These superreliable wines have crowd-pleasing flavors and go well with a wide range of foods, from appetizers to main courses, making them ideal for bringing to a dinner (or other) party.

By Ray Isle
Updated March 31, 2015


2006 Casa Julia Sauvignon Blanc ($9)

This lively white, made by top Chilean winemaker Pablo Morandé, has bright lemon-lime notes and a tangy finish.

Photo: Patrick Monteleone/Harry’s Wine & Liquor Market

2006 Maculan Pino & Toi ($12)

Based at the foot of the Italian Alps, the Maculan family has become known over three generations for impressive wines like this wildly floral blend of Tocai, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio.

Photo: Patrick Monteleone/Harry’s Wine & Liquor Market

2007 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc–Viognier ($14)

Floral scents lead into ripe, round melon flavors in this luscious Napa Valley white.

Photo: Courtesy of Pine Ridge

2006 A to Z Wineworks Oregon Chardonnay ($16)

In a little more than five years, A to Z has become Oregon’s biggest wine producer. Focused apple flavors drive the flavor of its clean, unoaked Chardonnay.

Photo: Doreen Wynja, Eye of the Lady

2007 Bodegas Godeval Viña Godeval ($19)

More than 2,000 years ago, Romans mined Spain’s Valdeorras region for gold; today, the area is better known for citrusy whites like this one.


2004 Librandi Cirò Rosso ($10)

This pale, smoky red, with the flavor and scent of sweet dried cherries, is made from the Gaglioppo grape variety, native to the southern Italian region of Calabria.

Photo: Courtesy of Librandi

2005 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Columbia Valley Merlot ($13)

This dark Merlot from Washington state is so luscious that it’s hard to stop drinking it.

Photo © 2008 Columbia Crest

2006 Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot Noir ($12)

Consulting winemaker August Briggs makes some of the best-value California Pinots around, like this lightly herbal Mendocino bottling.

Photo: Courtesy of Castle Rock

2005 Pascual Toso Cabernet Sauvignon ($12)

Argentine Cabernet this good—loaded with blackberry fruit and with enough tannin to give the wine structure—is hard to find, especially at such a low price.

Photo: Courtesy of TGIC Importers, Inc.

2005 Ravenswood Vintners Blend California Cabernet Sauvignon ($12)

Ravenswood’s most affordable Cabernet bottling is juicy and round, with sweet black fruit framed by just the right amount of tannin.

Photo: Courtesy Ravenswood Winery

Rosenblum Cellars Vintner’s Cuvée XXX ($12)

Rosenblum makes a wide range of Zinfandels, but one of the most engaging is usually its nonvintage Vintner’s Cuvée; it’s full of sweet blackberry flavor and an intriguing, briary spiciness.

Photo: Courtesy Rosenblum Cellars

2006 Finca El Portillo Malbec ($13)

Bright berry flavors and a soft, lush texture define this medium-bodied Malbec made in Argentina, from vines growing more than 3,000 feet above sea level.

Photo © Bodegas Salentein

2005 Domaine Paul Autard Côtes du Rhône ($15)

This polished red from France’s Rhône Valley has a distinctive black cherry character.

2005 La Carraia Sangiovese ($11)

Top Italian winemaker Riccardo Cotarella makes this juicy, eminently drinkable Umbrian Sangiovese, rich with berry flavors.

2006 Bodegas Volver ($16)

Spain’s vast central region of La Mancha is a great source for old-vine fruit, necessary for concentrated wines such as this one, bursting with black cherry and raspberry flavor.