at bargain prices. Lean, clean and with a salivating minerality to balance its pungent fruitiness. No cat piss here, just zest and brilliance. I’m going back for more.
- Riesling Halbtrocken, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Frieherr von Heddesdorff, 2005 - I’m a halbtrocken fan. All to often trocken wines seem just a bit hollow to me, but not so halbtrocken. This riesling has more body and is dryer than most Kabinett wines (which I adore too), while maintaining that bright fruit sweetness that defines riesling to me.
- Beaujolais, Pierre Chermette, 2005 - Pretty, pretty and pretty again. What a charmer and what a bargain. Drink as much of this lovely flower as you can, as young as you can.
- Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Pithos, Azienda Agricola Cos - 60% nero d’avola, 40% frappatto, 2005 - An Cerasuolo from Sicily that goes for over $40? Yup, and it’s quite a wine. Shimmeringly translucent ruby laced with exotic spices and wild strawberry fruit (wild is important, no simpering grocery store strawberry here) blended with touches of earthy tar and and a firm minerality. I wish it was cheaper, but I could say that about a lot of wines. Lovely stuff.
- Coteaux du Languedoc, Terrasses du Larzac, Le Grand Pas, Domaine Le Pas de l’Escalette, 2004 - I have become a huge fan of the wines from Domaine de l’Escalette. This is their top of the line and an outstanding wine it is and I would certainly consider this as a fine cellar investment over the next decade. A robust blend of grenache, carignan and syrah that deftly combines power with complexity, this is the type of wine that has inspired many a Rhone Ranger to attempt to recreate these beautiful southern French wines in America. Worth every dime.
- Barbera d’ Alba, Giacomo Borgono, 2006 - This old estate located in the heart of the village of Barolo constantly improves their wines while staying true to their traditionalist style. This is a brilliant barbera packed with zest, raciness, generous brambly fruit and a perfectly balanced explosion of fruit and character on the palate. An almost perfect food wine that just demands hedonistic gulp after gulp.