Here's a tasty white wine from Bordeaux, France, courtesy of one of my favorite wine importers and merchants, Kermit Lynch (I've already talked up this guy and his vino a few times, so I hope you're all getting the message).
Château Ducasse is a wine I discovered in the early 2000s and have sought out ever since. At around $12, it won't break the bank. But it provides copious rewards and, as Mr. Lynch himself points out, plenty of versatility:
[T]he Bordeaux Blanc of Château Ducasse are very different from others from their appellations: [the winemaker] blends a high proportion of Sémillion (60%) and a splash of Muscadelle (5%) with Sauvignon Blanc (35%), creating a rich, full, aromatic mid-palate to complement the clean finish. These are the perfect go-to whites that pair well with anything from fish to poultry, picnic fare to Indian curries.
If you hang around wine folks for long enough, you'll eventually hear the term "Super Tuscan." What does it mean? Well, the wine laws in Italy stipulate for wines from Tuscany to be called "Chianti Classico," they have to be made predominately with a grape called Sangiovese. But back in the late 1960s and 1970s, some winemakers shook things up by using Cabernet and Merlot — French grapes — in new-wave blends. The wines didn't qualify, by choice, to be labeled Chianti Classico, but the dreary "vino da tavola" (table wine) didn't really sound too hot, so "Super Tuscan" was coined, especially because the wines were usually rather expensive.
For example, Tignanello, a Super Tuscan from way back produced by Antinori, a famous Italian winemaking clan. It can retail for $100 easy.
The wine importer Neil Empson took note and in 1977 started counterintuitively producing an el cheapo Super Tuscan called Monte Antico. It's still around. Beloved by wine lovers, critics, and even collectors seeking a great everyday quaff. It costs $11, and it's just about the finest $11 Italian red wine made by humans on planet Earth.
Just a quick post to wrap up the day — and kick off the DeWine Report!
Alert! Alert! Alert! Winter won't last forever — even in sunny Southern California. Cooler weather is an invitation to enjoy...Port. Yes, Port, that theoretically fusty wine beloved by diplomats and Englishment that's actually soothing and delicious. Especially in front of a fire on a chilly January evening.
If you're looking for a Port that delivers the goods and doesn't involve a lot of thinking or expense, look no farther than Taylor Fladgate's Late Bottled Vintage Port. This prestigious Port house practically invented the "LBV" style, which unlike Vintage Port, doesn't need to be aged or decanted. It can be drunk right away. I'm going on memory here, but I think it was created for the restaurant trade and only later trickled out to retail.