While there's less than four weeks remaining until spring the final days of winter still feel like they are literally crawling by. We're between major holidays, so there's not much to look forward to...unless you can find a way to get excited about the tasty, homemade (or, let's be real -- takeout) meals you get to enjoy most nights of the week. But here's the deal: Why not up the ante of the wine you're drinking at home and make a night in feel like a night out? Here are four stellar wines that'll make any let's-just-stay-in evening seem like a Friday night out on the town.
Adami Prosecco Garbel 13 NV ($15): What a delightfully fun glass of bubbly this is. Prosecco's back in vogue after a bit of a stint being viewed as lower quality than cava. Drinking this wine in particular will help you see why -- it's not super dry, but it's definitely not sweet, which makes it perfect for popping open and sipping the moment you get home from work. Whether you actually eat dinner or not, you'll be excited to drink this deliciously zesty, refreshing bubbly.
Painted Wolf 'The Den' Chenin Blanc 2009 ($10): Chenin blanc might be the best everyday white wine you're not drinking. Its ideal mid-weight balance, stone fruit-forward palate, and cheap-ass price couldn't qualify this wine more fully for your average Tuesday night drinkin'. Immediately upon consumption, it'll make you question why you've ever even bothered purchasing a bottle of standard Cali chardonnay. After enjoying a recent bottle, a quick scan of the back label revealed a shockingly high 14 percent alcohol -- which explains the ripe pear and caramelized banana flavors. Drink it after a particularly rough day at the office.
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Il Muretto Chianti Riserva 2007 ($14): If you have an old world-leaning palate, look no further for an ideal mid-week wine to savor with everything from takeout rotisserie chicken to a slightly more refined dinner of seafood risotto (what we drank it with). Chianti has long since overcome its cheesy spaghetti-Italian reputation, so you should probably get over it, too. The subtle, refined cherry and smoke flavors contradict its decidedly easy-drinking price tag, so scoop up a few bottles of this to savor again and again.
Charles & Charles Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 ($15): Oh, yes. Here's a manly, brawny, bold glass of wine for you to savor any time you're looking for something...well, brawny, bold and red. Another stealth guzzler from Charles Smith, we're talking about an über-smooth blend of 51 percent oaked cabernet sauvignon and 49 percent unoaked syrah that demonstrates how much pleasure a well-balanced new world wine can deliver. Don't get it twisted, though: You'd be smart to match this one up with a burger or other, similarly umami-fied hunk of red meat. But even if you drink it solo (not by yourself, just without food), you'll feel the same way -- in love with this wine.