Affordable Summer Sippers

About 1 month ago the Chronicle highlighted a Sunday article on "20 World-Class Wines You
Should Know, All $20 Or Less". Which got me thinking... "I can also do a list of affordable
wines"... Of course, the pockets of the Gochiso Gourmet don't run as deep as the San Francisco
Chronicle or Hearst Communications... so here's my version: Six Wines at Less than $3.00 Per
Glass, Gochiso Gourmet Style.

How did I come to my price point? Well, every standard bottle of wine yields five servings (5
ounce servings) unless you're Ruby Tuesday which does 6 ounce pours (four servings). The
cheapest Happy Hour prices I've seen is $3 "house" drinks - most establishments tout $4 or $5
Happy Hour prices. Therefore $3 drinks are probably as affordable as you'll find anywhere. So I
selected 6 wines that averaged just below the $3 per serving price point. And since I feel that
wine should be part of a meal, I chose wines that were food friendly. And finally, since summer's
last rays are rapidly fading, I chose wines for that last summer barbecue or outdoor party - In
the 50th that means chilled selections to temper that stifling summer heat.

However unlike the Chronicle article, I didn't state what $$ I thought the wine tasted like since
$$ cost and taste appreciation have no real correlation. One person's $50 quality wine is
another's bleeechh! And semi-paraphrasing Duke Ellington, when asked what the "best" genre
of music was, he stated there were only 2 types: Good music and bad music. Well, there are only
2 types of wines for your own palate - wines that you like and wines that you don't like.

The Lineup

2009 Shaya ($12.49)
2009 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Gris 66% Pinot Blanc 34% ($15.79)
2008 Palmina Santa Barbara County Dolcetto ($15.99)
2010 Corbieres Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris Rose ($15.49)
2009 Zenato Lugana San Benedetto ($13.49)
2010 Domaine du Salvard Cheverny ($15.29)

You may have noticed that I included one red wine among the white wine selections. That's
because Dolcetto is a wine that can be slightly chilled and drinks more like a white wine than a
red (like a dark Rose').

2009 Shaya (3.5/5)

Made from Verdejo in the Rueda region of Spain, this grape previously made oxidized,
Sherry-like wines. However newer wine making techniques help retain the fresh, fruity qualities
making this an ideal wine for all types of seafood and chilled hearty salads. Shaya produces their
wine from 100% old vine Verdejo and there's pineapple, lime & citrus and mineral on the nose
with a moderate mouth feel with good fruit concentration and acid and a medium long finish.

2009 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Gris 66% Pinot Blanc 34% (3.25/5)

Created by Jim Clendenen, the Mind Behind from a common grape varietal - Pinot Gris also
known as Pinot Grigio - and a not so common grape - Pinot Blanc - which is mainly
propagated in Austria and Germany.  This quaffer has light stone fruit, dried mango and a touch
of stone on the nose with a light mouth feel and medium light finish.

2008 Palmina Santa Barbara County Dolcetto (3.5/5)

Created by one of my favorite vintners, Steve Clifton (also of Brewer-Clifton fame), Palmina is
the label of Steve and Chrystal Clifton. They specialize in Italian grape varietals - most under
$30 per bottle - which also means that the wines are very food friendly. The Dolcetto grape (or
little sweet one) initially was planted in the Piedmontese region as a "sacrifice" to native birds
with hopes that they would consume the Dolcetto instead of the prized Nebbiolo grapes. This
wine has fresh red berry with mineral on the nose and a very nice, almost seamless flow over the
palate with a medium finish and pairs equally well with hearty seafood, poultry and chilled salads.

2010 Corbieres Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris Rose (3.75/5)

The winery itself was established in 1971 by the Laboucarie family but their winemaking roots
go back another 300 years or so. This Rose is made primarily from Grenache Gris and Grenache
Noir and has a nose with hints of dried strawberry and dried orange peel with mineral. The palate
flow is almost seamless leading to a medium dry finish. Rose wines are the chameleons of the
wine world as they pair with salads and seafood all the way up to poultry and pork and can be
served as before dinner aperitifs as well.

2009 Zenato Lugana San Benedetto (3.25/5)

Made from 100% Trebbiano where it's also known as Ugni Blanc in France (the same grape that
goes into fine Cognac), this wine has a nose of citrus and mineral and a rich palate of stone fruit
and a medium long finish. While it may not be any one person's favorite white wine, it is
agreeable with just about everyone (unless you only imbibe with the $50-plus per bottle
crowd) and it pairs with most seafood and poultry dishes.

2010 Domaine du Salvard Cheverny (3.5/5)

Currently run by the 5th generation of the Delaille family, Cheverny Blanc is made primarily
from Sauvignon Blanc and unlike its famous cousins in Sancerre with bracing acidity or Pouilly
Fume with richer qualities, Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire mimic those found stateside with
herbal, grassy qualities and pleasing acidity. This makes it perfect with raw seafood (think
oysters on the half shell) as well as grilled poultry. And though it's meant to consume young,
giving it a couple of years of bottle aging only increases the complexity of flavors.

The Summertime Six-pack

So there you have it, the Gochiso Gourmet's summertime six-pack. Of course, once the leaves
begin to change you can still enjoy these wines. But there's just something about a cooler filled
with ice and several bottles of good AND affordable wines served with grilled seafood, poultry
and meat and chilled salads. For those living Stateside, fall and winter simply means refrigerator
chilled wines and braised or roasted proteins instead of grilled. Of course in the 50th, we still
grill all year long as even that winter "chill" of 75 degrees doesn't deter us from cooking
In any case, if you would like to see the Gochiso Gourmet's "20 World-Class Wines You Should
Know" in a future column, simply subscribe to the Nichi Bei Weekly in MASS! Get a
subscription for every family member and friend. Purchase subscriptions for ALL of your
Facebook friends too! Then the budget might allow for 20 or even more World-Class Wines
You Should Know! Until then, I'm still writing on a six-pack budget. A voitre sante!