VALUES

Our panels tasted 1,247 new-release wines for this April 2004 issue, and singled out a range of inexpensive wines for the value they offer. W&S critics Tara Q. Thomas and Patrick Comiskey then tasted these wines and rated them for their quality-price ratio. These ten wines - designated "Good Value" or "Exceptional Value" - represent the best overall quality for the lowest price. Suggested national retail prices have been quoted by the winery or importer, but prices in your area may vary considerably. If you shop carefully, you may be able to find these wines at a significant discount to the price listed here.

WHITES
GV I Hunt Country $7.99
2002 Finger Lakes Vignoles
Brisk and bright in the glass with tart flavors of peach and floral aromas to match; chill a bottle to liven up the your first spring picnic.
Hunt Country Vineyards, CA
 
EV I Prejean $8.99
2002 Finger Lakes Riesling
Sweet scents of honeysuckle create a sheer layer over fresh, lively Macintosh apple flavors. It's a bit of a floral garland, but refined, suited to a Cobb chicken salad.
Prejean Winery, Penn Yan, NY
 
EV I Tin Roof $9
2002 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc
A refreshing sauvignon that pairs crisp and lemony citrus aromas to flavors that are figgy and rich. Chill and serve with sole meuniere.
Murphy-Goode Estate Winery, Geyserville, CA
 
EV I Sauvion $10.99
2002 Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Rˇserve Ch‰teau du Clˇray Haute Culture
There's more floral and green apple flavor in this Muscadet than you might expect, with clean, spicy scents to balance the ripe finish. Chill it for Dover sole.
W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Harrison, NY.
 
GV I Alois Lageder $12.49
2002 Alto Adige Chardonnay
This pale white wisp of chardonnay offers the crisp edge of toasted lees against softer flavors of lemon meringue and lime marmalade. It's dry and clean, a style for lighter fish.
Dalla Terra, Napa, CA
 
EV I Marques de Monistrol $14.99
1998 Cava Reserva Privada Brut Nature
From the gingery aroma to the crisp, orange-oil and lemon-rind flavors, this Cava is brisk, lively and lasting. The light bitterness at the end would be complemented by sautˇed scallops.
Pasternak Imports, Greenwich, CT
 
REDS
GV I Three Thieves $10
2002 California Zinfandel
Soft, rustic flavors of cranberries and sweet roasted vegetables make this a simple red for pork rillettes or game-based stew.
Liberators, Lodi, CA
 
GV I Seventh Moon $10
2001 California Syrah
What this lacks in varietal fortitude it makes up for in berry-fruited exuberance. It's jammy and pushed to the brink of ripeness; chill it slightly and serve with a grilled chicken sandwich.
Seventh Moon Wines, Gonzales,CA
 
GV I Centine $11
2001 Toscana
A soft, light blend of sangiovese with cabernet and merlot, great for pasta with tomatoes and sausage.
Banfi Vintners, Old Brookville, NY
 
GV I Bodegas Sumarroca $11.99
2000 Penedès Barrel Aged Merlot
Fresh huckleberry scents mark this appealing Penedès merlot, and the taste is that of a mixed berry pie. It's a straight-on, no frills, well-made wine for casual drinking.
Frontier Wine Imports, Dover, NJ
 

There are times when you want to splurge on a bottle of wine - birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations of any kind. But for a casual dinner, or a picnic in the park, those times when wine is simply a part of your life, it seems crazy to spring for a big-bucks bottle, especially when there's so much good wine out there at such reasonable prices. Doubtful? Trust us. Here are 51 brands that regularly manage to produce great wine for under $15 a bottle - 20 American and 31 imported. Every winery listed here had at least two-but more likely four and up to nine- wines for $15 or less that W&S recommended over the last 12 months. These are names you can rely on when you walk into an new store or glance down an unfamiliar wine list, or simply when you want lots of bang for your buck. There's something for every occasion, from light-hearted sparklers and spaghetti reds to whites with four-star class and reds that can go mano a mano with a Porterhouse steak. Buy a bottle or two; or a case or two, for that matter. Why not?

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