Saturday night I'm hosting a big wine dinner over at Paul's... More details on that will follow late that night or sometime Sunday. I've spent today getting stuff ready and cooking what could be cooked ahead of time.
In the soup preparation, I used about a full glass of 2003 R.H. Phillips Chardonnay. These aren't spectacular wines, but they're not bad either. I tend to like them for cooking if I don't already have something better open with which to sacrifice a glass. They also use a metal screwcap, so you don't have to worry about corkage, and they store in the fridge easily. Not buttery, not acidic, just a simple chard. $7.
And in the evening, I had a spare bottle that I wanted to have as a backup for tomorrow night, but I think I've got more than enough wine as it is. The 2001 Louis Bernard Côtes du Rhône Rouge is a mixture of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault. It's an unusual red, and it's why I've chosen this region for the pork dish tomorrow. It's a very light red (it's about half Grenache), but it has an earthy quality and an exceptionally mild aftertaste that makes it suitable for some odd meats, like duck, pork, or wild game. I don't know why these wines aren't more popular. This bottle was $10, and should be good for another year or two under proper conditions. I'm drinking it now with a bit of a chill on it, as close to cellar temperature as I can get. The flavor is more complex than it would first appear, so it merits some slow appreciation. And the bottle design is classy, though potentially confusing--the entire range of their products all share a same basic design, with minor color changes. So you can reasonably make someone believe that this is a more expensive wine.