Everyone loves a bargain, so for the last month I’ve been busy tasting many wines costing $20 and less. Below is a shopping list of my favorites, each of which delivers quality that exceeds its cost.
All these wines are currently available in Arizona. But don’t shop with your feet to find them. That can be frustrating. Simply call and order from your favorite store.
Snoqualmie 2015 Chardonnay “Columbia Valley” ($10): Medium strong on palate with attractive balance, as well as good complexity, integration and refinement.
Coltibuono 2015 “Cetamura, Chianti, Italy” ($11): Offers unexpected quality for the price, including medium-soft tannins, pleasing integration and surprising complexity.
Trivento 2015 Malbec “Reserve, Mendoza, Argentina” ($11): Good strength and complexity on nose and palate, strong fruit, attractive integration and a long finish.
Chateau Souverain 2014 Merlot “California” ($13): Fine purple hue catches the eye, and forward fruit plus good tannic structure carry into an extended finish.
Prophecy 2015 Pinot Noir “California” ($14): Quite a bargain with beautiful color, attractive complexity, fine balance, full-ish body, strong personality and good length.
The Seeker 2015 Pinot Noir “Vin de France” ($14): Eye-catching in the glass. Good strength and complexity on nose and palate. Pleasing fruit with complementary tannins.
E. Guigal 2016 Rosé “Côtes du Rhône, France” ($15): Features quality in glass and on nose and palate. A very good food wine with refreshing acidity and an extended finish.
Maison Fortant 2016 Rosé “Provence, France” ($15): Very attractive with crisp balance, fine integration and lingering length. Impressive refinement for modest cost.
Valdo non-vintage sparkling wine “Brut, Prosecco, Italy” ($15): Very appealing with mouth-filling fizz, forward flavor, clean fruit, good balance and a lengthy finish.
Concha y Toro 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon “Gran Reserva, Serie Riberas, Ribera del Tinguirirca, Marchigüe, Chile” ($17): Solid buy, with multiple strengths that include rich fruit, as well as dusky tannins that produce impressive complexity.
Concha y Toro 2013 Carmenere “Gran Reserva, Serie Riberas, Ribera del Cachapoal, Peumo, Chile” ($17): One of the best values tasted for this column is strong on nose and palate with pleasing fruit and very good complexity.
Cockburn’s non-vintage Port “Special Reserve, Oporto, Portugal” ($18): Strong, rich fruit, forward complexity, medium-soft tannins and very good length.
J. Wilkes 2014 Pinot Blanc “Santa Maria Valley” ($18): Very enjoyable with strong fruit, excellent balance, full-ish body, smooth integration and an impressive finish.
Kim Crawford 2016 Sauvignon Blanc “Marlborough, New Zealand” ($18): Attractive strength and complexity on nose, followed by a pleasing palate and a lingering finish.
Masseria Li Veli 2015 Verdeca “Valle d’Itria, Italy” ($18): This unoaked white is a tasting adventure with its strong personality, rich fruit, very good balance and extended finish.
Plungerhead 2014 Zinfandel “Old Vine, Dry Creek Valley” ($18): A superb buy that is forward, fruity and complex on nose and palate and develops beautifully in the mouth.
Beronia 2012 “Reserva, Rioja, Spain” ($19): Beautiful in the glass, but even better on nose and palate. A bit tannic, but with very attractive complexity, strength and balance.
Sant’Antonio 2014 “Monti Garbi, Valpolicella Ripasso, Superiore, Italy” ($19): Impressive with a personality featuring strength and richness, full to heavy body, forward complexity and an extended finish.
Navarro 2015 Chardonnay “Mendocino County” ($19.50): Strong all around, but especially on palate with forward, well-balanced fruit, light oak and notable integration.
Banfi non-vintage sparkling wine “Brachetto Rosa Regale, Dolce, Acqui, Italy ($20): Highlights include vibrant red color, a bit of sweetness, forward fruit and smooth texture.
B. R. Cohn 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon “Silver Label, North Coast” ($20): This great value features rich fruit dominating on the attack, followed by fine balance, integration and complexity.
Fillaboa 2015 Albariño “Rias Baixas, Spain” ($20): Very intriguing on the palate, this fine example of the grape has a lively personality and a strong, extended finish.
Frei Brothers 2014 Zinfandel “Reserve, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County” ($20): This brooding, engaging Zin is highly enjoyable with its strong personality, fruit and tannins.
Graffito 2014 Malbec “Mendoza, Argentina” ($20): Forward, but softly rounded tannins pair with strong fruit, attractive complexity and much more. A fine bargain.
Jacob’s Creek non-vintage Shiraz “Double Barrel, Australia” ($20): Finished in Scotch whisky barrels, this distinctive Aussie features rich fruit textured by pleasing tannins.
Sidebar 2015 Sauvignon Blanc “High Valley, Lake County” ($20): Very strong on the palate with full-bore Sauv Blanc fruit attractively balanced by forward acidity.