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Vitis House’s Doreen Colondres, renowned chef and wine connoisseur, picks the 5 best bottles around Raleigh for under $25 from area-best wine shops and stores.
Let’s face it. Sip happens—and whether you’re an oenophile or you just like to make “pour” decisions after a long day, having a handful of affordable wines at your fingertips is no doubt a “riesling” to be happy. And Doreen Colondres is here for it. The local certified wine connoisseur, chef, cookbook author and general globe-trotter is sharing her gift of the grape with Raleigh through the launch of Vitis House, the area’s first professional wine school. Here, the former ambassador for the esteemed Ribera del Duero region of Spain and first Hispanic celebrity chef for the Bordeaux Wine Council (among other impressive feats) will host fun food and wine classes and private events, plus offer consultations, as well as Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and Wine Scholar Guild programs. While you check your cal to see when you can schedule some time to get schooled on vino, we asked Colondres to uncork her top bottles at wine spots around town so you can live the bon vivant life without breaking the bank (think sub-$25). Here’s her top five. Santé!
Seaboard Wine & Tasting Bar
Doreen’s Pick: Andreola Dirupo Brut, $22
Category: Sparkling prosecco
Grape: 90% glera
Why: This sparkling selection is delicate and refreshing, and is produced in Valdobbiadene—a town in the province of Treviso, Veneto, Italy—one of the best regions for prosecco production due to its vineyard elevation. As the heart of the world of prosecco, Valdobbiadene is also classified as a Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (DOCG), the highest level of quality for Italian wines.
Ridgewood Wine & Beer Co.
Doreen’s Pick: Les Athlètes du Vin Touraine Sauvignon, $17
Grape: 100% sauvignon blanc
Why: Touraine, an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the Loire Valley wine region of France, produces elegant and delicate sauvignon blancs. They’re similar quality to Sancerre, but at a more outstanding value.
Vinos Finos Tapas and Wine Bar
Doreen’s Pick: Carlos Serres Rioja Reserva, $22
Grape: Tempranillo and graciano
Why: Tempranillo is the predominant grape, but when graciano is added, the result is even more elegant. This pick goes well with pork, lamb and any rich dish that’s seasoned with Spanish sweet smoked paprika.
Total Wine & More
Doreen’s Pick: Louis Latour Pouilly-Fuissé, $19
Grape: 100% chardonnay
Why: The chardonnay grape reigns supreme in Mâconnais, the southernmost entry point to the Burgundy wine region in France. Louis Latour’s chardonnay is round and herbal with crisp acidity—a great value from an outstanding producer.
Doreen’s Pick: Marcelo Pelleriti, $19
Why: This is an outstanding malbec from a superb winemaker in the Valle de Uco in Mendoza, Argentina. It’s bold and structured; has a high alcohol content; and pairs perfectly with sausages, steaks and meat empanadas.
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