Finding an affordable wine isn’t as big a challenge as you might think. Just ask our critics, who tasted upwards of 15,000 wines this year, recommending more than 1,000 priced eighteen dollars or less. When we considered all brands with two or more recommendations in that price range, the best performers stood out as our Value Brands of the Year.
We highlighted brands in our June issue that range the world, from the cool coast of Portugal to the sunny hills of southern France, from California to South Africa’s Cape. One specializes in sparkling wines; others major in big, rich reds. All have one thing in common: Their wines aren’t merely cheap; they’re real, and really delicious.
Here are our three favorites from New York State.
Anthony Road Wine Company
For more than 40 years, John and Ann Martini of Anthony Road have owned their own vineyard on the west side of Seneca Lake, and what they don’t own they’ve contracted for decades—a total of 90 acres, managed by their son, Peter. They excel in riesling—especially the brisk, citrusy 2014 Dry Riesling ($18), the first release from head winemaker Peter Becraft, who took over after eight vintages working alongside Johannes Reinhardt.
• John Martini’s wife is a former pastry chef at The River Cafe in Brooklyn, who runs CaryMo Chocolate out of Anthony Road s kitchen.
• Their crisp, fresh 2014 Unoaked Chardonnay costs $17
Dr. Konstantin Frank
As the first to plant vinifera in the Finger Lakes, Dr. Konstantin Frank got in on the ground floor in the region when it came to vineyard real estate. The good Doctor’s white varietal wines remain among the best values in the region—drawn in part from the oldest vinifera vines in the state. Both the 2013 and 2014 Semi Dry Riesling ($15) stood out this year, their breadth guided by clean, propulsive acidity; Frank also makes a poised, rose-scented gewurztraminer, exceptional at $15.
Keuka Spring Vineyards
Keuka Springs, a 30-year-old winery owned by the Wiltbergers, an old New York farming family, has gotten a jolt of youthful energy from their 34-year-old winemaker, August Deimel, who just completed his fourth vintage. His 2014s, drawn from vineyards on Keuka and Seneca Lakes, are fresh and pure expressions of the Finger Lakes, especially the beautifully poised gewurztraminer ($17), at once generous and pleasingly phenolic.