Last week, I paid a visit to one of my local wine shops — The Wine Guy in Asheville, NC. It was my first visit, and I was thrilled to discover that this shop focuses on value wines. Brilliant! I had found the right place for the task at hand, which was to pick up a few selections that I could discuss here. After a conversation with the very helpful Steve Nelson, he chose some wines for me to take home and enjoy, none of which I’d ever heard of before. I was like a kid with a new toy as I drove home with a case of wine in my trunk.

The first wine I chose to try was the 2004 Langhorne Crossing Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon, which is Australian. I don’t “chase scores” (which would be a difficult task on my budget) but I did notice a display at the shop telling me that Robert Parker scored this wine an 89. Priced at $9.99, that sounded like a great deal to me! When I tried this wine, I was first struck by how wonderfully smooth is was on the palate. The nose was quite fruity, followed by flavors of plum and cherry and a nice amount of spice. I found it to be very well-balanced and, though I wasn’t enjoying it with food, I am confident that this is an extremely versatile red. So far, I was very pleased with the results of my trip to the Asheville Wine Guy.

For my second selection this week, I chose to open the 2006 Chateau Roustan Blanc, which you’ve probably guessed is French. More specifically, it’s from Costieres de Nimes. This wine, also priced at $9.99, is described on the label as White Table Wine. By reading the small print on the back of the label, I found out that it is 60% Roussanne, 30% Grenache, and 10% Viognier. To the best of my recollection, I’d never tried Roussanne before, so my curiosity was piqued. This wine just “smelled French,” and by that I mean that it smelled very herbal and fresh. On the palate, it was fresh and acidic and very approachable. I did a little research after the fact and learned that Roussanne is quite acidic; when blended with Grenache and Viognier for their fruit and body, the resulting wine is balanced beautifully.

I am so looking forward to seeing what else that case of wine, put together for me by Steve at The Wine Guy, has in store!