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Perennial Wine Favorites

September 19, 2010

Last week, twelvebottles got me thinking.  Not on cocktails, but on wine.  While it is true that I am not loyal to certain brands of wine, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have some producers I go back to time and again.

twelvebottles has his list of producers, and I have mine.

The important thing I was trying to capture last week is that there are so many good producers of high quality wine in the marketplace, that it doesn’t make sense to get hung up on any one brand.  I just was reminded of a story where a West Coast transplant found himself in the Northeast.  He went crazy trying to find Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  It’s a great beer to be sure.  But all of that time and energy he spent looking for his old favorite could have been channeled into finding a new love.  It’s not like the Northeast is bereft of great breweries.

The question, then, is what makes a wine one of my favorites?  If you have been reading for a while, the answer will probably not surprise you.  My favorites meet at the intersection of taste, value and availability.  Certainly there are better wines out there.  But these are unimpeachable, and you have a fighting chance of finding most of them at a wine store near you.

This is what I have put together so far.

Sparkling Wine: Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut non-vintage
Champagne: Nicolas Feuillatte Blue Label Brut
NY Dry Riesling: Hermann J. Wiemer
CA Sauvignon Blanc: Voss, Napa
CA Chardonnay: St. Francis, Sonoma
CA Gewürztraminer: Navarro, Anderson Valley
CA Pinot Noir: Clos du Bois, Sonoma
CA Syrah: Qupé, Central Coast
AU Shiraz: Rosemount, Diamond Label
CA Zinfandel: Ravenswood, County Series (not the vintners blend)

There are an upsetting number of countries, much less varietals, that don’t make this list.  Spain, Italy and France aren’t there at all.  Much less Hungary, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Greece, and South Africa.  Even the great wine growing states of Oregon and Washington have been omitted.  It’s upsetting because I love the wine of these places.  But I have limited experience with medium to large size producers that are widely available across the United States for any brands to make the list.

This is why I say that it is impossible to drink deeply and broadly at the same time.  The world is just filled with too much wonderful wine.  Perhaps, as the North Country Rambler suggests, I am just not drinking enough.

However, it is exactly because there is so much great wine out there that I want to try and experience it all.  And that wanderlust has made me a pretty fickle consumer.  Occasionally one will want to wander back to the comforts of an old favorite.  But it’s hard when the whole world of wine is just sitting there in front of you.

In a way it reminds me of being in a Dunkin’ Donuts as a kid and staring at the vast array of choices.  Really what I wanted was to hop over the counter and take just one bite of every kind of donut on the shelf.

I guess some things never change.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2010 12:39 pm

    Big fan of the Feuillatte as well, but now I want donuts. :)

  2. September 19, 2010 8:43 pm

    Where are the old world wines in your list? I’ve been buying pretty much only Spanish lately so seeing this list of mostly American wines makes me sad. I love tannin too much to stay with American stuff ( that i have seen)

    • September 24, 2010 1:09 am

      I agree with bk except add on South America. Lately I only drink wines from Spain, Portugal or South America. I mean, I understand your Californian bias, but I’m still surprised. I find most California wines these days to be too alcohol-y, too “big,” if you will.

  3. September 19, 2010 9:00 pm

    I would have to agree that brand loyalty to a wine is harder to come by than it is with beer or liquor. I find myself more loyal to a grape or region than to a particular vineyard.

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