Paul Lehrner “Cuvée Claus,” Mittelburgenland
This blend of Zweigelt and Blaufrankisch exhibits all the berry and spice character you’d expect as well as a lighter frame that makes it all go down with dangerous ease. Cuvée Claus is a perennial charmer.
Dominio del Plata “Crios de Susana Balbo,” Mendoza
There’s nothing terribly new about Argentina. Still, the blend here might be unfamiliar: Syrah (which you know) and Bonarda (which you might not). This fruity, surprisingly complex steal from one of Argentina’s top female winemakers is bound to become a staple in your cellar…or liver.
Argyle Brut, Willamette Valley
It only makes sense, of course: A cooler region that excels in the realm of Pinot Noir should produce solid sparklers. And this one is fabulous proof: Its surprising depth and gorgeous freshness are almost shocking given the price tag.
Montinore Gewurztraminer, Willamette Valley
Yet another beauty from the land of beards and Birkenstocks. This one is every bit as exotic as the best of Alsace, but with the added weight that the New World provides. Good at any time of day…or morning.
Silvio Jermann “Were Dreams,” Friuli
Still, making jokes about Italian white wines? This one will cure you. Silvio Jermann, the genius of northeast Italy, produces some of the most interesting, well-crafted whites on the boot. This particular one, while not cheap, is a 750ml demonstration of exactly how nuanced Italian Chardonnay can be: It’s barrel-fermented, rich but not over-the-top, and supremely elegant.
Chateau d’Arche Sauternes
This is drinking well now and will continue to do so for years to come. Enjoy sweetness? Acid? Lushness? We’d recommend buying two, drinking one now, and saving the other for a decade. Or drink them both now. End of the world, and all.
Domaine Pierre Usseglio et Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape
When we opened this wine in our Advanced France course last winter, it was one of the highlights of Southern Rhone night. This wine exhibits everything you’d expect from this still-reasonably-priced part of the world: Ripe fruit, mushrooms, flowers, spice–it’s all there and then some, and only
Louis Latour Aloxe Corton “Les Chaillots,” Burgundy
Again with the 2005’s! So many of them are priced out of reach of all but those with the deepest pockets. But here’s an example of a cherry-rich, age-worthy bottling from a negociant that’s earned every last bit of the respect it enjoys. So, yeah: 05 Burgundy for $34.99? It doesn’t get much better than that.
Domaine William Fevre Chablis
Anyone who tells you that winter is not the right time for white wine clearly hasn’t enjoyed the many charms of Chablis on a crisp day. There’s something about the often chalky, flinty character of these wines that pairs perfectly with the brisk weather, and this one has the added benefit of a bit more fruit than you might initially expect. Gorgeous in both flavor and price.