This week’s recommendations include two affordable California pinot noirs, an excellent Gruner Veltliner from Austria, a cheap and tasty white wine from the south of France and a bargain bubbly that can help turn any day into a celebration.
Lompoc Wine Co. Pinot Noir 2014
Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Calif., $24
Sommelier Raj Paar and winemaker Sashi Moorman are trying to shift our paradigm of wine away from power toward a sleeker, more elegant, lower-alcohol ideal. This pinot doesn’t leap out of the glass and grab you by the throat; it quietly draws you in with its savvy, savory nature. It is not widely available and can be found primarily in restaurants. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Rainer Wess Gruner Veltliner 2015
Two and a half stars.
This is another great example of the fine 2015 vintage in Austria, offering textbook grüner flavors of white flowers and lemon grass, with a hint of peppery spice. Refreshing and food-friendly. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Angeline Pinot Noir Reserve 2014
This blend of pinot noir from Mendocino, Sonoma and Monterey counties falls on the darker side of pinot, with dark-fruit flavors of blackberry and cherry and a hint of mocha on the finish. ABV: 13.9 percent.
Belle Jardin Blanc de Blancs Brut
What a delightful sparkling wine, delicious and cheap! This bargain bubbly should be an easy choice for large parties, weddings or weekday celebrations. Stock up. ABV: 11.5 percent.
Domaine des Cadastres Picpoul de Pinet 2015
Languedoc, France, $9
Picpoul typically gives a crisp, refreshing and simple white wine. This example, from the opulently ripe 2015 vintage, offers more effusive fruit flavors of peach and apricot, still balanced by that fresh acidity. ABV: 12 percent.
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Three stars Exceptional, two stars Excellent, one star Very Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.