Good Wine Cheap (and good food to go with it)


Washington State is the source of this month's wine. For white wines from the West Coast, Washington and Oregon often provide the best values. Please note a degree of negative California bias. That state is a source of good wines but frequently at prodigious prices.

Hogue Cellars' 2001 Fume Blanc is a wonderful example of a good wine at a reasonable price. Fume Blanc is synonymous with Sauvignon Blanc, except that I personally expect a certain complexity and herbaceous quality with this designation. Hogue does not disappoint. This Sauvignon Blanc delivers all the qualities of that variety such as subtle gooseberry and grass, but with layers lemon and herbs that raise this to an excellent wine. We find this wine locally for between $8 and $10 a bottle.

Lemon Tarragon Roast Cornish Game Hens

Ingredients: 2 (1 to 1 lb.) Cornish Game Hens; stick softened butter; 2 tbs chopped shallot; 1 tbs. grated lemon zest; 1 tbs. chopped fresh tarragon; tsp. salt; and, tsp. black pepper.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rinse hens and pat dry; place skin side up in a 1 inch deep baking pan. Stir together butter, shallot, zest, tarragon, tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper in a small bowl. Loosen skin from meat all over hens including legs and thighs, being careful not to tear skin. Rub half of butter under skin and remaining half on top. Sprinkle hens with rest of salt and pepper. Roast hens in oven until cooked through and skin is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. The Boss served this with a seasoned blend of wild and long grain rice available from Carolina Rice. The drippings make a nice gravy that is definitely "politically incorrect."

I hope that you will contact me with your comments and favorite wines. I will be happy to share them with the broader Mensa group.

John is a member of Mensa of Northeastern New York. He lives with his wife Sharon in the Hudson Valley.