This may be a new category, but we are always looking for good values in daily wines (vin ordinaire to the French) with a high quality-to-value ratio (QVR). This includes for easy-sipping with friends on a casual evening, enjoying a picnic and a local beach or park, or hosting a larger event for Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, or Fourth of July (we’ll leave Cinco de Mayo to the Tequila crowd).

Here are recent finds from $13 to $33. Cheers!

WHITES

  • Value ($13 Costco) NZ, Marlborough, 2022 Barker’s Marque Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Three Brooms Single Vineyard. Sharp, light green gold; herbaceous, citrus, pyrazine nose; mid+acids; some depth; semi-long citrus finish. w/appetizers, cheeses. 15/88.
  • Easy-sipping $14 value (Costco) California Chardonnay 2022 La Crema Sonoma Coast. Sharp mid-gold, viscous (13.5 alc.); tropical, peachy, lime nose; low-mid acids; mid body; decent fruit for the price; semi-long varietal finish. 14.5/87.
  • Easy-sipping $15 (Costco) 2022 La Crema Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County. Pale green/gold, viscous (13.5 alc.); new-mown hay, herbaceous, lime nose; low-mid acids; mid-depth; soft fruity finish. 15.5/89.
  • $18 value (WTSO) Spanish Albarino 2022 Rectoral Do Umia Rías Baixas. Sharp mid gold; saline, green fruit, Granny Smith apple nose; mid+ acids; mid-body; tight, tart, crisp finish. w/seafood appetizers. 15/88.

Craggy Range

  • Value $22 Hawkes Bay, NZ, 2021 Craggy Range Chardonnay Single Vineyard Kidnappers Vineyard. Pale straw-gold; oaky, peachy, wine lees nose (13.2 alc.); low-mid acids; fatter style; round, ripe, oaky finish. 16.5/91.
  • Value Marlborough, NZ, 2022 Astrolabe Wines Pinot Gris ($23). Pale straw, some viscosity (13.5 alc.); weedy, green fruit, citrus nose; low-mid acids; mid fruit; better flavor than nose; semi-long fruity finish. Easy sipping appetizer, party wine. 16/90. /HOOT 3/28/24
  • $24 value 2020 Domaine Riffault Sancerre Cortem à bâtis. Sharp mid-green gold; flinty, citrus, herbaceous, new-mown lawn nose; mid acids; mid-depth; balanced; long semi-lush citrus finish. w/shrimp appetizers. 16/90.

REDS

  • $20 Central Coast, Calif., 2021 Joey Tensley Cabernet Sauvignon Fundamental. Mid-garnet, viscous (13.5 alc.); herbaceous, berry, pepper, red fruit nose; low-mid acids; mid tannins; balanced; round tasty red fruit finish. 16/90.
  • $20 French value 2019 Château Bel-Air Lussac-St. Émilion (70% Merlot, 15% each Cab Sauv, Cab Franc). Mid garnet, viscous (14.0 alc.); berries, herbaceous, red fruit nose; low-mid acids; mid tannins; semi-round short red fruit finish. 15.5/89.
  • $20 value Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 Iter. Mid-ruby, viscous (13.9 alc.); berries, herbaceous, mint Napa nose; mid acids/tannin; different softer style on the finish; chalky. 16/90.
  • Excellent $22 Primitivo (Zinfandel) Puglia, Italy, 2019 Terre Carsiche Gioia del Colle Fanova. Mid-dark garnet, viscous (14.5 alc.); ripe grapes, brambles, Manzanita, red and black fruit nose; mid acids; mid+ tannins; softening; round, ripe, fruity finish; nice style. w/flank steak. 17/92.
  • $23 Chilean nicely evolving value wine 2020 Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon Cuvée Alexandre Apalta Vineyard. Dark garnet, viscous (14.5 alc.); berries, herbaceous, berry, mint, wood nose; mid acids; mid+tannins, softening; mid-body, good depth for the price; semi-long red fruit and berry finish. 16.5/91.

Lapostolle

  • Fine value single vineyard Beaujolais Cru 2021 Domaine Lucien Lardy Fleurie Le Vivier ($25). Sharp, light-mid ruby, viscous (13.5 alc.); earthy, floral, dried leaves, earthy red fruit nose; low acids, low-mid tannins; tight, slightly tart red fruit, earthy finish. 16/90.
  • Beaujolais Cru 2021 Domaine Anita Moulin-à-Vent Coeur de Vigneronne ($33). Sharp mid-garnet, viscous (13.0 alc.); bright red fruit, earthy, smokey, mineral nose; low-mid acids; low-mid tannins; semi-long stylish, deep, tasty finish. 16.5/91