I don't have a theme for today's column, and I've learned that not having one can turn into the theme itself.
Years ago, when Art Fleming hosted the original version of the TV game show "Jeopardy!" there was a smattering of oddly named, miscellaneous categories, such as "leftovers," "goulash," "potpourri" and "hodgepodge."
As a youngster, I always thought these categories related either to food, something that smelled good and went in a drawer, or some weird game closely related to tetherball. In reality, they were simply a collection of unused answers from past games that were combined into a new, catchall category - not unlike what I've discovered to be today's theme.
Call it "hodgepodge wines for one hundred, Art," because these wines have virtually nothing in common other than the fact that I've recently tried them, found something to like about them, and am passing them on for you to consider.
Portteus Winery 2010 Rattlesnake Red (about $11) - From Washington's Rattlesnake Hills Appellation, this combination of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese, petit sirah and zinfandel makes for an easy-drinking, everyday red at an affordable price. Plenty of bright cherry and red berry flavors and a bit of grip will allow you to pair it with lighter beef dishes and tomato-based pastas.
Vartanyan Winery 2010 White Duet (about $14) - Here's an intriguing, seldom-used blend of roussanne and pinot gris from the Bellingham winery. There's a whiff of honey on the nose with traces of dried peach and allspice on the palate. The roussanne gives the wine a bit of an oily mouthfeel; the pinot gris a bit of acidity. Unique, and worth a try.
Tefft Cellars Red Table Blend Box Wine (about $27) - OK, so this wine isn't going to win any awards, but it's perfectly quaffable and great for large groups. This lighter-style Washington red comes in a 4-liter box (the equivalent of a mind-boggling 5 and 1/4 750 ml bottles), so your per-bottle cost is just slightly over $5. Consider taking it along on your next camping trip or tailgating party.
Maryhill Winery Non-Vintage Brut (about $26) - Sourced with grapes from California's North Coast, this is Maryhill's first sparkling wine effort ... and it's a winner. A blend of 60 percent chardonnay and 40 percent pinot noir, it opens with nutty, yeasty aromas and flavors that melt into lovely notes of apricot and nectarine on an off-dry finish. Only 264 cases were produced and it's going fast, so don't delay if you want to give this wine a try.
DAN RADIL is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at danthewineguy.com.