[Image: Bunch of Grapes]
Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1998 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Two inexpensive but excellent whites
All too often when it comes to low-end white wines, "inexpensive" corresponds all too closely with "boring." But this pair, one from Spain and one from France, makes a lovely exception to the usual rule. Rueda, an appellation I hadn't seen before, is very near the increasingly popular Ribera del Duero; the white wines of the region are usually made from Verdejo and perhaps Palomino grapes. Coteaux du Languedoc is best known for its robust reds, which I find consistently pleasing; the white's not as commonplace, but this one deserves attention.

Basa 1996 Rueda ($6.99)
Clear, watery pale color, just a hint of straw. Very pleasant scent, heady floral aromas and spearmint. Bright, full fruit follows the nose, so fruity that it almost seems sweet; but crisp acidity brings it into balance. Nice aperitif. U.S. importer: Cutting Edge Selections, Cincinnati. (April 2, 1998)

Chateau de Lascaux 1995 Coteaux du Languedoc ($8.99)
Clear light gold. Unusual musky-earthy scent, overripe melons and a marked grassiness, odd but not offputting. Crisp and dry flavor, ripe grapey fruit. Plenty of acidity makes it a good choice for the table. U.S. importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif. (April 2. 1998)

FOOD MATCH: Both wines went reasonably well with a potato frittata and fresh asparagus, though the Languedoc was the better match; its grassy flavors enhanced the acidity while its snappy acidity made a fresh, cleansing combination with the eggs.

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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