Time for another good, cheap, white wine, this one a light, acidic variety hailing from Chile.
Anyone who's shopped at Trader Joe's for more than a few years can probably remember the brouhaha when Chilean wine first appeared on the scene. It was the big cheap wine before Two-Buck Chuck came along. Quality is all over the place with Chilean wine, but this is a good one.
Producer: Santa Ema
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Isla de Maipo (Chile)
Price: $3.99 from San Diego Wine Company
Sauvignon Blanc is an oft-abused grape variety. Y'see, certain winemakers, especially in California, use this grape to produce a sweet, fruity and boring wine that's better paired with smooth jazz than food. However, colder regions-like Washington, New Zealand, South Africa and Chile-produce grapes that barely achieve ripeness, which results in bright and acidic wines perfect for dining.
This Chilean Sauvignon Blanc by Santa Ema is super-pale in color, with a grassy and herbal nose. On the palate, it's thin and refreshing with a slight hint of fruit on the finish; it would be great with fried fish, Italian cold cuts, Greek dishes like gyros and spanikopita and vinaigrette-dressed salads. Santa Ema is reminiscent in many ways of a mid-range New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but at one-third the price.