You've been invited to dinner and want to bring a gift bottle of wine. You don't know what to bring and can't spend much money. What to do? What to do?
I recently spoke to a friend who was worried about bringing "The right bottle of wine" to a dinner. The host is a wine collector, but the guests couldn't spend $45 on a bottle of wine to present as a gift. They were frustrated and about ready to pick up a cactus to bring instead of wine.
Some time was spent assuring my friend that their host was more concerned with their having a good time than adding to his wine collection. I reminded her that wine is to be drunk. There are many excellent wines that are meant to be enjoyed now--with friends. We then sat down with and I quickly made a list of wines that she could look for as host or hostess gifts.
These wines can be given as gifts, shared with friends, or simply enjoyed at home.
Sebastiani 2004 Chardonnay
One of the best Chardonnays available for $13. It has flavors of juicy apples, tangerines, and pineapples. The oak is well balanced, adding smoky vanilla depths to the flavor. It has a nice creamy texture and a lovely pale gold color. If you bring this wine you will definitely be invited back for dinner.
Faiveley 2003 Bourgogne Blanc
This white Burgundy is a well nuanced wine, offering many of the rich characteristics of more expensive wines. The nose is filled with citrus and vanilla scents. The lemony flavor echos its pale yellow color. The mouth is round and rich. A good buy for $13.
Columbia Crest 2002 Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon
This is a beautifully structured wine that is supple in flavor and texture. It has classic Washington dark berry flavors that are complimented by the hint of chocolate. It is an exceptional wine with layers of flavor not found in wines at twice the price. It is a steal at $12.
Palladio 2004 Chianti
This is a friendly wine that offers lots of cherry on the nose. The flavors are also of cherry, raspberry, and strawberries, with spice to keep it from being overpowered by the fruit. It is a good introduction to Chianti for the novice and enjoyable for those who like the intensity of Chianti. It is made from 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot and 5% Syrah. Look to pay about $11.