By Derek M. LaVallee - 10/03/12 09:54 PM EDT
It’s that time again. We have been inundated with advertising. We have done our own research. We have debated with family and friends. For most, the choice is clear and long-settled. A minority remains undecided, weighing the benefits of staying with what is known against going in a new direction. Everyone agrees the result will have a profound impact on our daily lives.
Of course I am referring to the careful selection of wines to properly stock your cellar for the fall and winter. It’s become an annual tradition for me to provide an “insta-cellar” list — a basic cross-section of wines representing various styles and flavor profiles convenient to have on hand for any occasion.
In years past this list has elicited the most number of emails from thankful readers. People who make the leap from buying on demand to keeping a small selection at the ready promise never to return to their old ways. I offer this list for you to follow strictly or to use as a guidepost for building your own.
• Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc, California, $12. Offers bright aromas of Meyer lemon and Key lime balanced — and made more complex — by notes of passion fruit, lychee, honeysuckle and fresh herbs. The wine is round on the palate with mouth-watering acidity and a light, refreshing finish.
• Adelsheim Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Ore., $19. Hints of papaya, apples and pears. Gentle creaminess that lends a rich, mouth-filling texture and long finish, yet still impressing as a wine that’s crisp and clean.
• Au Bon Climate Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County, Calif., $20. Citrus, stone fruit and mineral notes form smooth and integrated flavors. Creamy and tense, with apricot, apple and lemon nuances.
• Charles & Charles Rose, Columbia Valley, Wash., $11. A simple and refreshing rose with light color and defined freshness from 100 percent Syrah. Aromas of watermelon, grapefruit and stone-fruit are immediately apparent on the nose and reverberate on the palate with a bright acidity and mineral-y finish.
• Chalone Pinot Noir, Monterey Country, Calif., $15. Fragrant aromas of ripe black cherries and sun-warmed roses. Hints of tobacco and smoky incense add complexity. Fine tannins and balanced acidity frame the red-berry flavors that enliven the vibrant finish.
• Turley Zinfandel California Juvenile, California, $20. A delicious, jammy combination of red fruits, black cherry, toffee and spices from the glass to the gullet.
• Andrew Murray “Tous Les Jours” Central Coast Syrah, California, $16. The nose offers aromas of spicy cherry and blackberry, underscored by hints of wood-smoked bacon and black olive. The palate is ripe and juicy, with mineral notes adding to the savory spices.
All of these wines are American-made and, at less than $20 each, promise to help you keep a balanced budget. Good luck this selection cycle.
Derek M. LaVallee, partner at Kemp Goldberg Partners and certified wine buff, can be reached at email@example.com.