Wine shopping can be a lot like fishing. Very often patience pays off.
Back in April the Wine for the Rest of Us tasting panel participated in a broad tasting of white wines from Chile. The Wines of Chile Blogger Tasting featuring eight Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines from Chile’s coastal regions didn’t make it into this column for two main reasons. For starters, the collection of eight reasonably similar wines tasted in relatively rapid succession exhausted our palates, blurring the distinctions after about the fourth or fifth wine. And most importantly, the consensus favorite among the eight – Cono Sur “Vision” Sauvignon Blanc – was hard to find locally and at about $15 a bottle, just outside the sweet spot of our budget wine price range.
Not that $15 is a fortune. But Chile is such a prolific source of terrific and inexpensive sauvignon blanc that can be easily found for between $8 and $10 a bottle (see “Look to Chile for your house white wine”) that the price seemed a bit extravagant. It was a shame, since the Wines of Chile tasting underscored what a pleasant middle ground Chilean sauvignon blanc stakes out between the bracing intensity of New Zealand whites and the subtle minerality of sauvignon blanc from the grape’s native France.
So this week we were delighted to discover that our favorite from the tasting has found its way into a couple of DC wine shops (conveniently close to the Maryland line for you Montgomery County residents). And more importantly, it’s on sale for $10 to $11 a bottle, putting it back in play for everyday drinking.
If you live or work in the upper NW, convenient to Connecticut Ave., Magruder’s has Cono Sur Vision Sauvignon Blanc (as well as the Pinot Noir featured on our Top 5 Value Pinot Noirs list) on sale for $10.99, a great bargain for a spectacular wine.
“Pungent aromas of grapefruit, mint and white flowers,” is how Josh Raynolds, at Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, described the wine in May, scoring it 88 points. “Sweet, spicy and focused, with bright citrus fruit flavors and a hint of dusty herbs. Tactile, precise sauvignon, finishing with flavors of grapefruit pith and bitter herbs.”
The wine’s acidity makes it a good wine to pair with food, as well as a refreshing summer sipper.
“A fine 2011 sauvignon, this is fresh and light with subtle varietal scents of herbs and citrus,” according to Wine & Spirits magazine, which scored the 2011 vintage 92 points. “The wine’s acidity pricks the tongue with a gentle tickle. An aperitif white to serve with sautéed prawns.”
If the Wisconsin Ave. corridor heading toward Friendship Heights is more convenient, or you just want to save a buck, Rodman’s Discount Gourmet has both the Cono Sur Vision wines on sale for $9.99 a bottle. (About the best price in the country, according to wine-searcher.com.)
If $10 a bottle is still too steep for you, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits has the best price in the country on our go-to Chilean, $7.69 a bottle for Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc Rapel Valley (as well as the Lapostolle that made our Top 5 Value Chardonnays).
These are wines that have rewarded our patience well. Just don’t feel you have to be patient once you’ve picked up a bottle or two. These are for drinking while it’s still summer.
If you tweet, FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER. And please re-tweet this column if you like it.
And PLEASE SUBSCRIBE SPAM-FREE TO THIS PAGE by clicking the Subscribe button above and entering an email address to receive alerts when we post a new column. Your email address will always remain secure and confidential.
Email the DC Budget Wine Examiner at firstname.lastname@example.org.