What do blue jeans, a latté and Norah Jones have in common? They’re hugely popular. Right, but why? It’s because they are nice. We like nice. Nice makes us feel good, but more importantly nice makes life comfortable and friendly. So, naturally, there are wines that belong in the same category.

As we all know, a lot of stuff that gets passed off for nice is also boring. I taste thousands of boring wines every year. Nice but boring is bad nice. What we want is good nice. It’s a hard thing to define except to say that good nice seems to last — like blue jeans or Anne Murray.

Another aspect of nice is it only works when the mood calls for it. With wine, this usually occurs in the down time after work or on the weekend, but it doesn’t necessarily involve food.


While Australia is associated with rich Chardonnays they also get into nice wines. Lindemans 2005 Pinot Grigio ‘Bin 85,’ is so relaxing and soothing that you may even consider turning off your cell phone. One sip of this low-keyed charmer and it’s shoes off and feet up. Feels like hanging out with your best buddy — comfortable and fun. Speaking of comfort, the wine comes in a handy screw cap. No time to be lazy? Well, try a bottle with a patio lunch or take it to a party ... and be nice.

The Californians invented niceness and bottle lots of it. Fetzer 2005 Fume Blanc is lovely. While there is the zest of Sauvignon — Fume and Sauvignon are the same thing — this wine is mainly about niceness and charm. It is a sipping, chatting and feeling happy kind of wine. Fetzer produces nice wines that, for the most part, manage to feel real.

Billy Munnelly is author, wine critic and publisher of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter and Billy’s Best Wines For 2005. Visit www.billysbestbottles.comfor information about his in-home wine-tasting seminar. To receive a free copy of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter, e-mail info@billysbestbottles.com


• LINDEMANS 2005 Pinot Grigio ‘Bin 85,’ Australia

LCBO No.: 668947

Price: $10.95

•FETZER 2005 Fume Blanc ‘Valley Oaks,’ California

LCBO No.: 255448

Price: $12.85