December 2006

From the 1,409 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 Domaine Ste. Michelle $12
Columbia Valley Extra Dry Sparkling Wine
Rich with heady, bready scents, golden ripe pear flavors and a creamy texture, this is ideal for an aperitif during the holidays.
Domaine Ste. Michelle, Paterson, WA
GV  I  Juan Valdelana $11
2005 Rioja (Spain)
Youthfully tight, this is clean and refreshing in its saline acidity and talclike scents. The fruit is simple, delicious with hake or other meaty fish.
Winn Devaul Imports, Vashon, WA
GV  I  Anthony Hammond $13
2005 Rheingau Estate Riesling (Germany)
This has surprising complexity and depth of flavor, with silky layers of pear, guava and red currant fruit that persist on a freshly fragrant finish.
Bluewater Wine Co., Warwick, RI
EV  I  Royal Tokaji Wine Company $14
2005 Tokaji Furmint (Hungary)
Floral and lasting, this covers octaves of flavor, the middle range filled out with mint and stone fruit. For seared scallops.
Wilson Daniels, St. Helena, CA
GV  I  Huntington $14
2005 Sonoma County Earthquake Sauvignon Blanc
Light and brisk, this sauvignon's green grape flavors have a grassy edge, for sole.
Huntington Cellars, Graton, CA
GV  I  Faustino $10
2005 Rioja Rosado Faustino V (Spain)
Rose scents accent the tart fruit of this wine, bringing sour cherries to mind. It's a pleasing rosé, brisk and clean, for air-dried beef.
Palm Bay Imports, Boca Raton, FL
GV  I  Columbia Crest $8
2003 Columbia Valley Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon
A simple red, this offers fresh light red plum flavor with plenty of acid. For the barbecue.
Columbia Crest Winery, Paterson, WA
GV  I  Boroli $13
2004 Dolcetto d'Alba Madonna di Como (Italy)
There's satisfying richness in this clean, juicy dolcetto, fat as a mushroom cap for pasta with porcini and olives.
Uve Enterprises, Napa, CA
GV  I  Clayhouse $14
2004 Paso Robles Adobe Red
This bright red blend (mostly zin and petite sirah) is rustic in a Paso way, with rough-shod tannins that last. A meaty red for sausages.
Clayhouse Vineyard, Paso Robles, CA
GV  I  Cline $15
2004 Contra Costa County Ancient Vines Mourvedre
Old vines in sandy soils create this rustic, dry red. It's filled with the tough tannin and animale scent of mourvedre, to match braised oxtail.
Cline Cellars, Sonoma, CA

Click here for 2006

Click here for 2005