Developing a palette.
You're not an alcoholic if it's research.
The following are wines I've enjoyed over the last year or two. The prices are 'in the neighborhood of' and 'to the best of my recollection.' Don't quote me. They'd all work if you're not a wine drinker but would like something to take for a hostess gift.
$10-$12 Pedro Pergolas. This is the blue label mentioned in my previous post. Fave year 2004 & 2005. 06 is drinkable. 08 must wait.
$10-$12 Castillo de Almansa, also prefer 2005, am currently settling for 07.
$10 Mapu. I don't usually care for Chilean reds. They're often peppery, but this one is very smooth.
$12-$15 Terra Sana - Organic Syrah
(I'm pretty sure Syrah, Sirah and Shiraz are all basically the same grape)
$10ish - All of the Barefoot reds and whites are very affordable and drinkable. I particularly like the Pinot Gris for summer evenings.
$10-$12 - Naked Grape - I think it's Californian. They have a nice un-oaked Chardonnay and their reds are reliable
$10-$15 Hardy's is a very reliable brand across reds and whites
$15-$17? McWilliam's Un-Oaked Chardonnay was described to me as 'like butterscotch.' Let me know if you agree. I don't love oak so this was a nice find for summer dinners.
NOTE: I learned some years ago to look for the VQA label on B.C. wines as a sign of reliable quality. I note the liquor stores are now separating the wines actually produced from grapes grown in BC from 'Bottled in Canada' made from imported grapes. I'm all about hundred-mile drinking, so I stick with the grown in BC wines.
$200+ Tin Horn Creek Crush Club case.
We've sampled a few and given away a few as gifts. We're enjoying them and looking forward to seeing how they mature. We will be buying another sampling next fall.
$15 Quail's Gate Rosé
I love this light, dry wine as a summer afternoon aperitif.
$40 Hester Creek 2004 MerlotRecommended to me by the sister who thinks talking wine is pretentious. I'm going to try to buy her one of the few remaining bottles as a birthday gift ;o) Shhhh