#WineWednesday: Dollars and Wine Sense

by Robin Barr Sussman on January 20, 2021 in Food, Drink,
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Most of us are recovering from a season of spending, but there’s no reason to sacrifice a great meal at home without a little icing on the cake, i.e., good wine.

Here are some top picks from 2020 that span the globe—including organic—for under $20 bucks. Pssst: Check the tip below for a free wine flight tasting in Houston this month. Keep the change!

ARGENTINA

Photo courtesy Bodegas Santa Julia

Bodegas Santa Julia, repeatedly a Best Buy award winner, boasts a large world-class portfolio of mouthwatering wines. Try the rustic Tintillo red with burgers; buttery Organica chardonnay, dry rosé, tangy torrontes, or Santa Julia Reserva range. Start or end with the newer Dulce Natural, fruity perfection with cheese, appetizers and desserts ($10-$13).

CHILE

Photo courtesy Emiliana Winery

Head south for mega values like Natura Organic from Emiliana Winery, known for high quality, clean varietals priced around $10. Their unoaked chardonnay is bottled sunshine and the malbec marvels with ripe red fruits and black pepper notes.

SPAIN

Photo courtesy Familia Torres

Anticipate myriad affordable options in the Familia Torres collection including Vina Sol Original ’19, a zippy white blend for winter soups, seafood and snacks. Sangre de Toro Original ‘18 red blend is intense with blackberry aromas and notes of roasted coffee (both about $10 and certified vegan).

FRANCE

Photo courtesy Domaine d’Aussieres,

Look for hidden budgets by venerable brands like Domaine d’Aussieres, part of Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite portfolio. Syrah, merlot and cabernet franc comprise its spot-on red blend ($15). Aussieres blanc (unoaked chardonnay) is a postcard from the south of France. A steal at $13!

ITALY

Photo courtesy Corvo Irmana Grillo

For garlic-kissed pastas, shrimp scampi and roasted chicken, uncork ’19 Corvo Irmana Grillo, Sicily, a white with all the right stuff. Think tropical fruit, lemon zest and yellow apple (about $12).

WASHINGTON STATE

Photo courtesy Dixie & Bass

Dixie & Bass sauvignon blanc, Columbia Valley ($18) is worth every penny for its complex notes of zesty grapefruit, fig, herbs, and hint of toasted oak. Be Human rosé of cabernet ($17), is no wimpy pink.

OREGON

Photo courtesy Willamette Valley Vineyards

Willamette Valley Vineyards crafts a lush, tropical pinot gris with balanced acidity ($17) that begs for Saturday night grilled salmon or rich stone crab.

Sip This, Houston!

The delightful patio at Mutiny Wine Room, Houston. Reserve your slot now for their gratis Jan 21 wine tastings.
Photo Jenn Duncan

Mutiny Wine Room, 1124 Usener St., Houston, celebrates its one-year anniversary with gratis wine flight tastings January 21 from 4 – 10pm. The patio will be available weather permitting. Reservations required (832-618-1233 or Resy).

BUY WINES: Online at each winery; Spec’s; Total Wine & More; Houston Wine Merchant (note: the latter will order wines if they don’t carry it and can locate it).


Cover photo courtesy Burst

Robin Barr Sussman (rbs@pdq.net) is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Calif. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman is a columnist for Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.

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