Offbeat Wine Picks

Just because you are on a budget, doesn’t mean you need to drink bad wine. OK, that was tacky.  If I ever write  like Rachel Ray again, please find me and slit my throat.  I’m not a connoisseur, but my pedestrian palate knows what I like and what I don’t and generally, people agree, so here are a few gems I’ve encountered of late.  The first three are from Sonoma Valley and the last is Argentinian.

Taft Street in Sebastopol is one of my new favorite wineries.  I’ve heard that their wines haven’t been the greatest in past years, but when I was up there a few weeks ago, I was blown out of the water by their Riesling, Sav Blanc and Pinot Noir, and as much as I hate to admit it, the Rosé of Pinot Noir was really enjoyable too.  All of their bottles run in the $16-22 range, making Taft Street a steal.  The tasting room is small but homey and Greg was engaging in how he guided our tasting, not to mention an all-around fun and interesting guy.  We walked in as a group of five including one member of their wine club, and departed three members stronger (all four joined really, considering that the 4th is marrying one of the new members).  Greg invited us and friends back for a barbecue next weekend, if anyone wants to be my designated driver on the 16th.

Gloria Ferrer does fantastic sparkling wines at the $20 price point (often on special at Safeway and with case discounts, I’ve bought it for $12 a bottle).  The Brut is fine and I see it around more often, but the Blanc de Noirs is totally tantalizing and tinted pink without being one of those sissy-looking sparkling rosés (which I secretly have begun to enjoy).  Worth popping for a celebration, but not so precious that you can’t dump it into mimosas.

Rosenblum must be clearing out their cellar of 2005 North Coast Zinfandel, Appellation Series because I don’t see it listed online, but here’s a link to the 2006 vintage.  I loved it enough to be shocked by the price.  I just picked up a case at their tasting room for about a hundred bucks, making it an $8 bottle of delight!

Colores Del Sol only makes one wine, and the 2008 Reserva Malbec is their first vintage, but they hit on a winner.  It was introduced to me on a recent trip to Sonoma, despite being an Argentinian wine.  After dinner, TSB thrust a glass under my nose, chanting, “Smell it! Barbecue ribs, right?” and I absconded with the bottle after my first sip.  I just found it at BevMo for 10 bucks a bottle.

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  1. Couldn’t agree more on all of the above.
    People – the President’s Club at Taft is where it’s at! Two shipments per year (6 bottles, usually under $100, which averages out to $16 bottle) and you can take what they’re offering OR whatever the heck you want AND you can go up for a party to boot!
    I cannot WAIT to go pick up the Colores Del Sol. Damn Krysta is good at picking out wines.

  2. I think Rosé has a bad rap in America because of White Zinfandel, but they are respected elsewhere in the world. So don’t feel bad.

    Malbecs seem to be often a good buy from what I’ve experienced and heard – it’s an underappreciated varietal for now (and seems to be almost all from Argentina, itself underappreciate, but I hear there are some French ones still around) .

  3. This post has inspired me to go get very drunk.

    It has also let me know you are sitting on a case of wine. I’ll be over the day I get home to drink it.


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