5 Freaking Delicious Wines (that wine geeks won't make fun of you for drinking)

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Photo by Matt McGee

The Dwyer family recently made it's way from Boston to San Diego for our summer vacation. I love San Diego, I really do. While I was growing up as a kid we'd visit there every year at least once. While we were there, we visited Sea World and I have to say- it was the best thing we've ever done for a vacation with the kids. Such a good time. The 16 oz. Bud Light Lime aluminum bottles we enjoyed before the Shamu Believe show might have had something to do with it, but I thought that show was *amazing*. Highly recommended.

What does this have to do with wine?

Well, while we were there I thought it would be a good time to introduce my siblings (2 sisters, 1 brother) to some wines. When it comes to forcing wine on people who aren't interested (or anything for that matter) I tread lightly. However, I thought it would be a good chance to test out some varieties on people who don't normally drink wine to see what their reactions might be. There were successes and some failures, but here are 5 wines that I think anyone will think are delicious, even people who don't normally drink wine.
  1. 2007 Firestone Riesling
    Riesling is, hands down, *the* variety to go to when you're looking for delicious wine. But the great thing about it is that even wine geeks can get excited when talking about the balance, acidity, residual sugar and (sometimes) petrol that comes with Riesling.
    Germany makes great Riesling, but one of the problems I have with making a recommendation is that it's hard to decode a German Riesling bottle to ascertain if you've properly matched a recommendation. This Firestone is easy to remember, and a delight to drink.
    With my siblings, this one was a hit. A home run. Everyone loved it and it's easy to find at a grocery store. They had it at Ralph's in Pacific Beach, and they had it at Fry's Food and Drug in Chandler, AZ. They also have it at Upper Falls Liquors in Newton, MA.
    Around $10.
    Further reading:
    Thanks to "bjwdad" from Corkd for turning me on to this one
    Read my blog entry on this specific Riesling
    "The Four Stages of Riesling" by Evan Dawson on LennDevours
  2. 2008 Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes
    Torrontes is a variety that I don't have a lot of experience with, but based on this particular bottle it is something I'll look forward to trying more of. Mango and honeydew on the nose along with some floral aromas make this one a delight to drink.
    It wasn't quite as popular with my siblings as the Riesling, but after we returned from vacation my sister dropped me an E-mail to ask for the name of this one.
    I was first introduced to this wine at Hingham Wine Merchant. This wine is readily available at local wine stores and Whole Foods Market (I bought this particular bottle at their La Jolla location).
    Around $12-$15.
    Also available at Wine.com
  3. 2008 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier
    This one has been a favorite of mine for a couple of vintages. What a delight to drink. I've visited Pine Ridge, and I seem to recall them emphasizing their pricier red wines, but for me this one is where the value lies.
    Available at local wine stores and Wine.com.
    Further reading:
    My review on Corkd.com
  4. 2007 Maso Canali Pinot Grigio
    I had this wine for the first time just recently at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on our anniversary. They serve it by the glass, and though I was originally looking for a Pinot Gris (same grape, but I was thinking it would be a heartier white than most Italian Pinot Grigio) this one hit the spot. Delicious. Apricot and white peach. Highly recommended.
    A little pricier. Around $17.
    Available at Blanchards in West Roxbury, MA.
  5. Meridian Chardonnay (any vintage)
    Okay, some wine geeks might make fun of you for drinking this one, but I thought it was utterly guzzle-able for better or for worse. Chardonnay seems to have an inverse price/enjoyment ratio for me at this point. As they get more expensive they get more serious and more quirky- in a bad way. Some of my favorites have been dirt cheap, and this one is no exception. Kind of like lemonade with just a hint of alcohol- a perfect poolside sipper. I'm not saying this is classic Chardonnay- I'm just saying I like it and maybe other people might too.
    Around $7 at Costco.
    Further reading:
    2 Guys Uncorked on the 2006 Meridian Chardonnay
    My review on Corkd.com
What didn't work as a delicious wine with my family? A red wine that I *loved* from San Diego Wine Co. (highly recommended by the way). It was a Trinitas Petite Sirah that I felt was on par with the Mockingbird Hill Petite Sirah that I raved about previously as a Value Alert. They said it smelled like "monkey ass" and "vinegar" and roundly panned this wine. Too tannic and acidic I think. Maybe I should have gone for a lighter red blend or a Zinfandel.

Question of the Day: What one wine would you say is delicious that non-wine drinkers would love? I'd really like to hear from you.

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