As the holidays approach and we entertain more, I look for wines that are not the same-old yet won’t strain the wallet. Here are three, including a quaffable white from Gascony and two high-altitude wines from northern Italy made from less-familiar grape varieties.
La Marina Cuvée Océane 2022
••, Côtes de Gascogne, France, $13
Bright and tart, with flavors of quince and green apple, this is an easy-drinking white for sipping before dinner or with entree salads. Alcohol by volume: 11.5%. Bottle weight: 405 grams (Light).
Imported and distributed locally by Elite Wines.
Putzenhof Bozner Leiten 2019
•••, Südtirol Alto Adige, Italy, $19
What a delightful wine! Bright cherry and cranberry flavors, with hints of anise, lavender and sage; it’s hard to compare this wine to any other, which makes it all the more noteworthy. Perhaps that’s because the grapes – schiava and lagrein – are not very common. This is a great wine for oenogeeks or just curious drinkers who want to explore high-altitude wines made with obscure grape varieties. ABV: 13%. BW: 550 grams (Average).
Imported by DeGrazia Imports. Distributed locally by Salveto.
Villa Corniole Müller Thurgau Valle di Cembra 2020
•••½, Trentino, Italy, $20
Here’s a high-altitude white – racy acidity with flavors of peach and apricot. This wine improves over time, becoming more complex and intriguing on the second day. I suggest decanting it for a few hours before dinner and then challenging your guests to identify the wine – at least, if you don’t mind being “that guy.” A decanter may be easier to pour from than the heavy bottle. ABV: 12.5%. BW: 740 grams (Heavy)
Imported and distributed by Wide Roots.
Prices are approximate. For availability, check Wine.com, Wine-searcher.com and the websites and social media feeds of the wineries, importers, distributors, and your favorite local wine store. You can also ask your local retailer to order wines from the distributors listed. Have wine questions for Dave McIntyre? Send them to Food@washpost.com.