Stocking up on fall selections from the vine

By Les Kinciad

Why Buy a Mixed Case of Wine? Having a mixed case in your house is like having a little nest egg for a rainy day. When you buy your mixed case, visit a retail wine outlet that you trust, or one that’s been recommended to you by friends. Such a store will have an educated staff to suggest specific wines fitting both your budget and the general categories outlined below.

Two Bottles of Riesling
Perfect with any kind of Asian takeout, riesling is one of the world’s most misunderstood and under-appreciated grapes. Rieslings tend to be lower in alcohol, are wonderfully aromatic and can range in style from dry to slightly sweet. Excellent rieslings from the United States and Germany range between $10 and $20. I’d head for the dry or off-dry bottles with their crisp apple and citrus flavors.

Two Bottles of Unoaked Chardonnay
A roasted chicken from the supermarket is great for a quick dinner. The ideal pairing for such a meal is unoaked chardonnay. Chardonnay’s buttered apple flavors bring out the best in the bird. Now that many winemakers are no longer using toasted oak barrels in favor of stainless steel aging, chardonnays are less expensive and more food friendly. Expect to pay around $15 to $20 for a good bottle.

Two Bottles of Sparkling Wine
It’s versatile, affordable and can turn a tuna sandwich into a festive event. Ask your wine outlet to select a Spanish and an Italian sparkling wine for you. Use one bottle as an excuse to invite friends to weekend brunch and keep the other one for a celebratory night. Try the very most popular bubbly from Barefoot to cover the bases. Neither should cost more than $15, plus there are some very good Spanish and Barefoot sparklers for under $10.

Three Bottles of Sicilian Red Wine
Sicily is the best place to find Italian red wine bargains. Wines from this region are juicy, flavorful, and the ideal mate for pizza, pasta and burgers. The most common Sicilian reds include Nero d’Avola and Nerello Mascalese, two zesty grapes that produce full-flavored, fruit-forward wines with nuances of leather and flowers. Expect to pay as little as $8 and as much as $20 for a bottle, depending on the reputation of the producer. I have never spent more than $15 for a Sicilian red—and I’ve never been disappointed.

Three Bottles of Beaujolais
I’m not talking about the Nouveau released in November. I’m talking about real Beaujolais wine, made from the world’s most popular gamay grape and sold with some age to them. It has the same silky texture, fresh cherry-berry flavors and earth aromas as pinot noir. But at around $8 to $15 a bottle, it’s much more affordable. Often served slightly chilled, they’re perfect with grilled foods, stews and cheese dishes, which make them the ideal red transition wine as we move into fall.

And You Have 12 Bottles
Even if you purchase wines at the higher end of the price spectrum that I’ve recommended, your mixed case of 12 bottles will cost you around $215 plus tax. The cash you spend now will save you from a lot of aggravation and last-minute running around later when friends drop by for dinner or you’re late getting home from work and want to add wine to the meal.