Top Value Wines

Chateau Ste. Michelle's Columbia Valley riesling is a great compromise between sweet and dry.
Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Columbia Valley riesling is a great compromise
between sweet and dry.

By Wini Moranville

A great thing has happened over the 30-plus years I’ve been drinking wine: Inexpensive to moderately priced wines have become infinitely better. Not just drinkable, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Recently, I decided to compile a list of my top 10 all-time-favorite value wines in the $15-and-under category. It was fascinating to see where these wines came from. Interestingly enough–considering I’m an inveterate Francophile–not one of them hails from France. It’s not that France doesn’t send good, moderately priced bottles our way; the issue is chasing them down. I narrowed my list to wines that are widely available.

So, who’s sending good values our way? Out of 10 top picks, two hailed from Italy and three from Washington state. Italy in particular has done wonderful work with food-friendly reds. Forget the sour and austere Chiantis we suffered through once upon a time. Winemakers are crafting wines that offer food-friendly brightness with an approachably fruity appeal. Try Centine Rosso (Toscana; $11) to see what I mean.

Washington state also crafts stellar reds, but what I go back to again and again are the rieslings. At $10, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Columbia Valley riesling pulls off what few inexpensive rieslings can do: It strikes that midpoint between sweet and dry, where lusciousness and vibrancy meet to create unmistakable elegance.

Check out all the top 10 value wines on my blog here.

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