Three Winter Whites

Everyone I know has a budget that’s shrinking. Even at Chez Christine’s, our dollar doesn’t stretch as far as I wish it would. I won’t buy wine before I buy food, but I AM being even more careful than I used to be in putting my money down for a bottle of vino.

Today I’ve got three white wines that are really tasty. With the southern California weather warming up, then cooling down, you never know when it’ll be the right time for a white. I’ve had all of these in the past week or so.

Fetzer Valley Oaks Pinot Grigio 2010 Mendocino, California – Alcohol 12.5% by volume – $5.99 at Vons on sale

On the Label: “Pioneers in Sustainability. Established in 1968. 14% less carbon emissions. The Earth Friendly Winery. Crowd pleaser. Whether you say Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, which are synonyms, I try and make this wine in a modern style that will please the gathered crowd.  This wine is lightly floral and an easy drinking wine. The wine shows aromas of fig, melon, and flavors of Honeydew melons and Granny Smith apples and is a good drink with pleasant racy bright acidity. A versatile wine that pairs well with many salads and lighter fare. I love to serve it with appetizers when I have house guests over.”

“Fetzer now uses lighter glass bottles, runs the winery from mostly green energy, recycles, the list goes on…enhancing our heritage of sustainability.”

My Take: From working with hydrogeologists, I’ve learned to be wary of any winery that calls itself “sustainable”.   (Apparently its a huge buzz word in the industry but no one really knows what that means, the above list notwithstanding.) However, this wine is a good wine (chatty label aside). Its bright, crisp, clean and perfect with appetizers, or just to sip after a hard day’s work. Plus – cheap!

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ At this price, if you can, pick up a half-case so you’re ready for the hot weather to come. It’s a 2010, so it’ll last in the bottle for at least a year.

Blackstone Winemaker’s Select Chardonnay 2010  Monterey County, California 2010 –  Alcohol 13.5% by volume. $7.99 at Vons on Sale.

On the Label: Our Blackstone Chardonnay is sourced from California’s finest grape growing regions, with a focus on Monterey County. This wine offers luscious tropical fruit flavors complemented with light spice and toasted vanilla characteristics.

My Take: I like this wine. I fell in love with it when we were in Monterey this past March/April; we drank this wine while eating the best clam chowder in town, while watching the seals on the beach. Probably the best beach-side meal I’ve ever eaten…the wine was clean, crisp, cold, and probably a 2009; but good news. The 2010 is just as good – it’s a solid performer and one of my go-to wineries for Chardonnay. Not overly oaky, but not too steely either – a good balance between the old and the new style Chard. It’s also hard to find anything other than the 2010s out right now. They’re flooding the market as they usually do when the calendar flips to a new year. If you can find the older bottles, buy them first.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ And at this price, you can afford a couple bottles – or more! (Do take advantage of the six bottle, 10% on top of the sale price discounts that most grocery stores have!)

Newman’s Own Chardonnay 2008 California Alcohol 13.5% by volume. Vinted and bottled by Rebel Wine, St. Helena, Napa County, California Exclusively for Newman’s Own, Inc. $8.99 on sale at Albertson’s.

On the Label: “The Legend: From the mountains to the bay, we searched for the perfect Chardonnay. We thought we found one at Hollywood and Vine but it turned out to be apple juice – not even wine. We were just about ready to give up the hunt when Wee Willie Wine, a cute winged runt said, ‘Since you’re the guys who give all your profits away, I’ll take you to my secret Chardonnay.’ And so here from the hilltops where Wee Willie trods is a Chardonnay that is truly a gift from the Gods.

” Newman’s Own Foundation continues Paul Newman’s commitment to donate all royalties and after tax profits from this product for educational and charitable purposes. Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation have given over $250 Million to thousands of charities since 1982.”

My Take: (Yes, I know, that’s a bottle of cabernet over there. I couldn’t find a picture of the Chardonnay.) I was quite surprised to see a Newman’s Own wine last week as we perused the Albertson’s after a three mile jog-walk (not our usual grocery store).  As the wine was priced under $10, I grabbed it and after a thorough chilling,  we had it with dinner that night. Tasty, easy going, fine for sipping. It handled the roast chicken but would have handled a chowder, a pork dish, anything really. It was an easy-drinking wine – and with the knowledge that the profit goes to charity, it also makes it an easy-to-buy wine. And as a 2008, if you can find it in your local store, grab it. Drink it by July. It may keep longer, but whites generally don’t lay down as well as reds so drink those 2008s up!

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ Plus you get the high of having donated to charity. It’s a win/win!

Well, there you go, the first wine blog of 2012. Remember this is my opinion based upon my taste buds, the cycle of the moon, and how many hours of writing I’ve gotten in this week. Your tastes will vary!

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14 Responses to Three Winter Whites

  1. Julie Glover says:

    I’m so glad you rated a Newman’s Own wine. I have been very impressed with the products of theirs I’ve tasted – salsa, popcorn, dressing. But I wasn’t sure how the wine would be. I will definitely put it on my shopping list. Thanks, Christine. You are such a great resource!

  2. Christine;

    Very informative blog. Do you have any good recommendations for Reislings? I really like Fetzer’s (I like the price tag too), but I’m always on the lookout for something new.

    Based on your blog, I’ll give the Fetzer Pinot Grigio a try.

    Cheers!

    • Reislings…I’ll have to get back to you on that. They’re a German wine but have crossed over, and wineries here in California do make them…I’ll make sure to give a few some tasting soon. They’re on the sweeter side generally…I’ll keep you posted! Thanks, Kathy!

  3. Catie Rhodes says:

    The weather here in Texas has been hot/cold, too. It plays hell on my allergies and sinuses. I never knew whites were meant for hot weather. Of course, my husband who actually drinks wine might know this. Keep the good suggestions coming. I always look at them to see if I want to buy what you’ve suggested.

  4. Thanks for the info, Christine. Hubby and I are making the trek to Monterey this summer, the day can’t come quick enough. Sounds like a ‘to die for’ meal…wine and clam chowder.

    • Christine says:

      Doree, you’ll love Monterey! Though if I may, try to go in the spring – it won’t be nearly as crowded. Summer is high season. We had that meal in March last year!

  5. Robena Grant says:

    What a nice selection. I’ve had Fetzer before, but not for a long time. It really is good for the price. Our weather is so weird isn’t it. I have Canadian neighbors who are out sunning themselves all day. : )

  6. Thanks for the new post, Christine. I love your wine reviews.

  7. Hi Christine!

    Who actually is Newman these days? They seem to have a good thing going on with pasta sauce, cookies, wine etc. Hmm. Good to know it’s very drinkable.

    • Christine says:

      Newman’s Own Foundation is run by at least one of his daughters – Nell, I think. It’s still very much in the family and with all the profits going to charity, it’s a feel-good brand.

  8. Christine — You and your blog make me wish I liked wine. I keep trying though. A couple of these sound good so I think I’ll give them a try. I’m determined to find something! 🙂

    • Christine says:

      Rhonda, you are so cute! Trust me, wine is a money-suck. It’s perfectly okay to not like it – I’ll still hang out with you!

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