Off-dry white wines—with a small amount of natural grape sugar—tend to survive better than other wines when open, as do young, powerfully tannic reds.

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Off-Dry Whites

2008 Husch Vineyards Chenin Blanc ($11)

Located in California's Anderson Valley, Husch been producing a wide range of compelling wines since 1971. Among them is this lively, melony white, made with a tiny bit of residual sugar.

2008 Chateau Grand Traverse Whole Cluster Riesling ($14)

Fragrant and floral, this light-bodied, grapefruity wine comes from Michigan's Old Mission Peninsula, an up-and-coming region that juts out into Lake Michigan near Traverse City.

2008 Tangent Paragon Vineyard Riesling ($17)

Tangent, an ambitious venture from the owners of Baileyana Winery in San Luis Obispo, California, focuses on non-Chardonnay whites. Among the best is this fragrant, ever-so-slightly off-dry Riesling.

2008 Pewsey Vale Prima Riesling ($19)

Like most Australian Riesling producers, Pewsey Vale Vineyard primarily makes austere, entirely dry bottlings with razorlike acidity. This spicy, lime-scented white is a slightly sweeter exception.

2008 François Pinon Cuvée Tradition Vouvray ($20)

Great Chenin Blancs from France's Vouvray region are among the longest-lived white wines in the world. This introductory bottling from a top producer is citrusy, graceful and faintly sweet.

Young, Robust Reds

2006 Vinum Cellars PETS Petite Sirah ($14)

The Petite Sirah grape produces some of California's most inky, full-bodied reds. This bottling from Napa Valley–based Vinum Cellars is big and rich, with dark-chocolate and berry notes.

2006 Château de Campuget 1753 ($14)

The earliest records of vines planted at this southern French estate date back to 1753, hence this grippy, berry-rich Syrah's name.

2006 Maycas del Limari Syrah ($23)

Spicy and intense, this Chilean red benefits from exposure to air right now—it softens and shows more fruit and depth after several hours (or a day) open.

2007 JC Cellars Smoke & Mirrors ($25)

A dash each of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel gives some additional potency to the blackberry and black pepper flavors of this powerful California Syrah blend.

2007 Mastroberardino Aglianico ($25)

The Aglianico grape is grown in southern Italy's Campania region, where it's used for uncompromisingly tannic, black-fruited reds like this one.

Joe Bastianich on Italian Wines:

More Wine and Spirits Tips:

Best Bars in the World
Lamb Chops with Frizzled Herbs
Frying herbs like rosemary, parsley and sage for less than 45 seconds in a half inch of oil makes them ultracrispy; they are delicious with tender lamb chops.
| Credit: © Con Poulos