Seattle Met wine critic Conde Cox, who usually turns quite curmudgeonly when I start talking cheap wines, first turned me on to these two value bottles from Prosser-based Snoqualmie Vineyards.
The Whistle Stop Red ($11), a cabernet-merlot blend, is what you might call (if you were me) a potluck wine: it’s fruity and direct and it tastes great with any casual dinner, even if that casual dinner is a random smorgasbord plucked from a potluck buffet. (Enchiladas and spaghetti Bolognese on the same plate? No problem.) It will also prove its pairing prowess with most anything you might cook up at home on a random Tuesday.
The Naked Riesling ($12), like all the Snoqualmie wines in the Naked line, is grown from organic grapes and also produced organically. It’s an off-dry, unoaked riesling that’s light enough for people to want to describe it as a perfect summer wine, but I like it on winter weeknights too—especially to sip while prepping veggies or sorting through the day’s mail. I’m always issuing mom-like warnings about pacing yourself, I know, but this one goes down really easy, and people tend to take it for granted that Rieslings are low in alcohol—hovering in the 7-8 percent range. Some are, but not Naked. It’s 12.3 percent.
For more value wine picks, see Seattle Met’s 100 Best Wines of the Northwest.