Wine drinkers tend to fall into three different categories: the oenophiles who pen pages per every sniff and swirl, the good ole’ faithful who guzzle grape tried and trues like safe chardonnay and mellow merlot, and the would be brown baggers who stick to the house wine or “whatever he’s having.” If the last one sounds all too familiar, it’s time to skip that two-buck chuck and give your palette something outside of the (wine) box. We at CouponPal have teamed up with Zagat Wine to feature five must-try bottles for the new wino so get ready to expand your grape expectations. Try out the top shelf life for a fraction of the price when you use a Zagat Wine promo on one (or all) of our picks.
5. Tangent Block Selection Albarino 2011
Hailing from the cool coastal climate of Edna Valley also well known for famously fresh seafood – comes the aptly named Tangent Wine. Made from Albarino, the world’s tiniest grape variety behind some of Spain’s most exciting wines by star winemaker Christian Roguenaut, this white is anything but typical boasting both citrus and salty sea air aromas along with pleasing mineral notes. The crisp, clean finish makes it a natural palate cleanser perfect for paring with the catch of the day that will have you speaking in tongues.
4. Chateau Chantalouette Pomerol 2009
Château Chantalouette is the extra special project of Christian Moueix, the man responsible for Château Pétrus – the most famous of the Pomerol family. This vintage value priced offering carries a delicious price tag of $39 that lets you sample from the finer vine for less without sacrificing any of the Grand Vin quality and know-it-all that Moueix is known for. Chocked full of the black fruitiness and plum flavor prized by Pomerol devotees, this decadent rarity can best be sipped solo or with starters and cold meats.
3. Monsparone Barolo Riserva 2004
One of Italy’s most celebrated cellar worthy reds, the Monsparone Barolo or “King of Wines,” is a must add to the collection of any connoisseur-in-training. This expertly barrel-aged Riserva was specially crafted by Alba local, Bruno Cordero, who heads the throne of the famed Terre da Vino winery. Complex aromas combined with flavors of tar, vanilla, violet, and the most subtle hint of truffle make for a remarkably complex glass that provides a long, lingering, and memorable finish which crown this an opulent obvious top three pick.
2. Ascencion Malbec 2010
This Malbec packs serious attitude and altitude. It hails from Argentina’s oldest winery, which also makes some of the highest ranked reds from Wine Spectator’s recent Top 100 Lists. These handpicked premium grapes are grown in intense sunlit vineyards situated at over 3,000 feet and fermented in the finest French oak barrels at low temperatures for 9 months – translating to deep color and super rich flavor in the glass. The distinctive notes of juicy fruit, smoke, spice, and subtle vanilla make this Malbec a match made in culinary heaven for any steak or meaty meal.
1. Sparkling Pointe Brut Seduction 2001
Our number one picks goes to the highly acclaimed domestic double gold which scored 94 Points along with Best in Class honors at top San Francisco shows. Definitely one wine worth waiting for, this Brut is expertly aged over eight years using a unique fizz method created by Tom and Cynthia Rosicki on their luxurious Long Island estate. Its earthy aromas are grounded with almond, brioche, dried apple, ginger, and toast notes that provide a more mature and refined finish than the traditional sparkling that calls for foods of similar sophistication like butter cream sauce, foie gras, and lobster. We’re confident that our frontrunner will take you from new wino to speaking, serving, and sipping like a lifelong sommelier in no time, no matter your bottle budget. Combine one of our Zagat Wine deals with the unbeatable under $50 price tag and showoff your newly acquired silver spoon (or cork) status whether you have a black or prepaid card. Cheers!