Wines Under $20
FoodandWine

Nothing like tasting 15 or 20 wines and coming up with bupkus. A few Santa Cruz Mountain Pinots—yark. (A pity, too, because I had higher hopes for them.) Rap star Lil' Jon's new Little Jonathon Merlot from Monterey? Yikers. An intriguing Côtes du Luberon red? Hurg! If I wanted a glassful of pure brett, I'd buy a petri dish.*

Anyway. Two wines I did like were:

2007 La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Luberon White ($8) Not long on complexity, but this cheerful French white had a lot of very appealing pear and apple fruit and a touch of earthiness. Equal parts Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, and Ugni Blanc, with a touch of Roussanne. And no, the Luberon red that was so heinous was not these guys.

2007 Foxglove Chardonnay ($12) Bob Varner of Varner Wines has been making this unoaked, second-label Chardonnay for several years now, and each vintage it impresses me with its balance, crisp apricot-melon fruit and ebullient aroma. It's not everywhere in the country, but it's in most major markets, and there's enough of it to go around.

*About brett, before various friends of mine who are more on the green/natural/funky wine front take me out back and force me to eat spelt or something. I don't mind a certain amount of brett, particularly in some wines; no brett, no ’89 Beaucastel, after all. But there's a difference between funky and foul, just as there's a difference between indulging your inner-Euro-ness & skipping the deodorant versus not bathing for six months.

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