Summer is winding down and fall is approaching fast, which means it’s back to school season for all of us. Wine is a perfect way to take respite from the school year stressors – the parent-teacher conferences, math homework, book reports left to the last minute, weeks of exams – the list goes on. For these not-so-savory moments it’s important to have some very savory wine on hand. Whether you’re bonding with your fellow parents over a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio or you need a bottle of red to help you put together your little one’s diorama, your local wine store has the perfect wine to get you through the 2017-18 school year.
Below are my top ten selections for outstanding budget-friendly wines—all under $30.
2016 La Tordera Prosecco Otreval Rive di Guia, Veneto, Italy ($29.99):
With your afternoons free again you can get to a yoga class at Yoga District on H street, and then invite your fellow parents over for an exquisite glass of Prosecco. This offering from La Tordera expresses the single vineyard area of the “Rive” with its steep and rugged slopes. These outstanding bubbles are complex, rich in structure, and offer perfumed floral aromas. White flowers like honeysuckle and gardenia on the nose with hints of green apple, honeydew melon, and pear on the palate makes this the perfect glass of bubbles.
2014 Slang Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California ($14.99):
Justin Harmon is the winemaker behind Slang Sonoma County Chardonnay. From his brand, Argot Wines, this ripe Chardonnay offers bright lemon, apple, and pear fruit along with toasty brioche and stony minerality. This wine is incredibly well-crafted, especially for this price point as it even sees aging in new French oak. Harmon started out as a home winemaker making small batches in his basement and has grown his business into a vibrant winery producing outstanding products.
2016 Lancyre Rosé, Languedoc, France (19.99):
With the kids off at school, there’s now time to rejoin that book club you’ve been putting off. What is the perfect book club wine? Rosé, of course! Purchased in 1970 by the Durand and Valentin families, the Lancyre Château was originally built in the 1500’s, on the ruins of a 12th century fort. Records of winemaking here date all the way back to 1550! Lancyre is now seen as one of the the top estates of Pic Saint-Loup, which has garnered a reputation as the Languedoc’s single best winegrowing area. This is a full-bodied rosé well suited for Fall weather, offering notes of raspberry, watermelon, and pear aromas along with a distinctive spicy character.
2015 Bichot Saint Veran, Burgundy, France ($16.99):
This white Burgundy offers lively citrus and white peach, characteristics that are expressive of the Saint Veran growing appellation, along with bright notes of lemon zest and green apple.
2015 Apolloni Pinot Noir Capitol Hill Cuvee Willamette Valley, Oregon ($19.99):
This Pinot Noir expresses the spicy and rustic style of the Willamette Valley at only $20. This wine is an incredible value and is bottled exclusively for Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. This stunning Pinot Noir has concentrated aromas of tart cherries, blackberries, and dried herbs. It’s a fabulously rich and textured wine with hints of sweet, spicy oak, fine tannins, and elegance. It drinks well now and will improve in the bottle for over a decade.
2015 Bichot Fleurie La Madone, Beaujolais, France ($19.99):
Beaujolais overlaps Burgundy in the north and Rhône in the south. This fresh wine hails from the Fleurie Cru. Known as the “Queen of Beaujolais,” Fleurie’s wines are considered to be the most “feminine” and soft style of Beaujolais. The nose is floral and fruity with hints of violet, raspberry, and bubblegum. Baking spices like nutmeg and cinnamon make this a wonderful wine in for the Fall season. Serve with a slight chill to really make the aromas pop.
2013 Vicchiomaggio Agostino Petri Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy ($24.99):
Driving your kids back and forth to school and extracurriculars may have you feeling a little like an Uber driver. When your chauffeur role is done for the day treat yourself to this blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. This classic Tuscan features sophisticated notes of spice, earth, coco, and black fruits. Grippy tannins and good weight ensure that this bottle drinks well above its price point.
2013 Martellotto Cabernet Sauvignon Happy Canyon, Santa Barbara, California ($24.99):
Love the full-bodied, fruit forward style of California Cabernet? When it’s time to unwind, grab this little beauty loaded with cassis, blackberry, spicecake, and, licorice.
2011 Lealtanza Reserva Selection de Familia, Rioja, Spain ($29.99):
Did the babysitter just cancel? Salvage your evening at home by opening an elegant, full-bodied red form La Rioja. You’ll love the refined tannins and purity of fruit like dried figs, black cherry, oak and earth on this incredible wine.
2014 Les Cedres Cotes de Bourg, Bordeaux, France ($24.99):
This refined and serious Right Bank Bordeaux is made up of 100% Merlot. It is spicy with black pepper and prominent oak flavors. The toasty character mingled with dark blackberry fruits make this a refined, rich, and dense bottling.
Visit Elyse Genderson at Schneider’s of Capitol Hill to discover wines you love.