VALUES

Our panels tasted 1,406 new-release wines for this April 2003 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 Crane Lake $4.99
2000 California Chardonnay
Big, ripe, clean apple and pear flavors are left unadorned in this simple quaffer. A steal for your next picnic, to sip against sliced apples and cheese.
Crane Lake Cellars, Napa, CA
 
GV I Grand Cru $7.49
2000 California Chardonnay
Orange, peach and pineapple fruit plumps up this soft, easy white, staying light and fresh for seafood.
Grand Cru Vineyards, Sonoma, CA
 
DV I Dom. de la Pépire $9
2001 Muscadet de Svre et Maine-sur-Lie
Frisky and brisk, there's a surface tension to this wine that keeps its sweet pear flavor tight as a drum. There's also an acid bite for oysters.
Louis-Dressner Selections/LDM Wines, NY
 
EV I Freixenet $9.99
Cava Cordon Negro Extra Dry
From the initial whiff of sweet hay and apple to its apple-lime flavors, all bounded by a measured hint of sweetness, this is a happy-go-lucky Cava to enjoy with strawberries and cream, or at any festive event.
Freixenet USA, Sonoma, CA
 
GV I Alta Vista $9.99
2002 Mendoza Premium Torrontés
Floral notes barbed by a pleasant bitterness wrap around sweet peachy fruit; high acidity carries the deft flavors forward. The result is pretty, refreshing and quaffable especially with a chill.
Rock Creek Wine Merchants, Bethesda, MD
 
EV I Alois Lageder $9.99
2001 Alto Adige Pinot Bianco
Fresh and bright, this leesy pinot bianco cuts a green line of grape skin flavor, then ends with a suave, lasting richness. It makes an appealing aperitif to sip with white bean bruschetta or purée of baccalà.
Dalla Terra, Napa, CA
 
GV I Cypress $10
2001 California Chardonnay
Balance for a bargain. Lohr's soft vanilla notes and pleasant mouthfeel make this a natural for brook trout, cooked in a skillet.
J. Lohr Winery, San Jose, CA
 
REDS
GV I Redwood Creek $8
2000 California Cabernet Sauvignon
This sappy cab may not have the purest varietal character, but with its blackberry fruit flavors, tinged with a roasted beet earthiness, it would stand up to a plate of ribs nicely.
Frei Bros. Vineyards, Modesto, CA
 
EV I Avignonesi $10.99
2000 Rosso di Toscana
Tight scents of baked cherry follow through to warm, fine tannins, and soft fruit, ending clean and firm. Break it out in August, with fresh-picked peppers roasted on the grill.
Dalla Terra, Napa, CA
 
EV I Monchiero Carbone $11.99
2001 Casorzo Malvasia
Pink and bubbly, this floral malvasia is light and airy. Fresh scents of violets and asters, dried nectarine and red herb tea join in a pleasantly sweet finish. An intriguing wine to play with food, like a picnic of charcuterie.
Matt Brothers, NY