Feb 22, 2010 09:20PM ● Published by Erin Frisch
A white that usually has these characteristics is the Torrontes from Argentina. One I particularly like, which sells for about $10, is the 2009 Tiasta. It’s light in texture but aromatic and lively and has moderate alcohol.
A red should offer similar qualities. A good choice would be a southern Rhone blend containing a high percentage of Grenache, such as the 2007 Terre des Papes Cotes du Rhone, also about $10. With the classic combination of peppery spice and ripe fruit, it will stand up to the dishes without overpowering them.
If your budget allows for more of a splurge, many whites from Austria have very appealing fruit followed by a dry finish. I particularly like the Kamptal bottling from Steininger, which sells for $15 to $20. If you’d like to try something really special, Tegenseerhof offers a great range of both Gruner and dry but intense Riesling from the Wachau.
In selecting a “nicer” red to complement these dishes, avoid the temptation to have something too rich or heavy, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon. Following the idea of a Southern Rhone blend, wines from Gigondas tend to be made mostly from Grenache, but usually from older vines and better sites than the less-expensive wines. The 2007 vintage has received great acclaim, but a favorite of mine is the 2004 Cuvee Tradition from Domaine du Gour de Chaule, which sells for just over $30.