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Wine suggestions for my frugal father-in-law's visit...

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My FIL is coming to stay with us for a few days, and I'd like to have a few bottles on hand to go with dinner, or just for general purpose drinking. :) Here are the problems I'm facing:

1. The only wine I've seen him drink is Beringer White Zinfandel. Knowing him, this is probably just an old stand-by kind of thing, but it's giving me very little insight into what he might like. I'll probably pick up a bottle, anyway, just so I know we have something he'll like.

2. He's very smart, and very smart with his money, so he'll know (and won't be pleased) if I spend more than $20 a bottle.

3. I'd like to show off my wine knowledge, and perhaps expand his tastes a bit, without looking like a snob.

4. Wine with ties to Connecticut would be a plus, though certainly not necessary.

Thanks in advance for your help. In case you couldn't tell, I'm a little nervous. This will be his first visit to out new condo, and I just want everything to go well.

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  1. Will you be serving the wines with food? If so, what?

    1 Reply
    1. re: carswell

      Probably, and I don't know. We'll probably be doing some grilling, maybe some pasta, maybe a clam boil. He eats pretty healthy, so we'll be staying away from cream, cheese, and red meat. :*(

    2. TJ's, he will be all over it.

      5 Replies
      1. re: duck833

        Huh?

        1. re: theferlyone

          Duck probably means Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck. While the price is astounding, I'm not sure which is worse, the white zin or the TBC.

          1. re: baseballfan

            Why not double up and get Chuck's White Zin ? Think I saw some the other day. Actually, while Chuck isn't a peak experience it isn't bad. At least most of the flavors. The Sauvignon Blanc, while not complex, is nicely crisp. Don't know if the White Zin is as vile as most of its breed.

            1. re: Akitist

              LOL! I didn't know that Chuck even made a white zin. I was put off after trying the chardonnay. Glad to hear the sauvignon blanc is better.

              1. re: baseballfan

                I'm about 85% sure on the white zin. Hadn't seen it before so it may be new. (Ah, yes, Thursday was a great vintage.)

                No comment on the Chard, as i avoid that varietal. As finished by many vintners it's just a little "too everything" for my taste. Which runs to reasonably good, reasonably priced wines, not a peak experience in a glass.

      2. Beringer eh? We used to call that Grin and Bear it.

        Buy a decent rose. It might raise his sights slightly over white zin. You can get them for around $10 almost anywhere.

        Otoh, the reason he likes white zin might be the sugar. Try a Qba - again, you can find them at reasonable prices.

        I'd go easy on item #3.

        1. I *know* there're lots of CT wine producers. I'm most familiar with Chamard (over-priced and over-rated) and Hopkins Vineyards (superb novelty wines). Hopkins has a number of off-dry "barbecue" wines that're simple but delicious. Their "Sachem's Picnic" is what I'd pick to surprise your Beringer lover. Hopkins' wines are very reasonably priced, and most under $20.

          I also like the rose idea offered up by another poster. There are some great roses from the Loire Valley, and from Provence, that are very drinkable and priced at about $15.

          1. Rose is a good idea from a visual standpoint, but many roses are very dry.

            My father-in-law used to love his white zin every evening. A couple of subs that worked with him were a sweeter rose or a sweeter reisling.

            1. A couple that might work are TJ's Now & Zen Wasabi White blend or Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier blend, though the latter might not be easy to find in your area.

              1. Dr. L Riesling, Mumm Napa Blanc de Noirs, Borsao Tres Picos should all work.

                1. How about Lambrusco? Some are well-made these days, low in alcohol, easy to drink & cheap....you can often get a bottle for $10 or so. It's a bit sparkling so it's also kind of festive...a nice way to greet your FIL. Here's a link to a recently-revived post...http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/296155

                  Also, a fruity beaujolais might please him...also often around $10 a bottle.

                  1. theferlyone: "I'd like to show off my wine knowledge, and perhaps expand his tastes a bit, without looking like a snob."

                    Some of the best whites, regardless of price, come from the Galicia (extreme northwest) area of Spain, and the bonus is that they are quite affordable, and will fall well within your budget. The predominant varietal in the region is Albarino, an excellent (and superior) alternative to white zin.

                    How to show that you are not snobbish in choosing among the offerings of Galicia? Here is our quirky criterion: count the number of occurrences of the letter x on the label and get the bottle with the most x's. (Usually, though not invariably, you will end up with a Raix Baixas Albarino, an excellent choice; but sometimes that test introduces one to something more adventurous and almost always rewarding.) If counting x's does not prove that you are not a snob, what could?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Politeness

                      How about a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc? Kim Crawford (~$16), Nobilo ($10) & Oyster Bluff (~$15) are 3 of our favorites.

                      Cheers!

                      1. re: Politeness

                        Politeness, I take care to read your posts as they are usually informative and well thought out. I shall look out for an XXX Albarino. A pity the original poster wanted sweeter whites. Warm weather works well with Pinot Grigio, Orvieto or Verdicchio. A Petit Chablis also fails.

                        1. re: Paulustrious

                          Paulustruious, if our selection criterion causes you to miss out on an excellent Rais Baixas in favor of a Raix Baixas (alternate acceptable spellings of the same region), we apologize in advance.

                          1. re: Politeness

                            It won't. In Ontario the Wine Mafia (=LCBO = Liquor Control Board of Ontario) define which imported wines are available. So from the choice below which would you recommend? (Number three Xcels alphabetically)

                            1. 05 ALBARINO BRANDAL RIAS BAIXAS (ADEGAS ALTAL
                            Spain | Adegas D'Altamira
                            VINTAGES 39875 | 750 mL | $ 19.80

                            2. 05 ALBARINO RIAS BAIXAS (FILLABOA)
                            Spain | Bodegas Fillaboa
                            VINTAGES 40204 | 750 mL | $ 28.75

                            3. 05 ALBARINO RIAS BAIXAS WHITE (BODEGAS LAXAS)
                            Spain | Bodegas As Laxas
                            VINTAGES 21477 | 750 mL | $ 19.80

                            4. 08 AIRES DE AROSA RIAS BAIXAS (AVELINO VEGAS)
                            Spain | Avelino Vegas S.A.
                            VINTAGES 131755 | 750 mL | $ 18.95

                            5. GUNDIAN ALBARIÑO 2005
                            Spain | Adega Valdes
                            VINTAGES 40220 | 750 mL | $ 14.15

                            1. re: Paulustrious

                              Paulustrious, without seeing the fine print on the label (often there are place names like Teixiera or Xunquiera or Punxin that are chock-a-block full of X's), of course our selection criterion would make us go with the Laxas. The Brandal (top of your list) and the '05 vintage of #4 (which LCBO shows only as an '08 vintage) have garnered some praise from people who actually have tasted the wines.