Vineyards of Bodega Garzon in Uruguay. All photos by Hayley Hamilton Cogill.

Wine

What To Drink Now: Wines Under $17 for 2017

It's a new year. Don't sacrifice quality to get a deal.

I resolve to put a few more pennies in my pocket in 2017 without giving up delicious wine. If your resolutions are somewhat similar, I have a few sparkling and white wine suggestions, all for under. Rosé and red options will be up shortly. (Some selections sent for editorial consideration, all available at Spec’s unless noted.)

lamarcaEvery day is a special occasion when sparkling wine is affordable. My go-to inexpensive, traditional method sparkler, Segura Viudas Brut Rose Cava ($10) delivers wild strawberry and juicy cherry. The sister winery in Sonoma, Gloria Ferrer  produces Sonoma Brut which layers citrus, orchard fruit, and honey. If Prosecco is your sparkler of choice, La Marca ($13) fills the palate with white flowers, and golden apple.

White wine trends in the new year will likely run from tried and true classics, like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, to refreshing Albarino, Verdejo, and Viognier.

olema-chardFor the Chardonnay fan, Olema from Amici Cellars ($15) showcases cool-climate Sonoma County fruit and reveals golden apple and pear melding with creamy honey. Kim Crawford is perhaps best known for their gooseberry and citrus -filled Sauvignon Blanc ($15), but their Unoaked Chardonnay ($15) balances bright, crisp citrus with tropical fruit and melon.  Not long ago Caricature Wine added Chardonnay from their sustainably grown Lodi vineyards to their line-up of high quality, affordable wines. The Caricature Chardonnay ($15) is crisp and fresh, filled with tropical mango, and honeydew melon.  Matchbook Chardonnay ($15) is a winter-style white as the rich and creamy wine will warm you through the season. Available via their websites, or Total Wine & Goody-Goody locations.

les-chames-godard-bordeauxSauvignon Blanc from France makes many hearts sing with smoky, steely, stone-fruit filled options such as  Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in Loire. Bordeaux offers soft herb, crushed stone, and white flower filled options such as Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.  Chateau Les-Charmes Godard Blanc blends both white varieties for a lively, fresh wine filled with apple, pear, and citrus. $15 at Goody-Goody. Semillon is a star in many white wines of Washington State. Amavi  and L’Ecole No. 41 ($15) produce lovely wines filled with honey, lemon cream, and stone fruit.

Favorite Sauvignon Blancs from wineries like Nobilo ($13) and Whitehaven ($14) both from Marlborough, New Zealand, deliver very bright, passion fruit and melon filled wine. Napa Valley’s Charles Krug ($17) layers more mineral and grassy notes to the lemon-lime fruit. Benziger North Coast Sauvignon Blanc ($14) melds a little of both with citrus, honeysuckle, and crisp minerality.

pine-ridge-cheninAn ideal blend for floral and stone fruit lovers is Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier ($15) layering peach, honeysuckle, and apricot. For Texas wine lovers, Pedernales Viognier ($17) shines with lush nectarine, apricot, and a hint of sweet spice. Also for Texas wine fans, or those new to wines of our state, run now and pick up a bottle of Duchman Vermentino ($17). You won’t be disappointed as this Italian variety thrives in Texas. With every vintage, Duchman continues to prove that Texans make great wine from Italian grapes.

garzon-albarinoSlightly briny, yet also floral and fruity, Albarino from the Rias Baixas region in Galicia, Spain, is the ideal food wine with anything from seafood and shellfish to elevated tapas and Spain’s favorite Iberico ham. A few affordable Albarino wines include Martin Codax ($15) and Marques de Caceres Deusa Nai Albarino ($14).

The southern part of Uruguay, similar to Galicia, is heavily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and sees extensive rainfall throughout the spring and fall, like the Spanish region making it perfect for producing aromatic, refreshing Albarino. Bodega Garzon leads the way in Uruguay with their fresh, lively Albarino ($17) wine from rocky vineyards located about 30 minutes from the coast.

Tieffenbrunner Vineyards in Alto Adige; photo by Hayley Hamilton Cogill
Tieffenbrunner Vineyards in Alto Adige. Photo by Hayley Hamilton Cogill.

tieffenbruner pinot grigioI am such a fan of wines of Alto Adige. The wines deliver crisp acidity from the high elevation vineyards, and earthy minerality from the rocky soils at the base of the Dolomite Mountains. Pinot Grigio, the Italian white favorite, takes on more character at Alto Adige. The wine is fruit forward, but fresh. It takes Pinot Grigio to the next level. Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio ($17 at Spec’s) and Alois Lageder ($17 at Pogo’s) are two excellent options.

A few non-traditional whites deserve a spot in your shopping cart. Verdejo from Rueda, Spain delivers a more balanced, textured palate with herb, citrus peel, and nutty aromas than other white wines of the region. Two quality options include Legaris Verdejo ($13 at Goody-Goody) and Bodegas Naia ($14 at Pogo’s).

Rainbow over Quinta da Lixa, Vinho Verde, Portugal; photo by Hayley Hamilton Cogill
Rainbow over Quinta da Lixa, Vinho Verde, Portugal. Photo by Hayley Hamilton Cogill.

Low-alcohol, fizzy, and flirty Vinho Verde from Portugal is very affordable. I would challenge you to find one over $15. They are picnic-friendly and easy to drink. Look for Quinta das Arcas ‘Arca Nova’ Vinho Verde ($10) Aveleda ($7) and Broadbent ($9)

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