January 6, 2015
Chateau Ste. Michelle's Columbia Valley riesling is a great compromise
between sweet and dry.

Top Value Wines   

By Wini Moranville


A great thing has happened over the 30-plus years I've been drinking wine: Inexpensive to moderately priced wines have become infinitely better. Not just drinkable, but thoroughly enjoyable.


Recently, I decided to compile a list of my top 10 all-time-favorite value wines in the $15-and-under category. It was fascinating to see where these wines came from. Interestingly enough--considering I'm an inveterate Francophile--not one of them hails from France. It's not that France doesn't send good, moderately priced bottles our way; the issue is chasing them down. I narrowed my list to wines that are widely available.


So, who's sending good values our way? Out of 10 top picks, two hailed from Italy and three from Washington state. Italy in particular has done wonderful work with food-friendly reds. Forget the sour and austere Chiantis we suffered through once upon a time. Winemakers are crafting wines that offer food-friendly brightness with an approachably fruity appeal. Try Centine Rosso (Toscana; $11) to see what I mean.


Washington state also crafts stellar reds, but what I go back to again and again are the rieslings. At $10, Chateau Ste. Michelle's Columbia Valley riesling pulls off what few inexpensive rieslings can do: It strikes that midpoint between sweet and dry, where lusciousness and vibrancy meet to create unmistakable elegance.


Check out all the top 10 value wines on my blog here



Within Winter's Calm, Honor the Tribe

Within the cusp of winter, snow blanketing our neighborhoods, quiet consideration of the past year encourages both gratitude and humility...

Read More »

Last year's cover of the BOL was a pencil drawing by Des Moines artist  Larassa Kabel. 

Book of Lists Unveiling Party

Not ready for a long workweek after the holidays? Break the week up with yet another party!

Join us for the unveiling of the Business Record's 2015 Book Lists on Jan. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. (comments and unveiling at 6 p.m.) at Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center at Veterans Memorial (833 Fifth Ave.). 

"The Book of Lists unveiling event is unique from other business events due to the high level of anticipation to see who is revealed as the most influential business leader and board of directors," says Ashley Holter, Business Record sales manager. "With the dramatic reveal of the unique cover, it all makes for an exciting networking event to roll out the new year."

In other Business Record news, the deadline to nominate a young professional for the newspaper's 16th annual Forty Under 40 awards is this Friday, Jan. 9. Find the nomination form here.

fyi: Mark Your Calendar  

  • Variety--The Children's Charity will hold its 28th annual Black Tie Dinner on Jan. 11 at 5:30 p.m. at Hy-Vee Conference Center (5821 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines). The event will include cocktails, dinner, door prizes, networking, entertainment by Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos and special guest speaker Coach Kirk Ferentz of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Tickets cost $300 each; $150 for Young Variety members; and $3,000 for a table of 10. Purchase tickets here.
  • Enjoy wines from around the globe paired with artisan cheeses and chocolates at INDULGE: A Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Affair Jan. 17 at West End Architectural Salvage (22 Ninth St.). Guests can expect full pours and ample portions of cheeses from The Cheese Shop of Des Moines and Hy-Vee Food Stores and chocolates from Chocolaterie Stam. Each guest will receive a commemorative wine glass. All four floors of West End will be open for shopping, but attendance is limited. Tickets are $30 and can be bought here.
  • The phrase "dinner and a movie" will never be the same again after an evening spent at Flix Brewhouse Des Moines. The new cinema-eatery-microbrewery in Merle Hay Mall (3800 Merle Hay Road, Suite 1300) runs blockbuster movies (including 3-D) while serving dinner and craft beer brewed in-house. Once you've been seated, a server will greet you and take your order. To call the server for service later, simply press the button and your server will quietly take your order, even during the show. Depending on showtimes, ticket prices for kids are $6.75 to $7.25; tickets for adults cost $6.75 to $9.75, and can be bought online.  

P.S.: The Official Color
of 2015 Is ... Marsala  

The experts at Pantone have spoken, and 2015's color of the year is ... Marsala.

For those vaguely familiar with the term, Marsala refers to the hue of a deep and earthy red-brown wine. Pantone describes the color like this: "Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness."

Expect to see the seductive color everywhere, from the runway to home décor to makeup. We're also thinking an accent wall painted in this color or some new accent   pillows could punch up the drama in a room. And our wardrobe could use the sophisticated warmth this color has to offer, too!

The beauty industry has already responded to the new trend by offering products in the color. Sephora in Jordan Creek Town Center has already sold out of most of the limited-edition products. You can still purchase the layering lip collection ($28), lip liner ($18) and cheek highlighter ($20). For all other products, you can try your luck at   

Belle Du Chene is senior editor of dsm magazine.

Wini Moranville, author of "The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day," is a food, wine and travel writer who covers the dining scene for dsm magazine. Follow her at All Things Food DSM - Wini Moranville and catch her food segment on Fridays at 6:40 a.m. on KCWI-23's "Great Day" morning show.
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