Liquid Assets

Great white wines under $10

Liquid Assets

Ste. Genevieve Sauvignon Blanc ($7) Notice the nice price? That's for a 1.5 liter bottle of wine, in other words, two normal-sized bottles. You're paying the equivalent of $3.50 per bottle. Winemaker Mark Penna blends the prior three vintages to make sure that the flavors are consistent from year to year. What you get for the rock-bottom price is a clean taste that will remind you of lemons and pineapples. This is Penna's favorite Ste. Genevieve wine. It's a stunning bargain.

Pheasant Ridge Chenin Blanc ($6) This is a bone-dry Chenin Blanc. Most American producers leave some residual sugar in the wine. Pheasant Ridge's grapes from New Deal, Texas, have exotic, smoky, and fruity flavors. For some unknown reason, the market has never taken to Chenin Blanc, so the prices are artificially cheap. The wine is a perfect Chardonnay replacement.

Pepperwood Grove Viognier ($7) This is a real revelation. Even though most Viogniers are in the $15-plus range, people are willing to shell it out for the complex peach-and-pear aromas and delicious flavors. Pepperwood Grove is a value-based venture by Don Sebastiani (ex-CEO of Sebastiani Vineyards) and his brother-in-law, Roy Cecchetti. Their entire line is worth checking out, especially their Syrah, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Franc. All Pepperwood Grove wines cost about $7.

Meridian Chardonnay ($8) For fans of big-boned California Chardonnays, this Meridian wine offers incredible value for the money. In your mouth, the wine feels almost as thick as maple syrup. You can smell the powerful pineapple aromas five feet away. The flavors are so intense and concentrated, they're almost confrontational. The $8 price is absurdly low. It's like laying down your money for a Corolla and having Toyota give you a Lexus.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ste. Genevieve Sauvignon Blanc, Mark Penna, Pheasant Ridge Chenin Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pepperwood Grove Viognier, Don Sebastiani, Roy Cecchetti, Meridian Chardonnay

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