The wine regions of Northern California make lots of expensive Cabernets. But they also produce many amazing values, from crisp Sauvignon Blancs to lush, fruity Zinfandels.

April 01, 2009

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Northern California Bottles:

2006 Husch Anderson Valley Gewürztraminer ($14)

Despite a hint of sweetness, this spicy white from the Anderson Valley’s oldest producer comes off as dry and focused, with peach and rose-petal notes.

2004 Three Families Mendocino Merlot ($14)

Full of plum and pepper, this Merlot from Mendocino expresses just what the varietal ought to: dark, ripe fruit with a slightly wild, spicy edge.

2005 Sawbuck Cabernet Sauvignon ($10)

Mendocino is known for cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, but this juicy red proves that good Cabernet grows there as well.

2007 Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc ($13)

Winemaker Pat Henderson uses fruit from five different Sonoma appellations for this bright white. Its ripe flavors suggest fresh honeydew melon and a hint of smoke.

2007 Sobon Estate Old Vines Zinfandel ($13)

This wine is Zinfandel at its jammy, blackberry-rich apogee, which is something that Amador County’s warm climate helps ensure.

2005 Trentadue Old Patch Red ($13)

This ripe, spicy blend of Zinfandel and other grapes is still partly sourced from the 1890s-era vineyard that inspired its name.

2007 Gallo Family Vineyards Sonoma Reserve Pinot Gris ($15)

Gallo makes good Pinot Gris under several different labels. This one’s a great value, full of nectarine and peach notes.

2007 Luna Vineyards Freakout ($15)

Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Ribolla Gialla, all from Napa Valley, go into this fresh, surprisingly fleshy white.