I normally put the “What’s On Our Table” section at the end of this column. I always run out of space. Not this time. I’m listing my table selections first and then my wino ramblings next. Here are some good value wines to beat the summer heat. If you’re into 2016 rosés, look for the Vinas Chilenas Rosario Estate Reserva (a steal at Trader Joe’s) and the Bokisch Vineyards Rosado Terra Alta Vineyard from Lodi. Le Grand Courtage Brut Rose is a French sparkling wine made in Burgundy. It’s a bargain at $18, about half the price of a bottle of an average Champagne.
Three summer whites I like in the $15 price range are: the Robert Monday 2015 Fume Blanc, the Bokisch 2016 Verdelho Vista Luna and the E. Guigal 2015 Cotes du Rhone Blanc. All are very different and isn’t it time to try a new wine? My red picks that go with whatever you toss on the barbecue are: two 2015 zinfandels, Artezin (Mendocino) and Cigar Old Vine Zinfandel (Lodi), two 2014 merlots, Robert Hall (Paso Robles) and The Velvet Devil (Washington) and the 2014 Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington). Washington reds rock.
I needed an inexpensive (read cheap) house red. I bought four 2015 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignons, all under $5 at the Grocery Outlet (Turlock). Then called my G.O. Tasting Team together. The winner, with all seven first place votes, was the Gaucho Andino Winemakers Selection, Maipo Valley. The runner-up was Canto Del Agua Limited Edition. If you are in need of an inexpensive house white, the 2015 Wine Cube Chardonnay took a double gold medal at the State Fair and the Bota Box 2016 Pinot Grigio scored a gold. The Wine Cube also picked up a double gold for its 2015 Merlot. A three-liter box wine on sale, is less than $5 a bottle and if stored properly will keep up to six weeks. And boxed wines are great for camping or picnics.
The third annual Four Fires Festival was a big success with attendance up, great weather, 45 wineries pouring varietals from five countries matched with food cooked on open flame by local restaurants. The all day event with 100-plus Amador volunteers donates the profits to the Amador County Fair Foundation. Next year’s event will be May 5. Plan on it. This year’s seventh annual Barbera Festival is Sept. 16 at the Terra d’Oro Winery. The Festival is very popular and sells out every year. Buy early. Find more at www.barberafestival.com.
wine, wine line, russ winton, wine tasting, wine column, reds, whites, vino