Christmas is one week from tomorrow, and it’s getting awfully late to order gifts online. Battling the last-minute shopping crowds isn’t much fun either. But here’s an easy solution for the wine lover in your life: A nice bottle of wine always makes a good choice!
Let’s get right into my reports on ten favorites from 2021. But first, speaking of holiday gifts for the wine lover, don’t forget wine books! One of my favorites of 2021 delves into the history and culture of wine: Champagne Charlie: The Frenchman Who Taught Americans to Love Champagne. Head over to WineLoversPage for details and Amazon links to Champagne Charlie and two more good wine books that would make great gifts for a wine lover near you.
Now, let’s talk about wine. As you know, I try to feature affordable wines in this column. I report on the wines I usually enjoy myself, almost always with dinner, and almost invariably those that sell at retail for $15 or so, and ideally even less.
I can’t resist recalling my favorite wine of the year, though, the recently reported Château Thivin 2020 Côte de Brouilly ($29.99)
Château Thivin 2020 Côte de Brouilly is a beautiful example of the best of Beaujolais, organically grown on Brouilly’s typical blue volcanic granite soil that lends its deep minerally characteristic to this bright garnet wine’s fresh strawberry, cranberry, anise, and violets.
That’s well worth the few bucks’ extra investment. But let’s talk about nine more that do squeeze under – or in a couple of cases, close to – my $15 target. You’ll notice that they strongly reflect my preference for European table wines, complex in character and good with food, good values even in this lower-end price range. Counting the slightly more pricey Chateau Thivin, there are four from France, three from Italy, two from Portugal and one from Germany.
Scarpetta Timido Rosé Vino Spumante Brut ($14.99)
We celebrated Thanksgiving dinner with Scarpetta Timido, a delicious, affordable rosé sparkler from Northeastern Italy.
Allegrini Valpolicella ($14.99)
Allegrini Valpolicella offers an excellent representation of the region’s red wines. It lifts up appealing floral scents of wild roses and violets.
Torre Raone Colline Pescaresi Pecorino ($15.99)
Torre Raone Pecorino shows citrus, peach and clover honey aromas; tart and fresh, gentle sweetness is balanced by tingling acidity and stony minerality.
La Vielle Ferme Rouge ($7.99)
La Vieille Ferme Rouge is a spectacular value for less than $10, with its fresh cherry-berry aroma and raspberry, strawberry and bing cherry flavors.
Loosen Bros. 2019 “Dr. L” Mosel Riesling ($13.99)
“Dr. L” Mosel Riesling lifts up peach, apple, and honeydew melon scents; crisp acidity balances fresh-fruit sweetness in its delicious flavor.
Domaine de la Madone Beaujolais-Villages Le Perréon ($14.99)
Madone Beaujolais-Villages Le Perréon offers bright and juicy berry fruit snd brisk acidity, with subtle tannins and stony minerality in a long finish.
Querceto Chianti ($10.99)
Querceto Chianti breathes good Chianti aromas of tart black cherries and dried cherries. Its appetizing, juicy black-cherry fruit lingers in a long finish.
And, celebrating the end of 2020, I finished off last year with two good, affordable Ports in half-bottles:
Porto Kopke Fine Ruby Port ($9.99)
Porto Kopke Fine Tawny Port ($9.99)
We taste and compare Porto Kopke Fine Ruby and Fine Tawny Ports and find them both delicious, each in its own way.
If you try any of these wines, I hope you enjoy them. You’re more than welcome to drop by our WineLovers Discussion Group and tell us about your experience with these wines or others that you liked. If you’re a wine lover but not yet a forum member, you really should be! If you’d like to join the forum, send me an email and briefly introduce yourself, and I’ll get you set up pronto.
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Good wines we’ve tried under $10.99!
Want tips to still more good, inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher links to vendors and prices for a bunch more wines for $10.99 or less that I’ve told you about in recent years. In some cases the prices may have risen over the $10.99 mark since I reviewed them, but they should still be excellent bargains. Please tell us about your favorites!
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