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What makes a wine suitable for everyday drinking? Ideally, it has both a wallet-friendly price tag that gives you permission to open it on a whim rather than saving it for a special occasion and a chameleon-like character that allows it to pair effortlessly with a wide variety of foods.
These crowd-pleasing wines are ones sommeliers find themselves opening at home again and again. Some might be familiar, while others are a bit more unexpected, but all of them are go-to options worthy of stocking your rack, wine fridge or cellar.
Antinori Guado Al Tasso Vermentino ($24)
This Italian white evokes briny sea air, bright sunshine and cooling ocean breezes. “I take this around to friends’ houses and have a glass after service is over—it’s really nice and refreshing,” says Fred Wright, the beverage director and sommelier at Myles Restaurant Group in Miami, which is overseen by James Beard Award-nominated chef Myles Chefetz. “White flowers and nice crisp lemons abound in the glass. I would put this with any ceviche or fresh fish dish, or with oysters, shrimp or arugula salad.”
Château Le Giron Bordeaux Blanc ($14)
The French wine region is renowned for its highly structured age-worthy red blends that often require years of cellaring to reach their true potential, but this is a more wallet-friendly way to drink Bordeaux. As is typical of the region, this wine is a blend of sémillon, sauvignon blanc and muscadelle. “This is a great white Bordeaux that I’ve been buying for a while,” says Chris Lauber, the food and beverage director at The James Hotel SoHo in New York City. “It has a bright and fruity nose but with beautiful mineral undertones; on the palate, it’s round and fresh with notes of pear and even green apple.”
Domaine De L'ermitage Blanc Menetou Salon ($18)
“People often assume that we always have insane wines at home—that’s not true,” says Lauber. “There are plenty of wines that are absolutely delicious and offer a great value for everyday drinking.” Take this crisp white from France’s Loire Valley, a region with incredibly versatile food-friendly wines that are often passed over in favor of showier bottles from Burgundy and Bordeaux. Sauvignon blanc is the dominant white grape in the region, home to villages including Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé and Menetou-Salon, rarely blended or oaked and retaining vibrant acidity. It’s pale gold in the glass with aromas of lemon and grapefruit as well as mango and passion fruit, “bright and supple but well-balanced with perfect freshness,” says Lauber.
Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir ($28)
Great pinot noir from a top-notch producer in Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley often comes at a much higher price point, which makes this bottle all the more special and worth seeking out, according to Nick Burns, the sommelier at Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina. It’s a blend of grapes from the founder’s 13 vineyard sites in the northern part of the region, and while it goes with everything from roasted chicken to grilled salmon to pizza, it also doesn’t need anything but a glass and a friend. “Ripe red cherries, wild blueberries and sour blackberries give way to cedar, rose petal and a hint of tobacco, while bright acidity and medium tannins on the palate make this an excellent food wine,” he says. “Ken Wright’s entry-level bottling is an excellent expression of Willamette Valley’s world-class terroir. It’s truly a wine I could drink every day.”
Lucchetti Spumante Rosé ($20)
When you can’t decide between pink and effervescent, this bottle from Italy’s Marche region ticks both boxes. Made from the lacrima grape by a husband-and-wife team, it’s a goes-with-everything expression that Erik Segelbaum, the founder of Somlyay hospitality consulting who has also served as the corporate beverage director for Starr Restaurants, touts it as one of his favorite sparkling wines. “It has gorgeous citrus acidity and beautiful berry notes of wild strawberry and raspberry backed by fresh pomegranate,” he says. “It’s gently floral, almost like a whiff of perfume from a beautiful person who just walked past you.” Pair it with everything from salty cheeses and charcuterie to crudo and sushi to roasted, grilled or well-seasoned poultry and meats.
Old Westminster Sparkling Orange Piquette Petillant Naturel ($20)
Out of a Maryland winery run by ambitious siblings experimenting with eclectic varietals and styles comes this pinot gris- and albarino-based pét-nat. “This low-ABV wine is super easy to drink, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in anything,” says Doreen Winkler, a sommelier and the founder of wine club Orange Glou. “Beautiful bubbles and notes of tart raspberry and juicy nectarine skin make it perfect for day-drinking.”
Weingut Schmitt Rosé ($25)
Take a pause from all that Provençal pink stuff and head to Germany, the home of this rosé from the Rheinhessen, the country’s largest wine region, where the white grape varietals of riesling and müller-thurgau dominate. This wine is made with biodynamically grown red grapes, however: dornfelder, blauer portugieser, merlot and pinot noir, grown in a field blend, which means the different varietals are planted, harvested and fermented all together. The producers are a duo of young winemakers whose family experience in the biz dates back more than 200 years. “It’s a darker rosé with a lovely tart aroma of sour cherry, blackcurrant and pomegranate,” says Winkler. “A super uplifting wine.”