August 2006

From the 1,166 new-release wines our panels tasted for this issue, our critics singled out these ten (all $15 or less) for their remarkable price/value ratio. Suggested national retail prices have been quoted by the winery or importer, but prices may vary, and you may be able to find these wines at a significant discount in your area.

EV  I Freixenet $10
Cava Brut Cordon Negro (Spain)
Perfumed scents of Asian pear and acacia fill this simple Cava, its waxy texture and muscular structure a match for tapas.
Freixenet USA, Sonoma, CA
GV  I  Mezzacorona $9
2005 Vigneti delle Dolomiti Pinot Grigio (Italy)
This clean pinot grigio has a soft talclike edge and a freshness that will match the green peas in pasta primavera.
Prestige Wine Imports, NY
GV  I  Sterling $10
2005 Central Coast Vintner's Collection Pinot Grigio
A hint of pink shows the color of the grape skins in this leesy, clean pinot grigio. It's broad with simple citrus flavors. For grilled snapper.
Sterling Vineyards, Calistoga, CA
EV  I  Aveleda $12
2005 Vinho Verde Alvarinho (Portugal)
Delicate floral scents and talc lead into a lively mineral and lime flavor. The saline finish has tremendous, mouthwatering length.
Tri-Vin Imports, Mount Vernon, NY
EV  I  Kathken $13
2005 Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
Notes of yeast, rye grain, apple skin, and a salty tang bring a bracing complexity to peach flavors. It would sing with a pork chop.
Kathken Vineyards, Salem, OR
GV  I  Parkers Estate $13
2004 Sonoma County Tolleson High Corniche Sauvignon Blanc
Scents of sorrel and citrus blossoms meld into pink grapefruit flavors, a great value for a simple goat cheese salad.
Parkers Estate, Kenwood, CA
EV  I  Muga $10
2005 Rioja Rosè (Spain)
This tastes of woodland strawberries, in the most refreshing way, the flavors both delicate and vibrant. Great with sweet gulf prawns.
Fine Estates from Spain, Dedham, MA
GV  I  Kourtaki $8
Vin de Crete (Greece)
Here's an affordable taste of Crete in earthy, spicy, sun-baked plum flavors. Give it a slight chill and pour for backyard barbecues.
Nestor Imports, NY
GV  I  Adega de Monçao $8
2005 Vinho Verde Danaide (Portugal)
The beautiful dark purple fruit scent is heightened by cracked black peppercorn spice. Tangy and delicious with roast suckling pig.
Aidil Wines & Liquors, Newark, NJ
GV  I  Curtis $14
2003 Santa Barbara County Heritage Cuvee
Dark forest berry flavors fill this rustic Rh™ne varietal blend. It's packed with extract and peppery warmth. Delicious with a slight chill.
Curtis Winery, Los Olivos, CA

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