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Holiday Wines | Tip 2: Look for Wine Screw Caps

More and more excellent wines are being sealed with screw caps to prevent corkiness (a problem with natural corks that produces a wet cardboard–like smell in a small percentage of wines). Screw-capped wines are especially handy for large parties, because they’re easy to open quickly.

Star Selection

2007 Serra da Estrela Albariño ($16)

The Rías Baixas region on Spain’s northwest coast produces superb whites, mostly from the Albariño variety. The flavor of this minerally, bright bottling recalls fresh-cut grapefruit.

More Great Wine Values

2007 Domaines François Lurton Les Fumées Blanches Sauvignon Blanc ($11)

The ubiquitous Lurton family produces wine all over the world at a wide range of prices. But they excel at affordable bottlings like this pretty French Sauvignon Blanc, with its summery cut-grass and gooseberry notes.

2007 Joel Gott California Sauvignon Blanc ($12)

Joel Gott has a reputation as one of California’s premier value producers. Though his wines are always affordable, they’re almost always delicious, too. This Sauvignon Blanc is full of zesty melon and citrus flavors.

2007 Planeta Rosé ($16)

This vibrantly pink rosé, full of ebullient strawberry fruit, is full-bodied enough to keep drinking even as the weather becomes cool. Made entirely from Syrah grapes, it’s a new venture on the part of this inventive Sicilian winery known for its bold reds.

2007 Strub Soil to Soul Riesling ($19)

The terrific 2007 vintage in Germany produced powerful, ripe Rieslings like this one. With just enough sweetness to keep it from feeling austere and sharp, this bottling is full of slatey minerals, lime zest and spice notes.

NV Foppiano Lot 96 Red ($12)

The name of this wine refers to the first year the Foppiano family started planting grapes, 1896, in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. The family-owned winery produces approachable, value-priced reds, like this spiced-blackberry kitchen-sink blend of seven grape varieties: Sangiovese, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Merlot, Carignane, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

2005 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Pinot Noir ($13)

A portion of this wine was produced with carbonic maceration, a winemaking technique that employs whole rather than crushed grapes. Commonly used to make the bright, light-bodied wines of Beaujolais, here it adds a light red-cherry juiciness to a Pinot with black cherry and herb character.

2007 Shannon Ridge Viognier ($18)

Though vineyards have been planted in California’s Lake County since the 1870s, only recently has the region started to receive acclaim for its wines. The Shannon family farms several sites along the county’s rocky ridges, producing, among other bottles, this svelte, peachy Viognier.

2007 Domaine du Tariquet Rosé de Préssée ($12)

Though the Grassa family got its start making Armagnac in southwest France, they’re now much more well known for their table wines, primarily non-traditional blends of grapes sold at reasonable prices. This strawberry-scented rosé—a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Tannat—is so crisp, it feels almost sparkling.

2006 Delta Vineyard Pinot Noir ($21)

It’s hard to find Pinot Noir so aromatic and complex even at double this price. Delta Vineyard, a producer just recently imported to the U.S., is located in New Zealand’s Marlborough region; this, its most affordable red, recalls a handful of crushed wild raspberries and strawberries.

5 Smart Tips for Holiday Wine Buying:

Published November 2008
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