Treading lightly upon the earth is fashionable these days, but what about treading lightly upon the palate. There is a time and place for big wines, but on a regular basis something a bit more restrained and thoughtful is good for the soul - and the dinner table. It doesn't hurt if they cost under 20 bucks either. These two gems should not be missed:
2007 Moulin-à-Vent, Cuvée Vielles Vignes, Domaine Diochon - Gloriously bright and fragrant, it's hard to think of a prettier wine. Graceful, delicate yet full flavored and incredibly long on the finish a better match for the chicken we roasted on the Weber you'll not find. Best served on the cool side to highlight the incredibly pure fruit. This is simply a wonderful wine.
2007 Valpolicella, Nanfrè, Tenuta Sant'Antonio - Like the Beaujolais above, Valpolicella is a name damaged by the ocean of mediocre wine sold under its name. It doesn't seem quite fair to pick on these place names as the majority of wines produced under more revered names like Burgundy, Bordeaux and Napa are just as mundane. In Valpolicella, like all the world's fine wine regions, only a small percentage of the producers make top notch wines. Tenuta Sant'Antonio is one of those producers and this bargain is something to grab by the case. Fragrant and expansive with brilliant fruit and that wonderful Italian earthiness, which makes them so perfect with food. This wine is not only delicious, but very interesting to drink.
It's worth noting that both of these wines clock in at 13% alcohol. For me that's the sweet spot for red wine as it's substantial enough have real texture and depth, but balanced and restrained enough to have more than one glass. Which, as you may not be surprised to learn, I like to do.