Weekend Wines

Weekend wines: Sips that hit the sweet spot

April 7, 2012 at 10:20 AM ET

Edward Deitch
Edward Deitch / Edward Deitch

When it comes to the price of wine, what’s your sweet spot – the price that you think will buy a more-than-decent bottle for everyday drinking? The question, of course, is completely subjective. For some, it may be $8 while for others it may be $20 or more. If I had to choose, it would be the $12 to $16 range with a preference for wines from Europe, South America and perhaps whites from New Zealand and Australia. I am always looking for wines with a sense of place – what the French call “terroir” – and while I can often find them in this price range from France and Italy, for example, it’s more of a challenge with California, where wine production is more costly.

Among other wines I’ve tasted recently, I found my sweet spot in a $14 white from Italy – Icardi’s 2010 “L’Aurora” Cortina from Piedmont in the northwest. For my $14, I got an estate-grown wine from this excellent producer that uses organic and biodynamic farming methods, a wine that has delicious, nuanced tastes of ripe citrus, orange peel, herbs, some cream and a touch of smoke. Made from the local cortina grape, it will pair well with everything from baked ham to fish and shellfish, grilled chicken and sautéed or steamed asparagus. Imported by Vinifera Imports, Ronkonkoma, New York. To buy this wine click here.

I also found my sweet spot in Eric Texier’s 2010 Côtes du Rhône, made typically from grenache, cinsault and carignan and even a little white roussanne and marsanne. This $16 wine is a delicate and delightful red with notes of spicy cherry, pomegranate and mocha, and features bright acidity and a firm tannic structure. I loved its freshness and the fact that the alcohol is just 12.5 percent. Enjoy it with grilled lamb, beef and chicken dishes. Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections, New York. To buy this wine click here and here.

For me, the sweet spot is all about finding modestly priced wines that over-deliver on complexity and depth. How about you? Leave a comment about how you think about wine quality and price.

Edward Deitch is a James Beard Award-winning wine critic. Find many more of his wine reviews and commentary on his blog, Vint-ed.com, and follow him on Twitter.

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