The weekend is here once again (odd how it does that—will have to investigate), and so it seems a couple of good affordable wines are in order. The Guigal should be easy to find; the Montpertuis will take some hunting, but it's worth buying by the case if you can find it.
2006 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc ($14) You could drop a couple of hundred bucks or so on Guigal's Ex Voto Ermitage and have one of the great whites of the Rhône, no doubt, but if you exist in the same sort of financial realm as me, a crisp, minerally white Rhône with appealing peach, spice and lemon rind notes for under $20 sounds like a great idea, which this is. (55% Viognier, the rest Roussanne, Marsanne, Bourbolenc, Clairette & Grenache Blanc)
2005 Domaine de Montpertuis Vignoble de la Ramiere Cuvée Counoise ($12) I picked this up at Astor Wines the other day, operating under the basic principle that if Neal Rosenthal is importing it, at the very least it's going to be interesting, and usually it's going to be much better than that. Once again, this proved true. I love this unpretentious red, its scent of wild berry liqueurs, its abundance of bright, luscious fruit, its lightly earthy finish. Just terrific, and an utter no-brainer at the price.