Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The "Wine Goddess"

No, darlings, this is not a story about an ancient goddess of brewing and fermenting! Almost as good, though. Wine Goddess' Top Ten "Cheap n' Good" Wines November 14, 2007 - Holiday entertaining often calls for wine, but buying it can put a dent in your budget. Finding cheap, but wonderful wines is the mission of Diana Hamann, who calls herself "The Wine Goddess." Each year she comes up with a list of great wines for under $20. You can find the complete list for 2007 at www.winegoddess.com. She's also picked ten of her favorites just for ABC 7 viewers. So if you're looking for red, white or sparkling wines, you can try some of these and still have money left over for the turkey and all the trimmings: Bubbly Adami Prosecco Brut, NV, Veneto, Italy $13.50It's the Prosecco grape that makes the famed Italian sparkler of the same name, and this one is indeed one of my favorite recent finds. Drier than most Prosecco, its crisp, clean flavor profile of apple and pear will make it the perfect holiday aperitif. Whites Burgans Albarino, 2006, Rias Baixas, Spain $12.75 A bang-up value featuring northwest Spain's noble white grape, Albarino, and vinified by one of the grape's greatest advocates, Luciano Almoedo. Organically farmed, this clean and juicy white is redolent of peach, mineral, and orange blossom. Delish. Tangent Pinot Gris, 2006, Edna Valley, California $17.25 Tipping its hat to its Alsatian counterparts, the Tangent Gris is all about citrus and stone fruit aromatics, with a solid backbone of acidity mixing and mingling with fresh floral notes. The most expensive wine on this list, but well worth the price. Terra Buena Torrontes, 2006, Mendoza, Argentina $11.75 If you have yet to try the fruity and floral Torrontes grape, get going! The Terra Buena falls into the headily perfumed category, with big aromas and flavors of lychee, starfruit, and ripe melon served up on a surprisingly dry frame. Novellum Chardonnay, 2006, Languedoc-Roussillon, France $11.50 For sure one of the best values on the market, Novellum's Chardonnay is passed over Viognier lees, which explains the wine's subtle hints of honeysuckle, pear, and peach. And because it's un-oaked, it will make both a great food wine and all-by-its-lonesome wine. Reds Gournier Grenache Noir, 2006, Languedoc-Roussillon, France $8.95 A fantastic Grenache from the south of France sure to please foodies and wine novices alike. The organically farmed Gournier is all about bright, rich, raspberry fruit, with a sweet middle, and a kick of white pepper on the finish just to keep things interesting. Buglioni Valpolicella Classico, 2005, Veneto, Italy $13.50 This juicy red surely merits a double-yum on the yum-o-meter. Look for gobs of generous bright red berry fruit, purple flower notes, and a palate that's pure velvet. Bodegas Peique Bierzo, 2006, Castile y Leon, Spain $13.25 The Peique Bierzo is comprised of the Mencia grape, which at present is enjoying too-cool-for-school status amongst the Sommelier set. Look for aromas and flavors of spicy dark berry in the foreground, and earthy minerality in the background. Serve with grilled meats or hard Spanish cheese to achieve nirvana. Con Sur Carmenere, 2006, Colchagua Valley, Chile $9.50 File this one under silly, silly value--a perfect candidate for buying by the truckload. The Cono Sur Carmenere features rich blueberry and blackberry fruit amidst espresso bean and smoky oak notes, and a structure that screams twice the price. Hedges "CMS" Cuvee, 2005, Columbia Valley, Washington $12.95 The Hedges CMS red never fails to win friends and influence people with its big flavors of plum, coffee, and currant berry. Named for the Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah grapes that comprise it, this hearty red packs a punch for its modest price tag.

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