Wine for Tuesday nights

It’s Tuesday night again and you’re having spaghetti because it’s cheap, and you spent too much last Saturday night at that fancy restaurant.

You need a Tuesday night wine. A house wine. You can’t spend $20 on wine every night. That would be $140 a week, a discouraging $1,300 a year.

You do all right, but you’re not made of money.

In fact, even people who are made of money didn’t get that way by spending recklessly. I always cite the example of a friend who had a 20,000-bottle cellar, but had an everyday house wine that cost less than $10.

Anybody can buy a $100 wine that tastes expensive. The trick is to find an inexpensive wine that tastes that way.

One good way is to make friends with your local wine shop owner. Another is to try a new possibility once a week, taking notes, with the idea of choosing a house wine within a couple of months.

Even better, throw a wine party. Invite a group of friends to bring bottles of wine priced $15 and under they think might be good house wines. Taste a dozen wines, blind, and see if you can pick a winner or two. At least one white and one red. Later you can do sparkling wines, dessert wines and others.

Below you’ll see some of my recommendations. It’s homework, I suppose, but very pleasant homework.


▪  2014 White Knight Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Lodi (100 percent sauvignon blanc): light and crisp and lively, with flavors of white grapefruit and minerals; $12.

▪  2013 “Votre Sante” Pinot Noir, California, (100 percent pinot noir): hint of oak, aromas and flavors of red raspberries and licorice, light and lively; $14.

▪  2013 Plungerhead Winery Zinfandel, Lodi (90 percent zinfandel, 7 percent petite sirah, 2 percent petite verdot, 1 percent primitivo): dark purple hue, aromas and flavors of black raspberries, cocoa and spice, full body, long finish; $12.


▪  2013 Wente Vineyards “Louis Mel” Sauvignon Blanc, Livermore Valley (100 percent sauvignon blanc): light yellow hue, aromas and flavors of cut grass and citrus, crisp and lively; $15.

▪  2014 Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserva,” by Concha y Toro, Central Valley, Chile (100 percent cabernet sauvignon): dark purple hue, aromas and flavors of black plums and black coffee, powerful and rich; $12.

▪  2015 Dark Horse “Limited Release” Rosé (40 percent grenache, 20 percent pinot gris, 20 percent tempranillo): floral aromas, flavors of tart strawberries, crisp and dry; $10.

▪  2014 Vitiano Rosso Italian Red Wine, Umbria IGT (34 percent sangiovese, 33 percent cabernet sauvignon, 33 percent merlot): dark ruby hue, aromas and flavors of black cherries and anise, smooth and hearty; $12.

▪  2013 Columbia Winery Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Wash., (92 percent chardonnay, 5 percent pinot gris, 3 percent other white varieties): hint of oak, aromas and flavors of lemons and mangos, hint of spice, smooth and rich; $14.

▪  2014 Leese-Fitch Pinot Noir, (92 percent pinot noir, 3 percent grenache, 2 percent barbera, 3 percent mixed varieties): dark purple hue, aromas of tart cherries, spice and herbs, fruity finish; $12.

▪  2013 Clayhouse Vineyard Malbec, “Red Cedar Vineyard,” Paso Robles. (92 percent malbec, 4 percent tannat, 4 percent petite sirah): inky purple hue, floral aromas, flavors of black raspberries and mocha, robust tannins, hearty and rich; $14.

▪  2013 Bodegas Muriel Rioja Vina Eguia, Spain (100 percent tempranillo): hint of oak, aromas and flavors of cherries; $14.