VALUES

Our panels tasted 1,325 new-release wines for this April 2005 issue, and singled out a range of inexpensive wines for the value they offer. W&S critics Joshua Greene, Ray Isle, Peter Liem, Genevieve Robertson & Tara Q. Thomas then tasted these wines and rated them for their quality-price ratio. These 10 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.

REDS
GV I Pepperwood Grove $9
2003 California Chardonnay
Well made in a light style, this wine's simple red fruit makes a gentle companion for roast beef.
Don Sebastiani & Sons, Napa, CA
 
EV I Quinta de Ventozelo $9
2001 Douro Cister da Ribeira (Portugal)
A fresh Douro country wine, this is filled with scents of esteva and pine. The flavors are clean, the texture supple, and it only improves with air. Pour it with cured sausages and sheep's cheese.
Supreme Wines & Spirits, Pleasantville, NY
 
GV I Clay Station $12.99
2002 Lodi Malbec
A juicy wine full of plum jam flavor, perfect for a grilled pepper steak or a rainy night in.
Delicato Family Vineyards, Manteca, CA
 
GV I Domaine Filliatreau $14.99
2003 Saumur-Champigny La Grande Vignolle (France)
The perfume of violet and red cherry leads to a taut vibrancy on the palate. Exuberant ripeness brings out the calcareous soil signature underneath, then finishes with fresh and fine tannins.
Louis/Dressner Selections, NY
 
WHITES
GV I ForestVille $5.99
2003 California Chardonnay
This clean, fresh wine leads with a scent of white flowers melting into the flavor of Key lime pie, perfect for chilled crab.
ForestVille Vineyard, Sonoma, CA
 
GV I Hidalgo $9.99/500 ml
Jerez Sanlucar de Barrameda Manzanilla La Gitana (Spain)
Consistently one of the finest traditional manzanillas around, La Gitana might as well be the Webster's entry for the category: pale straw color, salty seaside freshness and dry, tangy yet rich flavor. And that flavor lingers after each sip, too, like sea spray.
Classical Wines, Seattle, WA
 
GV I St. Julian $10
2003 Lake Michigan Shore St. J Riesling
This breezy riesling has a scent of fresh-cut pineapples, the juicy flavors full and sweet. Its soft, broad texture makes it a good match for choucroute and sausages. (1,828 cases)
St. Julian Wine Company, Inc., Paw Paw, MI
 
GV I Högl $11.99
Wachau Terrassen-Spitzergraben Riesling Federspiel (Austria)
A quietly powerful riesling, this combines the coolness of Spitz in its delicate floral and stony scents with the warmth of the vintage in its warm, firm pear flavors. Substantial enough for a chestnut-stuffed roast chicken.
winemonger.com, Los Angeles, CA
 
GV I Brander $12
2004 Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Crystal clear in color, this has a pink grapefruit flavor ending soft and clean, clear as the color. Chill it as an aperitif with prawns. (700 cases)
The Brander Vineyard, Los Olivos, CA
 
EV I Francois Chidaine $14.99
2003 Montlouis Les Tuffeaux (France)
Immediately seductive with its aromas of almond, Asian pear and spice, this voluptuous Montlouis combines richness with a slinky, high-toned delicacy. For all its ripeness, it finishes chalky, underneath scents of vanilla and honey. Terrific now, this will only get better with time.
Louis/Dressner Selections, NY
 

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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