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Easy wines for hard-times entertaining


     I swear I’m no wine snob, but one of my pet peeves is to go to a party or an art show opening where they’re serving wine and cheese and see them pouring wine out of gallon jugs with ears on them.

     I mean, have you ever had wine from a gallon jug that was even adequate?

     Life is too short.

     You’re telling your guest you care little enough to give the very least.

     Even box wines are getting a better reputation than gallon jugs.

     On the other hand, there are some very nice, quite inexpensive wines being sold these days in magnums – bottles that are twice the size of regular wine bottles, holding 1.5 liters of wine instead of 750 mililiters.

     These cost about $7 to $15, and they’re how you can save entertainment money without shortchanging your guests. They come from all over  -- chardonnays from California, pinot grigio from Italy shiraz from Australia.

     I did a wine column on these in September, and I found some good ones. I’ll repeat some of the tasting notes here.

· 2006 Beringer Founders Estate Chardonnay, California: rich, crisp and fruity, with ripe pineapple flavors; $12.99.
· 2007 Yellow Tail Shiraz, Australia: soft and ripe with red raspberry flavors; $12.99.
· 2007 Frontera Merlot by Concha y Toro, Chile: soft and sweet with 2006 Placido Pinot Grigio, Italy: crisp apricot flavors; lively; $15.29.
· 2007 Woodbridge Chardonnay by Robert Mondavi, California: lean, lemony and crisp; $13.99.
· 2007 Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc by Robert Mondavi, California: crisp and light; lemon and limes; $13.39.
· Nonvintage Corbet Canyon Sauvignon Blanc, California: soft and lightly sweet, with apricot and peach flavors; $9.99.
· 2007 Vendange Sauvignon Blanc, California: sweet lemons and pineapples; full-bodied; $9.25.
· 2007 Woodbridge Zinfandel, California: rich and ripe, with red raspberry and chocolate flavors; $13.39.Fetzercab_2
· 2005 Vendange Cabernet Sauvignon, California: soft and ripe, black cherry and coffee flavors; $8.49.
· 2005 Lindemans Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia: soft, lightly sweet; red raspberry and cherry flavors; $12.99.
· 2005 Turning Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon, California: black cherry and black coffee flavors, ripe tannins; $12.99.
· 2005 Fetzer Vineyards Valley Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, California: firm tannins, black plum flavors; $12.49.
· 2007 Bolla Pinot Grigio delle Venezie, Italy: peach and apricot flavors; $14.99
· Nonvintage Rene Junot Dry White Table Wine (50 percent chenin blanc, 30 percent sauvignon blanc, 20 percent chardonnay), France: light, slightly sweet; lemons and minerals; $7.99.
· 2007 Woodbridge Chardonnay by Robert Mondavi, California: lean, lemony and crisp; $13.99.


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