We tapped Nectar’s certified specialist, Scott Zoccolillo, for his picks.
In the mood for bubbles? Valentine’s Day screams champagne, particularly a rosé. It’s pink; it’s bubbly. Cupid would be proud. Try Roederer Estate’s
Brut Rosé, Anderson Valley, Calif., $27.99.
A real crowd-pleaser: Love it or hate it, chardonnay is still America’s favorite white wine. It’s versatile: light or heavy, oaked or unoaked, fruity or earthy. Reach for Bethel Heights Vineyard’s Chardonnay Estate Grown, Willamette Valley, Ore., $25.99.
A spunky white with a backbone: Juicy and bold, sauvignon blanc is nothing like a chard. Try Pascal Jolivet’s Sancerre Blanc, Loire, France, $24.99.
A perfect pick for warmer months: Spring is on the horizon, so crisp and floral aromatic wines are back on the wine lists. Try Winzer Krems’ Grüner
Veltliner, Austria, $12.99.
An affordable white: Pinot blanc is an approachable wine that consistently offers great quality at a great price. Try Elk Cove Vineyards’ Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley, Ore., $18.99.
A table-ready budget red: Before you reach for that big Napa cab, consider how it needs a decade or more to peak. When you don’t have that, or an hour of decanting time, try a fruit-forward cabernet or blend that’s ready for the table. Pick up Warwick Estate’s The First Lady Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch, South Africa, $13.99.
Go bold: Ignore the movie that panned merlot as a trusty varietal. Go bold with Charles Smith Wines’ Velvet Devil, Washington State, $12.99.
A special-occasion treat: Malbecs and zinfandels bring the fruit up front with similar flavor profiles. They also offer subtle hints of smoke or leather. Pick up Robert Biale Vineyards’ Black Chicken Zinfandel, Napa Valley, Calif., $44.99.
Recruit white lovers to the red side: Don’t like red wine? You’ll change your mind after sipping a good pinot noir, which is completely influenced by its terroir. It can be light or medium bodied, complex or simple, earthy or fruity. Splurge on Duckhorn Vineyards’ Migration, Russian River Valley, California, $32.99.
Just desserts: Here’s a tip: The wine should be sweeter than the dessert. Sample a Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny, Oporto, Portugal, $45.99.