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Wine

White wines are especially refreshing as temperatures warm from spring into summer. Below are my favorite whites under $20, as selected from recent tastings. Each is a fine bargain for quality and character.

J. Lohr 2017 White Riesling “Bay Mist, Monterey County” ($10): This nicely priced Riesling has expressive fruit on the attack and quickly develops attractive balance, complexity and personality that persist for pleasing length.

MontGras 2018 Sauvignon Blanc “Valle de Leyda, Chile” ($10): This excellent buy is appealing to both nose and palate. Lean in style, there’s fine balance of fruit and crisp acidity, as well as surprising complexity for its price.

Cline 2018 Viognier “North Coast” ($11): Impressive all-around, especially for the cost. Beautiful hue, strength and complexity on both nose and palate, forward personality and great length. Far out-performs its price.

Domaine Laurier non-vintage sparkling wine “Brut, California” ($11): Exceptional for its cost, the bubbles are mouth-filling, and there’s strength on the palate with crisp fruit, as well as complexity, integration and an extended finish.

Farmhouse 2017 white blend “Natural, California” ($11): This intriguing blend of six grapes has fine texture on the attack, followed by development of enjoyable fruit, acidity, complexity and length.

Lesse-Fitch 2017 Chardonnay “California” ($12): This personal favorite among modestly oaked Chards is a bit light on the eye and nose, but attractive on the palate with strong fruit, excellent balance, pleasing complexity and impressive length.

MAN 2018 Chenin Blanc “Coastal Region, South Africa” ($12): Strong all-around with character, forward fruit, clear crispness and very appealing complexity, all of which carry through a lingering finish.

Sea Pearl 2018 Sauvignon Blanc “Marlborough, New Zealand” ($12): My favorite among twenty Sauv Blancs tasted for this column. Sea Pearl is finely crafted and especially pleasing on the palate with well-balanced fruit, attractive complexity and prolonged length.

Marco Felluga 2017 white blend “Just Molamatta, Bianco, Friuli, Italy” ($14): This blend of Chardonnay and three other grapes has an expressive, lean-styled personality on the palate. Crispness, complexity and integration carry throughout an extended finish.

Alois Lageder 2017 Pinot Bianco “Dolomiti, Italy” ($15): Features a strong, lean personality with forward fruit, delightful crispness, very good complexity, seamless integration and excellent length, all belying its light color.

Anne Amie 2017 sparkling wine “Amrita, Cuvée A, Willamette Valley” ($15): Strong on the palate with well-balanced, attractive fruit combined with voluminous fizz, forward personality and a long finish.

Butternut 2017 Chardonnay “California” ($15): Appealing all-around, with strength and rounded body on the palate, robust but well-balanced fruit, medium-soft oak, pleasing complexity and lingering length.

Fess Parker 2017 Riesling “Santa Barbara County” ($15): Attractive across the board, featuring an attack with forward fruit and a bit of sweetness pairing with very good complexity, integration and length.

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Nobilissima 2017 Pinot Grigio “delle Venezie, Italy” ($15): My favorite among Pinot Grigios tasted for the column is expressive on the palate with finely balanced fruit, as well as complexity, refinement and extended finish.

Borealis (by Montinore) non-vintage white blend “Willamette Valley” ($16): This highly attractive blend of four grapes has pleasing color and a forward nose, as well as strength on the palate with full body and good balance, as well as fruit, complexity and character.

J. Wilkes 2017 Pinot Blanc “Santa Maria Valley” ($18): Appealing all-around, especially on palate with strength carrying from entry through lingering length, along with complexity, integration and refinement.

Kunde 2016 Chardonnay “Sonoma Valley” ($18): Yet another finely crafted Chardonnay from Kunde, with all-around quality exceeding its price. Beautiful to the eye, complex on the nose and highly pleasing on the palate over great length.

Fess Parker 2017 Chardonnay “Santa Barbara County” ($19): Loved the gorgeous color depth. Very strong, with an emphasis on fruit and fine crispness, with attractive complexity, integration and refinement through a prolonged finish.

King Estate 2017 Pinot Gris “Willamette Valley” ($19): This Oregonian outperforms its price, especially on the palate. Strong with delicious, well-balanced fruit, appealing complexity and an elongated finish.

Ponzi 2017 Pinot Gris “Willamette Valley” ($19): This smooth drinking, strong, well-rounded Pinot Gris is finely crafted with forward fruit and a style richer than typical for Oregon bottlings.

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John Vankat’s Wine Pick of the Week is published every Wednesday. Wines can be ordered from local wine stores unless indicated otherwise.  Prices may vary.  John can be reached at azpinewine@yahoo.com.

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