If there’s one thing we appreciate, it’s a great bottle of wine found at a great value. As we gear up for the 2018 Charleston Wine + Food Festival, our wine buyer Mike van Beyrer shares some of his favorite finds under $40. These food-friendly varietals will complement your dinner table without breaking the bank.
- Niner Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, California (2014)
This is one of Niner’s darkest Estate Cabernet Sauvignons ever. On the nose this wine has depth with black currant, tobacco and dried herbs. On the palate black cherry, dark chocolate and dried sage are balanced with ample tannin and a long, lingering finish. This is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon with its harmonious blend of full-bodied fruit, luscious tannins and well-integrated acidity, and it shows how well these two Paso Robles vineyards work in a blend. (90 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate)
- Fess Parker Chardonnay, Santa Barbara, California (2016)
This 100% Chardonnay offers flavors of ripe apple, butter, lemon, and melon that are perfectly balanced with light toasty oak on the palate. Tropical notes finish with a lovely spiciness. (89 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate)
- Opolo Petite Sirah, Paso Robles, California (2014)
Much like Zinfandel, Petite Sirah is a varietal that is truly associated with California. Traditionally used for blending due to its inky color and abundance of tannin, Petite Sirah is often overlooked as a single varietal. This wine boasts a beautiful fruity nose of blackberries, prunes, figs and black currants with some chocolate and spice notes. Decant for an hour and drink now, or lay down for 2-4 years.
- Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon (2016)
Founded in 2003 with 350 acres of land and 130 acres of vineyards, Left Coast Cellars uses sustainable viticulture to produce estate-grown wine. By eliminating skin contact, the vineyard produces this White Pinot Noir with a natural, light copper color. Aromas of peaches, pear apple sauce, lime peel and dried oregano characterize this medium to full-bodied wine. A slight touch of sweetness is balanced out by perky acidity, and it finishes with tart, juicy citrus notes.
- Hallberg Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, California (2014 Emeritus)
Hallberg Ranch, formerly an apple orchard, is a vineyard with entirely dry farmed Pinot Noir grapes, which offers a balance between lush fruit and an earthy darkness given sandy loam, clay soils and cooler temperatures. Aged just ten months, this Pinot Noir offers rich black cherry, cranberry, blueberry and pomegranate notes. On the back palate, you’ll find sweet cedar, cola, a hint of basil and a subtle earthiness. The evident acidity, in line with typical Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs, make this bottle well-suited to food.
Stop by the Bottles Wine Retail Shop in Marion Square during the festival to find Mike’s top wines under $40, attend tastings with our featured winemakers, and shop our wide selection of bottles. Don’t forget that any wines you enjoy at Charleston Wine + Food signature dinners or offsite events can also be purchased in our tent. Cheers!