With election season upon us, it's time to get serious about voting. But forget the race for president just now; I'm picking winners in the world of wine. I've offered up several deserving of high office, hoping you consider them for your drinking pleasure. (Note: These winners were chosen from tastings over the past year. Prices are approximate.)
Best Wine to Impress a First Date
Domaine Serene 2000 Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve ($47).
Whether you serve it before the date, during the date, or as a nightcap, you're assured good results with this positively passionate Pinot. OK, it costs almost as much as the meal, but the impact will last.
Best Wine to Get Your Date Drunk on the Cheap
Cellar #8 2001 Zinfandel North Coast ($11).
Traditionally high in alcohol, Zinfandels get the job done quick. This fruit bomb makes seduction even more fun.
Best Wine to Serve Someone Who's Not Into Wine
Caymus 2002 Conundrum California ($25).
A fruit-forward white blend of several grapes, this smooth talker will satiate the heartiest of beer drinkers.
Best Gift of Wine
Perrier Jouet Grand Brut NV ($30).
People dig French champagne but hate shelling out the exorbitant amounts of cash it takes to buy it. Be a hero/ine and make the purchase for them.
Best Body Shot Wine
Banfi 2002 Rosa Regale ($18).
Watermelon in color and strawberry-sweet on the tongue, this fun dessert sparkling wine is perfect for slurping, whether from glass or navel.
Best Cheap Wine to Drink Every Day: Red
Villa Mount Eden 2000 California Pinot Noir ($10).
The 2001 is equally as impressive. The best Pinot under $15, period.
Best Cheap Wine to Drink Every Day: White
Montes 2002 Chardonnay Reserve Curico Valley Chile ($8).
Cheap enough to buy by the case, and you should. I have two bottles in the fridge right now.
Best Mind-Blowingly Good Wine
Chase 2000 Zinfandel, Hayne Vineyard Napa Valley ($47).
I get chills just thinking about this stuff. Explosively juicy fruit, gorgeous, silky tannins and a whopper of a finish. Unbelievably good.
Best Jacuzzi When it's Cold Out Wine
Vionta Albari-o 2002 Rias Biaxas ($15).
I like chilled whites with my hot, bubbly water. This crisp, lighthearted Spanish wine adds to the ambiance.
Best Wine to Piss Off Your Wine-Snob Friends
Anything from a screw-top bottle.
The fact that really great wine is emerging from something other than a cork-sealed vessel drives snobs crazy. Make a big show out of cracking the metal seal and watch the cognoscenti squirm.
Best Wine to Serve to Your Worst Enemy
Murphy Goode 2001 Snake Eyes Zinfandel Alexander Valley ($22).
This fantastic, if appropriately named, wine will prove to all doubters that your taste is vastly superior to theirs. Rub it in.
Best Morning-After Wine
Pommery Pop Extra Dry Champagne ($50 for pack of four).
Sold in adorable mini champagne bottles, Pommery's French champagne provides the perfect amount of wine for a hangover, or for sharing with two people.