Even if you don’t have a home wine cellar, you should still keep some wines on hand—either for yourself or when unexpected guests arrive. You don’t have to go crazy or break the bank to purchase and keep a small stash at home. There are plenty of affordable bottles out there, and you can even include a few extravagant ones if you wish. You’ll need some basic whites and reds, plus maybe a sparkling or two. Which wines, and how many of each are decisions you’ll have to make.
Unless you’re a complete party animal, I think a mixed case plus one (a baker’s dozen) should take care of things. Keep a couple of the whites in the fridge, and the rest in the hall closet—provided you don’t keep the temperature in the house cranked up to 85 degrees.
The goal is that you don’t get caught flat-footed when a wine situation arises. Three different whites and three different reds should suffice. I’ve made a few suggestions for each of the varieties listed, and you can mix or match these. Feel free to substitute some of our weekly “Must-Try” recommendations, or any others you wish or need. A note on the red wines I’m suggesting: Rusty will likely tell us that all you need is six bottles of pinot noir. He’s a specialist, so just ignore him.
3 bottles of chardonnay
- 2011 Foxglove Chardonnay, Central Coast, $11. Wine Exchange, Hi-Time Cellars, Best Wines Online
- NV Louis Latour Pouilly Fuisse, France, $13.Total Wine, Costco
- 2011-12 Cakebread Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $36. Wine Club, Best Wines Online, Wine Exchange, Hi-Time Cellars
2 bottles of sauvignon blanc
- 2012 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, $12 to 15. OC The OC Wine Mart, Hi-Time Cellars, Total Wine
- 2012 Dragonette Sauvignon Blanc, Central Coast, $27. Best Wines Online, Hi-Time Cellars, Amazing Grapes
2 other white wines
- 2010-11 Saint Hilaire Sparkling Wine, France, $11. Hi-Time Cellars, Best Wines Online
- 2010-11 Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc, France, $12. Amazing Grapes, Hi-Time Cellars, Best Wines Online
- 2012 – Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc, So. Africa, $13. Hi-Time Cellars, Best Wines Online, Amazing Grapes, Southern Hemisphere Wine Center, Costco
2 bottles of cabernet sauvignon or merlot
- 2010-11 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, $12. Wine Exchange, Hi-Time Cellars, Total Wine
- 2010 Barde Haut Bordeaux, France, $40. Total Wine, Wine Exchange, Hi-Time Cellars
2 bottles of pinot noir
- 2010 Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir, France, $17. Wine Exchange, Total Wine
- 2009 Dierberg Estate Pinot Noir, Central Coast, $35. Wine Exchange, Wine Club, Total Wine
2 other red wines
- 2010 Felsina Chianti Classico, Italy, $20. Best Wines Online, Hi-Time Cellars, Amazing Grapes, Wine Exchange, Total Wine
- 2010-11 Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel, Sonoma County, $23. Hi-Time Cellars, Amazing Grapes