With fall gatherings and the upcoming holiday frenzy nearing, we thought it timely to bring you a list of great wine selections perfect for pouring at these events or for gifting to the hostess. Scott Atkinson of The Wine Shop at Western Mountain Brook shares some first-rate picks in the bubbly, white and red varieties.
SB Note: These wines range from $12 to $20, with the exception of Chocolate Block, which is around $30, and Delamotte, which is around $40.
Most Proseccos (or to be more correct “Prosecchi”) are all around the same price, in the $12 to $18 range. The Adamis are Prosecco specialists and have a fantastic history in Prosecco. The Adami Prosecco is high quality, consistent, well-priced and one of the best values in Prosecco. Oh, and my wife and I served it at our wedding.
Cava is a clever man’s Champagne. All of the processes are the same, but the geography and the grapes are different. Love Champagne but don’t want to spend $40+? Then Cava is perfect for you. The Casteller is delicious in Mimosas, but is also superb on its own. Some other Cava are not good for anything but mixing. Casteller is not too sweet, not too fizzy, not too dry. It is “just right.”
Champagne is the real deal, and Delamotte is Monty Hall. Delamotte is not only a “real” Champagne (as in produced in the Champagne region of France), but it is also a delightful one. From the same house which produces Salon Champagne (arguably the greatest Champagne in the world), Delamotte is a wonderful wine and not clichéd.
This white blend from Sicily is what Pinot Grigio wants to be when it grows up. It has all of the elements most folks love in Pinot Grigio, just … more. It is composed of deeper, more intricate flavors and is fuller than a Pinot Grigio without being rich.
Maso Canali makes one wine, Pinot Grigio. It is the best softer-style Pinot Grigio under $20.
This is, far and away, our best selling Chardonnay of this style and price. It has pretty much become a Birmingham staple.
While it is an atypical Pinot Noir, it is one of the most popular Pinot Noirs out there. Rich and full, this is very much a crowd favorite.
This is a classic Pinot Noir from Oregon. Please do not be deterred by the label. The wine is as good as the label is bad. While it may be disconcerting to see a modernist portrait of Trotsky on the label, just know that the red wine inside is elegant, delicious and a beautiful expression of Oregon Pinot Noir.
This red blend from South Africa is rich and full … and a *great* introduction to South African wines. Many hostesses are familiar with the wines of California, France, Italy, etc., but are not as well-versed in the wines of South Africa. Use Chocolate Block as the gateway and proceed to other great wineries such as Fairview, Spice Route and Hamilton Russell.
Many wine consumers are familiar with the Napa Valley as a touchstone for American (specifically Californian) Cabernet Sauvignon. While Napa may have put California on the map, there are some spectacular wines coming from Paso Robles, which is a bit further south. Halter Ranch’s Cabernet is a stunning value for the money.
Feeling thirsty? For more expert suggestions stop by The Wine Shop at Western Mountain Brook or contact them via phone (205.879.1746) or email ([email protected]). And don’t miss Western’s upcoming Wine and Food Festival at the Birmingham Zoo on September 26!