For this installment of my picks at Surdyk’s (see last week) we go to France. France, my love! Land of great cheese, and the best affordable whites in the world. Like what? Like these!
Domaine Uby Colombard-Ugni Blanc Côtes de Gascogne, 2011, $10.99
Ever get back from a European vacation and wonder why the cheap wine here isn’t as good as the cheap wine over there? Could be because we’re not drinking what they do, the everyday informal country wines. This Uby is a terrific version of that European everyday white: It’s unpretentious, gulpable, yummy. Shockingly, it smells like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in the glass, just bursting with jasmine and lemon scents, but then got a deeper, richer core, all zing and pure Meyer lemon, and it pairs beautifully with summery suppers, such as Greek salads, grilled corn, and tomato salads.
Saint Hilaire Blanc de Blancs Blanquette de Limoux, 2010, $14.99
Penny-pinchers often end up with St. Hilaire’s Blanquette de Limoux because it gives a lot of the joy of real Champagne at a fraction of the price—it’s a little mushroom-y, finely bubbled, nicely balanced, and prettily apple-scented. But wine historians know that this style of white from Limoux is generally thought to predate, and be the inspiration for, Champagne, and so appreciate the unusual wine from the southern French foothills for what it is: Delicious. Search in your glass for a little hint of lavender and honeysuckle, and pair with oysters, any cream soup, or fish.