Budgeting for your holiday party is easier when you select these well-made wines that also are a good value.
Starting the party with a sparkling wine is always a sure way to bring smiles and set a bubbly mood. Champagne can be a budget buster, but you can enjoy a Champagne-method wine such as the Spanish cava non-vintage Anna de Codorniu Brut Rose’. Its classic Champagne blend of 70 percent pinot noir and 30 percent chardonnay has a pretty rose pedal shade, and an appealing cherry and strawberry aroma and flavor, which makes it an ideal welcoming glass of wine. It is softer on the palate than Champagne and, at about $16, much gentler on the pocketbook.
Cremant de Limoux’s history reaches to 1531, when Benedictine monks at the abbey of Saint-Hilaire in southern France recorded making sparkling wine.Gerard Bertrand’s 2010 Cremant de Limoux Blanc is a blend of 70 percent chardonnay, 20 percent chenin blanc and 10 percent mauzac, the indigenous grape which used to dominate all Limoux sparkling wine.
Fermented in stainless steel and aged for one year in bottle, the 2010 Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux Blanc has a pleasantly mild pear and jasmine scent. The refined bubbles bring apple and delicate lemon flavors across the palate with a dry, tingling finish. It retails for approximately $17.
Bordeaux’s reputation is about grand chateaux and matching prices, but that is a misperception. The vast region produces an ocean of wine, much of it at everyday prices. Chateau Bonnet is one of Andre Lurton’s properties. Located 20 miles south of Saint-Emilion in Entre-Deux-Mers, Lurton produces a flavorful, well-made white wine from a blend of sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle grapes.
The 2011 Chateau Bonnet Blanc exudes pear and tropical fruit aromas and flavors, has good body and finishes dry without being astringent. It’s ideal as an aperitif, or served with crab cakes, seafood salads or white fish such as cod, sole and halibut; retail is about $15.
Inexpensive and well-made reds are the forte of Italy. Go directly to the 2010 Banfi Centine made from a majority of Tuscany’s sangiovese, with support from cabernet sauvignon and merlot. It’s made and aged for immediate enjoyment, which is just what the bright red color, fragrant and tasty red fruit aromas and flavors accomplish. This is the perfect red party wine with its supple texture and even softer price. At about $13, you can stock the 2010 Banfi Centine by the case.