News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Valley Life

December 26, 2012

GRAPE SENSE: The holidays, a time to splurge on a bit pricier wine

TERRE HAUTE — If there is ever a time to splurge on something special, it’s the holidays for most of us. For five years now Grape Sense has focused on value wine under $20. That’s not going to change. But for one column, here are some suggestions that will range $10 to $20 higher than the wines normally mentioned here.

One of the great adventures in a wine education is discovering price point differences relative to quality. There are many differences of opinion. My experience is that when you break about $15, there is a jump in quality.

Here are some wines for a special occasion that should deliver a real bang on the palate for just a 10 or 20 spot more than the usual $12 to $15 bottle. It may take a wine shop to find them, but all should be available in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.

Lange Willamette Valley Pinot Noir — The Lange Pinot at about $22 is one of the best “entry level” Oregon Pinot Noirs on the market. Jesse and Don Lange deliver better fruit than most at this price. The wine remains light-bodied and well-balanced, the key characteristics of great Oregon Pinot Noir.

Klinker Brick Zinfandel — There are plenty of under $15 Zins on the market, but few under $20 that provide the bang for the buck that Klinker Brick delivers. This is on my all-time list for great wines under 20 bucks. This is old vine Zin which delivers big fruit that balances the higher-than-usual alcohol. It’s dynamite red wine for winter meals.

Tamarack Cellars Merlot — The oft-maligned red grape is making a comeback of sorts. Washington state producers have been leading the pack in developing interesting Merlot wines with dark fruit, spice and chocolate flavors. This wine has been a 90-point-plus entry from most of the critics. It can be found at $20 to $25.

Ca’ De’ Rocchi Ripasso Montere — This is the best value Italian red wine I’ve ever tasted. Ripasso style wines from the Valpolicella district have been hot. It’s made from the Corvina, Rondinella and Moliara grapes. The combination creates a fruit wine with some real depth. It’s perfect for food and friends who may not always be big wine drinkers. Look for it at $20 to $24. The wine is an incredible value buy.

Obra Prima Reserva Malbec — As much as the Ripasso above is good for wine novices, the Obra Prima isn’t for newcomers. For the wine drinker who likes big dark fruit, dark chocolate, wonderfully balanced acid and tannin, here is a pick for you. The 2007 vintage in current release sells for $17.

Fleur Cardinale Grand Cru Saint Emilion — If you want to go all out for a special night or impress your friends, reach for Bordeaux. Wines from the world’s greatest regions are famously wonderful and expensive. This Merlot-driven blend is a great way to see what the wine world swoons over when it comes to the iconic French region. Robert Parker rates it at 90 points, and I think it’s even a tad bit better than that. It really does taste well above the not-so-cheap price point of $45.

Billaud-Simon Premier Cru Montee de Tonnerre — Taste the terroir of Burgundy with this great bottle of Chablis (Chardonnay) from one of the region’s greatest producers. This wine is stunning with poultry or smoke salmon. Chablis has long suffered from poor imitators. It’s rare you can enjoy a bottle of some of the world’s very best wine for the average price of $25.

Up next: Check out the annual list of Top 10 Value Wines of the Year.

Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, writes about wine every other week for 21 Midwestern newspapers. Reach him at: hewitthoward@gmail.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Valley Life
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Video Shows Smiling American Bomber in Syria Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Planes With MH17 Victims Land in Eindhoven 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Tanks Patrol Gaza Streets During Ceasefire Raw: Sirens After Explosions in Israel Today in History for July 27th
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity