Aug 242008

Most of us enjoy expensive wines for special occasions, but most of us have mortgages as well. My wife Gabriele and I are always on the look out for wines that deliver value as well as enjoyment. This weekend we found two such wines.

Saturday we had dinner at Rustico, one of the restaurants of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group. We like all of their places, but hadn’t eaten at Rustico before. Gabe had scallops over grits and I had pork shoulder over fettuccine, both very good. Rustico has a much bigger focus on beer than its sister restaurants but we wanted wine, something light and easy drinking.

We enjoyed the Bulletin Place 2006 Shiraz from Australia. It was very aromatic and fruit forward, light without being too thin. It retails for only around $10, although of course we paid a good bit more at the restaurant. Recommend when you need to match with a variety of food and palates of friends.

Shopping at Total Wine we came across another value winner. Looking for a decent Pinot Noir, we picked up a bottle of Domaine Alfred 2005 “DA Red.” From Edna Valley in CA, it’s mostly Pinot with some Grenache and Syrah blended in. It was extremely fragrant, with very strong fruit without being simplistic. It was bolder than many American style Pinots, medium bodied with a quick tart finish. An excellent value at $16 and the equal of wines costing a lot more.

Another great value wine also came through recently with strong customer service. I’ve written previously about Bridgeview Blue Moon Pinot Noir, which Gabe and I first had at Bonefish restaurant. We had the 2006, which was excellent and a very fair markup at $34 with retail at $20. Recently we had the 2007, which isn’t quite as good. When I tried to order more of the 2006 off their web site, it wasn’t available.

So I emailed them, and within a few hours heard back from their Marketing Director Tim Woodhead. He was calling local stores in this area, seeing if he could find me some 2006. He hasn’t yet, but that’s great customer service. Thanks Tim, and I hope you find some for me!

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