So many choices, so lit­tle wine time

UN­CORKED

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - LORRI HAMBUCHEN

“If I had all the money I’d spent on drink, I’d spend it on drink.” The sen­ti­ment from Vi­vian Stan­shall’s great­est cre­ation, Sir Henry at Rawl­in­son End, is a quote with which those of us who en­joy wine will con­cur. But pos­si­bly, un­like Sir Henry we’d be sure we were buy­ing the best to op­ti­mize our en­joy­ment.

Never have con­sumers been more con­sumed with op­tions in the wine world, not to men­tion the ever-ex­pand­ing beer and spir­its in­dus­tries. This may be the most prob­lem­atic time of buy­ing for most of us, sim­ply be­cause it is so easy to be­come over­whelmed by choices.

It’s no sur­prise many of us are buy­ing the same wines week in and week out. We are drawn to fa­mil­iar­ity and con­sis­tency. When faced with too many choices, it’s easy to fall back on what we’re com­fort­able with, but at the same time, no­body likes a rut. At the end of the day, when you pull the cork on a bot­tle of wine and take a sip, you are do­ing so be­cause you want to en­joy the wine.

The good news is it’s easy to find great wines. The chal­leng­ing ex­plo­ration is for the val­ues. There are thou­sands of in­ex­pen­sive wines lin­ing the re­tail shelves and I know the term “value” can be con­fus­ing. Does it im­ply a spe­cific price range? Or does it re­fer to the qual­ity of the prod­uct in com­par­i­son to the cost?

The short an­swer is both. By stay­ing with re­gions known for grow­ing de­pend­able grapes in all price ranges and buy­ing wine by the case or on wine day I in­crease the value.

These are a few of my goto wine val­ues:

2015 Bell Win­ery Red Blend, California (about $16 re­tail)

2015 Sean Mi­nor Four Bears Pinot Noir, California (about $15 re­tail)

2016 Picpoul De Pinet, France (about $12 re­tail)

2016 Presqu’le Vine­yards Pinot Noir Rose, California (about $20 re­tail)

2016 Oys­ter Bay Sau­vi­gnon Blanc, New Zealand (about $13 re­tail)

2015 Cline Cel­lars Zin­fan­del, California (about $10 re­tail)

2015 Irony Pinot Noir, California (about $14 re­tail)

2016 Hugel Gewurz­traminer “Hugel,” France (about $20 re­tail)

2015 337 Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, California (about $12 re­tail)

2016 Paul Jaboulet Aine Par­al­lele 45 Cotes du Rhone, France (about $16 re­tail)

NV Do­maine Ste. Michelle Blanc de Blanc, Wash­ing­ton (about $15 re­tail)

2016 Honig Sau­vi­gnon Blanc, California (about $17 re­tail)

2017 Black Box Pinot Gri­gio, California (about $20 re­tail) Lorri Hambuchen is a mem­ber of Lon­don’s In­sti­tute of Wines and Spir­its. Con­tact her at the Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Lit­tle Rock, Ark. 72203, or email:

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