2007 Calera Central Coast Chardonnay ($16)
This rich, round, judiciously oaked white comes from one of California’s most respected winemakers, Josh Jensen, who creates it with grapes from throughout the Central Coast.
More Great Wine Values
2007 Peñalolén Sauvignon Blanc ($12)
The Limarí Valley, which receives cooling breezes right off the Pacific Ocean, has become one of Chile’s top sources for Sauvignon Blanc. This zippy, orange- and grapefruit-inflected white is from a terrific vintage in Chile’s coastal regions.
- 5 Smart Tips for Holiday Wine Buying
- Holiday Wines | Tip 2: Look for Wine Screw Caps
- Holiday Wines | Tip 3: Select Food-Friendly Wines
- Holiday Wines | Tip 4: Pick Affordable Sparkling Wines
- Holiday Wines | Tip 5: Use Terrific $12-and-Under Wines for Punch
2006 Casa Silva Reserva Carmenère ($15)
Many of Casa Silva’s vines are 90 years old or more, carried from Bordeaux to Chile by the winery’s French founding family. Among them would have been some Carmenère vines, a native Bordeaux variety that makes spicy, dark- fruited, juicy reds like this one.
2003 Château Lagrezette Zette Malbec ($13)
Alain Perrin, the bearded, voluble owner of France’s Château Lagrezette, has said about this wine, “This is a real Malbec, from France—where the grape was born!” Regardless of his challenge to Argentina’s success with the varietal, Perrin does make very good wines. Zette, his most affordable bottling, has luscious spice and blackberry liqueur notes.
2006 Cantina Frentana Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Terre Valse ($11)
This earthy, dark, berry-rich red comes from vineyards midway between Italy’s Apennine mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Cantina Frentana, the producer, is a cooperative of more than 400 grape growers.
2005 Edna Valley Vineyard Paragon Vineyard Syrah ($18)
2004 Il Molino di Grace Il Volano Rosso di Toscana ($15)
American entrepreneur Frank Grace purchased this 1,000-year-old Tuscan estate in 1995. He then hired star consulting winemaker Franco Bernabei to help produce bottlings like this berry-rich Sangiovese blend.
2007 Luigi Bosca Reserva Chardonnay ($18)
The grapes for this tropical-fruited, focused Argentine Chardonnay come from a vineyard more than 2,900 feet above sea level in Mendoza. The Arizu family, which owns Luigi Bosca, has been farming in the surrounding area since 1901.
2007 Robert Oatley Chardonnay ($18)
Robert Oatley made his name as the founder of Australian producer Rosemount Estate. After selling Rosemount in 2001, Oatley waited a few years before starting his own eponymous wine company, which focuses on affordable choices. Among its initial releases is this crisp, engaging, pear-inflected Chardonnay.
2006 Cavallotto Dolcetto d’Alba Vigna Scot ($22)
Floral berry aromas and graceful mulberry and blueberry fruit define this beautifully composed Dolcetto from a family that has been making top quality wine in Italy’s Piedmont region for five generations now.