The Grapevine: Keeping a 'fish eye' out for great finds

In Australia, if a fisherman makes a good haul he is said to have the "fish eye," an intuitive sense of where to look for tasty things with fins and the animal magnetism to lure them in.

Winemaker Steve Roden has the "fish eye" for grapes, specifically pinot grigio, and his label aptly touts his skill at sourcing and tagging fine fruit. Fish Eye Pinot Grigio 2011at $7 is full of ripe golden apple fruit with a touch of honeydew melon. The wine is soft and mellow and easy drinking. A real crowd pleaser, and at this price, it's so easy to please a crowd. It even comes in magnums (1.5L).

Who else can fish for quality and value? Banfi.

Their Centine Bianco 2011, a delicious blend of sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio and chardonnay, is a tangy, grassy little number that would pair perfectly with grilled seafood, grilled veggies and all things "herbed." Interestingly, the aroma of this Italian wine hints of the sea. There is a whiff of hot sand and sun-bleached shell that just begs for a plate of oysters. It's a steal at $10 and mighty tasty. At this price, you could even afford to get a bushel of oysters to pair with it.

Petit Bourgeois Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Vin de Pays Val de Loire, France at $12 ,tastes of gooseberries and celery stick and white grapefruit zest. This is a fish wine, too. Who needs a lemon wedge when this racy white serves as the perfect palate cleanser. And it's a skinny little thing too. Positively slimming.

And good stuff is to be found in the sparkle department also. One is always fishing for a bargain midst the bubbles.

The Maschio Prosecco Brut from Italy ($13) has some weight to it. While many proseccos are noted for their neutrality on the palate (thus making them the consummate sparkling cocktail base), this one has personality. There is a touch of raw almond, a hint of ripe grain and the aromatics of those beautiful dried straw flower arrangements available at farmer's markets in autumn. The mousse is soft but perky. It's perfect for Sunday brunch with omelets, quiche, poached salmon and brioche.

Then comes the cupcake. No, not the icing-topped confection, but rather the Italian prosecco by the same name. Cupcake Prosecco has the barest hint of sweetness to it, but it is lean and citrusy on the palate with a delicate floral note ($14). Good stuff. Balanced. Lovely mousse. This is also a terrific brunch wine, but in this case, pair with smoked salmon, green chile crustless quiche and toasted challah bread with good Irish butter.

Who knew that you could fish for wine? Who knew that the catch would be this good?

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