Food & Drink

'Everyday' wine fits your budget

Occasionally you may hear the phrase, “it makes a great everyday wine,” and if you’re curious as to what this means, let me offer an explanation.

As the name implies, an everyday wine should be something that falls within a reasonable price range so that you can enjoy it every day.

This generally means somewhere in the $7 to $15 range because, let’s face it, it’s impractical and unaffordable for most of us to pop the cork on a $30 bottle of cabernet when we come home from work each evening.

An everyday wine should also have at least some degree of quality. It doesn’t have to be great; it just has to be good. In that sense, you want to be able to select a wine with reasonable certainty that you’re going to enjoy it without having to sift through countless rows of bottles at the grocer of wine shop.

Typically, I’m not fond of promoting domestic wineries that produce in mass quantities. But lately I’ve relented and tried some wines from Pepperwood Grove, one of several labels from Don Sebastiani & Sons of Napa, Calif.

The 2004 Merlot is lighter than most, but still carries some nice, bright cherry flavors, soft tannins and a touch of oak on the finish. And I really loved the Non-Vintage Old Vine Zinfandel, which is packed with dense, jammy flavors of blackberry and raspberry, followed by touches of spice. Also currently available are a 2004 Syrah, 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2005 Chardonnay.

All Pepperwood Grove wines are normally priced at around $8 to $9 a bottle, although I picked up mine a few weeks ago on sale at the Food Pavilion in Bellingham for an incredible $4.97 a bottle. With prices like that, it makes sense to give them a try and at least consider them as choices for tasty, reliable, everyday wines.

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