10 Essential California Wines for $20 or Less
2014 Bogle Petite Sirah ($11)
Bogle, a Petite Sirah specialist, has mastered the trick of expressing the variety’s intense blueberry fruit without making it dense or heavy. Buy from wine.com
2014 Cline Lodi Zinfandel ($11)
Cline’s wealth of old-vine plots throughout the Lodi region means they can sell this robust, spicy wine for far less than it deserves. Buy from wine.com
2015 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier ($13)
2016 Brander Los Olivos District Sauvignon Blanc ($16)
Most bargain Sauvignon offers in-your-face citrus flavor and little else. This one is flinty and savory, with a subtle lemon oil note.
2015 Vina Robles White4 ($16)
An oddball blend of grapes (Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdelho and Vermentino) comes together in this exotically floral, spicy, melony white.
2014 Foxglove Chardonnay ($17)
Mango and citrus fruit shade into stony notes in this terrific Chardonnay from Pinot Noir specialists Bob and Jim Varner.
2013 Cameron Hughes Lot 484 Napa Valley Meritage ($19)
If you want a Napa red that will fool guests into thinking it costs at least twice the price, this plush Merlot-Cabernet blend is one to seek out.
2015 Fossil Point Pinot Noir ($17)
Cooling coastal winds in the Edna Valley help keep the black cherry flavors of this Pinot taut and lively; a hint of oaky spice adds complexity. Buy from wine.com
2014 Cambria Tepusquet Vineyard Viognier ($20)
A white with the rich appeal of classic California Chardonnay, but without the buttery notes. Instead, it’s just lovely, straight-up peach-citrus fruit.
2014 Calera Central Coast Chardonnay ($19)
Unbeatable for the price, this sleek quince-scented white, enriched by a faint brown-butter note, could pass for a good village Meursault. Buy from wine.com