This is the second in a two part column about wines to stock in order to have a variety on hand.
Last week we looked at the first six bottles of wines to consider when starting a collection. This second group rounds out the assemblage with more food-friendly wines for a variety of occasions.
ALWAYS THE SEASON
Of course port is ideal during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it is often overlooked as the perfect dessert wine or ending to a meal. Vintage port can command high prices – from hundreds of dollars and beyond, depending upon the year. But the high price doesn’t mean budget-savvy drinkers have to forgo port. The bottle I would have on hand would be another version of port, the tawny port.
Tawny port is identified by age (10 or 20 years old) rather than vintage. The age refers to how long the port matured in the cask. This difference also is reflected in the price, making the tawny a great value to have on hand.
- Taylor Fladgate 10-Year-Old Tawny Port, Portugal (about $35 retail)
FOOD’S BEST FRIEND
Riesling is the ideal foodfriendly white wine. It’s the acidity in the wine that allows almost any food to show off and not be overpowered by tannins or full-bodied style. This grape generally has a lower alcohol level than most white wines, which is another plus.
- 2007 Grand Cru Saering Riesling, France (about $32 retail)
Chardonnay is still the most recognizable grape for most wine drinkers. Many chardonnay styles can be high in oak and high in alcohol. The bottle I would have in my case would be a French style or a balanced, less oaky California. This addition is another wine guests will be familiar with and it pairs with almost every white-meat dish.
- 2011 Louis Jadot Macon-Villages Chardonnay, France (around $13 retail)
THE FRESH ITALIAN
Moscato d’Asti should be enjoyed when it’s young and fresh. This is one of the few wines I would recommend you add to your collection, with the plan being to open it within 3 months of when you bought it. It needs to be served chilled and pairs with an array of foods ranging from breakfast to dessert.
- 2012 Vietti Moscato d’Asti “Cascinetta Vietti,” Italy (about $16 retail)
Gewurztraminer is a great partner for lighter foods and anytime on its own. It is one favorite everyone should have in a collection.
- 2010 Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer, France (about $18 retail)
A WINE MADE FOR DINING
Last but not least is Chianti. This Italian wine was made for food. The main reason I enjoy having this wine on hand is its effortless way of pairing with a range of foods – from cold pizza to homemade pasta sauces. And there’s no reason to spend a lot of money because many Chiantis can be found for less than $20.
- 2010 Cecchi Chianti Classico, Italy (about $14 retail)