$10 and under
La Playa Sauvignon Blanc, $9
Score: 86 Another in a long line of incredible bargains from Chile. Syrupy and jammed with tropical fruit flavors, especially pineapple. Delicious enough to drink before dinner, but really shines with a salty/rich dish like Snapper Veracruz.
Tyrrell Long Flat Red, $7
Score: 87 An amalgam of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec, Tyrrell's Long Flat Red is a perfect example of why Australians are ruling the low price red wine market. Intense, plum fruit with a bang of pepper and a nice, long finish. An incredible bargain, and a perfect match with a grilled steak or slow-cooked barbecued beef.
$20 and under
Santino Viognier, $11
Score: 89 Most people have never tasted a Viognier (pronounced VEE-ohn-yay). A white grape that comes from the Rhone Valley of France, Viognier has a powerful floral-and-fruit aroma. Think honeysuckle, apricots, and pears. This wine, from California, is a terrific-tasting wine with enough concentration to belie its modest cost. A marvelous match with Thai food, or just what the doctor ordered with crab cakes.
Whitehall Lane Merlot, $20
Score: 94 Ever wonder what those $100 bottles of wine taste like? Here's the real thing. Thick, intense, jammed with fruit, yet perfectly balanced with acid and oak. Many winemakers would charge $50-100 for this wine. You can find it for $20, though. Save this one for something fancy like rack of lamb or prime rib.
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