Fail-Safe Value Wines:
Bogle Vineyards California Petite Sirah ($11)
Bogle makes a lot of different wines from its 1,200 acres of vineyards in California’s Sacramento Delta region, but this powerful, peppery red is always one of the best.
Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc ($12)
Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red ($12)
Dusty, gamey and rich, this Zinfandel-based blend has been terrific ever since winemaker Chris Bilbro first released it back in 1980.
Chateau St. Jean Fumé Blanc Sonoma County ($13)
A light touch of oak makes Chateau St. Jean’s popular, melony Fumé Blanc (a term that Robert Mondavi coined for Sauvignon Blanc back in the 1970s) more luscious and rounded than most Sauvignons.
Rosenblum Cellars Vintner’s Cuvée Zinfandel ($13)
This nonvintage Zinfandel-dominated blend is always intensely fruity and rich, with a good measure of spicy tannins at the end.