You can’t have a good summer without good wine, but good wine doesn’t need to be expensive. Forbes compiled an excellent list of 25 delicious wines that won’t leave your wallet feeling light and woozy.
According to Forbes, wine is a needed refuge from the relentless Grocery Shrink Ray. Rather than raise prices or shrink offerings, wineries are managing the tumbling economy and suicidal dollar by tightening their own belts. Here are ten of Forbes’ picks:
Château Haut-Guiraud 2005, Côtes de Bourg | $15
The lesser-known, “satellite” appellations of Bordeaux are chock-full of bargains from the stellar-but-pricey 2005 vintage. A flat-out steal, this Merlot-based wine, with its refined, ripe tannins, has the perfectly tuned balance of a grander Bordeaux with a more immediately accessible charm. (Alain Junguenet Selections)
Can Blau 2006, Montsant | $18
I buy this wine every year and feel a bit bereft when my last bottle’s empty. From the other side of the mountains from Spain’s famed Priorat–and sharing many of the same soils and conditions–this blend of Mazuelo (Carignan), Syrah and Garnacha (Grenache) lofts an intricate aroma something like…let me take a stab at it: spiced wild berries cooked into a pastry with vanilla icing. Ah, heck, just give it a spin. (Jorge Ordoñez Selections)
Villa Maria 2006 Pinot Noir, “Private Bin,” Marlborough | $20
It’s hard to find truly Pinot-y Pinot at this price, and Villa Maria is a reliable name to keep in mind. A warm ’06 harvest in New Zealand goosed up the richness in this soft, easy-drinking red and heightened its aroma of freshly crushed cherries. (Vineyard Brands)
JUICY, FULLER-BODIED REDS
D’Arenberg 2004 Shiraz, “The Footbolt,” McLaren Vale | $19
Chester Osborn’s labor-intensive, old-school winemaking (foot-stomped grapes, basket press)–plus d’Arenberg’s excellent vineyards–yields some of Australia’s most succulently layered Shiraz/Syrahs, including this perfumed beauty that evolves surprising depths in the glass. Named for a racehorse whose early-20th-century winning streak was a foundation of the Osborn family fortunes. (Old Bridge Cellars)
Château d’Esclans 2006 “Whispering Angel,” Côtes de Provence | $22
The new South of France venture of Sacha–son of American wine great Alexis–Lichine produces the world’s most expensive (by a long shot) rosés. This pup of the litter, crafted by former Mouton Rothschild winemaker Patrick Leon, is pale pink but surprisingly hearty, with a dry, firm, minerally brightness. The toast of the Côte d’Azur yachting set, I’m told. (Château d’Esclans)
Txomin Etxaniz 2006 Guetaria | $25
These white Txokolina wines (that’s “choko-leena”) are summertime Basque seafood staples. Pouring from a foot or so height brings up the wine’s light fizziness; the lean, clean palate-awakening acidity does the rest. (Tempranillo Imports)
St. Supery 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley | $21
Fans of this popular wine get another juicy gem from winemaker Michael Beaulac. An un-Chardonnay with true varietal pineapple/grapefruit notes mingled with menthol-y herbs in a concentrated white that cuts a pleasingly lean profile.
L’Ecole No. 41 2006 Semillon, Columbia Valley | $16
From one of Walla Walla’s pioneers and a Washington favorite for many years, the ’06 is a custardy, melony mouthful (but dry) that is a roast-chicken-enlivening wine par excellence.
Mionetto (nonvintage) Prosecco Brut | $13
Like a warm-weather picnic in a bottle. This lightly sparkling Italian wine has a penetrating, intense character, with notes of apple, lemon and anise. Among other things, the perfect base for a mimosa or Bellini. (Mionetto)
Warre’s (nonvintage) White Porto | $13
Lusciously, palate-coatingly rich and exotic, white port on the rocks is an addictive warm-weather aperitif. Warre’s version nails it, wafting a complex spice of licorice, walnut and candied apricots. Spritz at will. (Vineyard Brands)
Check out Forbes’ article for all 25 recommendations.