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Wine of the week: Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2014

forrester petit chenin blancIn a perfect wine world, the Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc would be on store shelves everywhere, and I wouldn’t have to write this kind of post. Until then, know that this is the kind of wine that I wish more producers made and that my colleagues in the Winestream Media allowed more people to enjoy.

Because the Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc ($11, purchased, 13.5%), from South Africa, is the sort of fresh, crisp, and cheap white wine made with a grape that gets very little respect and that the world needs more of. It’s bright and juicy (peaches?), with a touch of citrus and an almost zesty finish that’s devoid of the bitter, pitty flavors some chenin blanc has. And it’s not sweet, either, with only about as much residual sugar as a typical chardonnay.

Chill this and drink on its own; it’s the kind of wine to keep around the house when you feel like a glass. Or pair it with almost any holiday meal that isn’t red meat, and especially a Christmas turkey or something to make all those leftovers that much more enjoyable.

My tasting notes say “thoroughly delightful,” which goes nicely with the note from the producer (and which are rarely worth quoting): “Should last half an hour with the cap off and reach for the next bottle!”

Christmas wine 2015

Christmas wine 2015

Christmas wine 2015Suggestions for Christmas wine 2015, whether you need to buy a gift or need ideas about what to serve family and friends. As always, keep our wine gift giving tips in mind:

Ponzi Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2013 ($40, sample, 13.2%): Pricey but elegant, this is an example of what Oregon pinot noir can deliver. Look for cherry and raspberry fruit and wonderfully soft tannins that remind you that this is red wine, but still pinot noir. It’s a terrific gift for someone who loves pinot, and would go equally as well with roast lamb.

Scaia Rosato 2014 ($10, purchased, 12.5%): I bought a case of this Italian rose, and was lucky to get it. When I went back to the store, it was almost gone. It’s a gorgeous, Provencal-style rose with a touch more fruit (raspberry?) as well as the aroma of wildflowers and a wonderful freshness. Drink on its own, or as a gift for someone who isn’t sure they like wine. Highly recommended.

La Fiera Pinot Grigio 2014 ($10, purchased, 12%): This Italian white doesn’t have as much fruit as I like, but it’s an excellent example of the tonic water style that is usually done so badly. It’s clean, simple, and refreshing; sip on its own, or with holiday turkey.

Vibracions Cava NV ($9, purchased, 11.5%): This Spanish sparkler has green apple and lemon fruit, very tight bubbles, and cava freshness. It’s not rich or full, but it’s not supposed to be. Drink this with any holiday brunch or as an aperitif, if you’re feeling fancy.

Vina Fuerte 2011 ($5, purchased, 13%): The good news is that this Spanish tempranillo delivers twice as much value as it costs, with cherry fruit, a bit of orange peel, and some heft. The bad news is that it’s sold mostly at Aldi, and my Aldi can’t keep it in stock. Drink with any red meat dinner or even roast chicken.

More about Christmas wine:
Christmas wine 2014
Christmas wine 2013
Christmas wine 2012
Expensive wine 75: John Duval Plexus
Expensive wine 73: Pierre-Marie Chermette Fleurie Poncie 2013