Once people hear that I write about wine, the first question I hear is always "what's your house wine". And until about a year ago, I would have said that I really don't have one. I don't always have cases of a single wine at the house that I would consider my house wine, but it has recently occurred to me that I have a couple white wines that I seem to always have around and because I seem to love them every year, they are the very definition of a house wine --dependable.
Those two whites coincidentally are made within feet of each other. The first is the Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara Chardonnay. Right now we're drinking the 2007, but we had easily a case of the 2006 last year. It's not cheap, but you can find it for around $17 a bottle at BevMo or other pretty big wine stores. Since I've gotten to know Jim Clendenon a bit over the last couple of years, I trust his unbelievable palate and am happy to throw my chardonnay allowance at him.
The other white is not made by Jim, but by Bob Lindquist at Qupé. The Qupé Bien Nacido "Y" block Chardonnay is a bit heavier on the wood, but still offers the fresh Santa Barbara County fruit that I really enjoy. It's a tad more expensive, usually a bit over $20. I tend to pull this out when we have something a little richer, or something cries out for something more full-bodied.
Reds? Every day I get to taste red wine is a special day, so I try to have something delicious and unusual on hand, but rarely the same bottle twice within 6 months or so...During the winter months, when my wine cellar gets pretty cold, I tend to pull something out in the morning when I go to work so it's at room temp when I come home. Right now, I have sitting out the 2003 Cotes du Rhone from Roger Perrin - a big juicy, earthy Rhone that I haven't had for a year or so.