From the big box stores to the national chains to your neighborhood grocery store, you can find excellent selections for those occasions when easy sipping and value are the order of the day, rather than delving into the nuances of expensive rare wine. Here are recommended finds from over the past two months. The wines are listed according to my cost, from lowest to highest. For the best prices and sources, check Wine-Searcher. Cheers!


  • Value Santa Ynez Valley, Calif., Sauvignon Blanc, 2022 Brander ($15 Total Wines). Light-mid straw green gold; viscous (13.5 alc.); herbaceous, citrus, cut hay nose; mid+acids; mid+ body; good depth of fruit; semi-long crisp finish. w/appetizers. 15.5-16 UC Davis scale, 89-90 other scales.
  • Paso Robles 2022 Daou Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc ($15 Costco). Sharp mid-gold, some viscosity (13.7 alc.); citrus, herbaceous, cut grass nose; low-mid acids; balanced; medium fruit; easy sipping semi-long citrus finish. w/appetizers. 15-15.5/88-89.
  • $15 (Costco) Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2021 King Estate Pinot Gris. Light-mid green gold; viscous (13.5 alc.); green fruit, pear, light floral nose; mid-acids, body; semi-long fruity finish. Easy-sipping warm-weather wine, parties, and appetizers. 15.5/89.

    King Estate

  • Napa 2022 Silverado Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Block Blend ($15). Sharp mid-straw-green-gold, viscous (13.9 alc.); citrus, lime, boxwood, herbaceous nose; low-mid acids; mid-body/fruit; semi-long, semi-lush citrus finish. Easy sipping picnic and party wine. 15.5-16/89-90.
  • Monterey County, Calif., ($16, grocery store; $15 Costco) 2021 Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Single Vineyard Riva Ranch. Sharp mid-gold, viscous (13.5 alc.); citrus, lime, tropical, wine lees nose; low-mid acids; mid-depths; long tropical, semi-fat finish. 15/88.
  • Paso Robles, Calif., Viognier, 2021 San Simeon ($16, grocery store). Sharp mid-green gold, viscous (14.9 alc.); pear, green fruit, mint nose; mid acids; round, semi-lush hot finish (some residual sugar?). Easy sipping party, appetizer wine. 15/88.


  • Easy sipping $14 2021 Martin Ray Rosé of Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast. Mid-dark salmon, some viscosity (13.2 alc.); strawberry, floral, sorbet-like nose; low-mid acids; balanced; short, thin finish; good party, picnic wine. 15/88.
  • Santa Barbara, Calif., 2021 Margerum Riviera Rosé ($17). Mid-pink/salmon; red fruit, floral, pomegranate, strawberry nose; mid acids; some depth, style; semi-long crisp red fruit finish. w/appetizers. 15.5/89.
  • Willamette Valley, Ore., 2021 Argyle Rosé, $22. Sharp mid-dark salmon, low viscosity (12.0 alc.); red fruit, strawberry, dried flowers, cinnamon nose; low-mid acids; mid-body; odd finish; old marmalade, jam. 15/88.
  • Paso Robles blend 2022 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé ($28). Grenache, 67%; Mourvedre, 21%; Counoise, 9%; Vermentino, 3%. Light-mid copper, low viscosity (12.5 alc.); floral, peachy, strawberry nose; low-mid acids; mid-body; good depth; semi-long red fruit finish. 16-16.5/90-91.

    Tablas Creek

  • Vinepair 25 for National Rosé Day. Includes under $50: Montinore Vivacé Prosecco Rosé 2021, $20; Mumm Napa Brut Rosé NV, $24; Avinyó Rosé Reserva Brut Cava NV, $30. Under $100: Gloria Ferrer Brut Rosé 2019, $62. Over $100: Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé NV, $100; Krug Rosé 27th Edition, $399.


  • Dry Creek Valley, Calif. 2020 Windemere Cabernet Sauvignon ($15 on sale at Costco). Mid-garnet, viscous (14.5 alc.); herbaceous, berry, cassis, red fruit nose; mid acids; mid+ tannins and depth; long grapey red fruit finish. w/beef stew. 15.5/89.
  • $17 California 2021 Banshee Pinot Noir Sonoma County. Light ruby, viscous (13.8 alc.); stemmy, red fruit, wood, cherry nose; mid acids/tannins; semi-tight red fruit finish; rounds out with a little air. w/pasta. 15.5/89.
  • $18 Argentina 2020 Altaland Malbec High Altitude. Dark purple, some viscosity (13.5 alc.); peppery, smokey, ripe grape and charcoal nose; mid acids; mid-full tannins; good depth; long semi-hot chewy finish. w/BBQ. 16/90.
  • Lujan de Uco, Mendoza, 2019 Trivento Malbec Golden Reserve ($18 Total Wine). Dark garnet, viscous (14.0 alc.); peppery, black fruit, ripe grape, licorice, and oak nose; mid acids; softening tannins; good fruit; balanced; long berry and wood finish. 16.5/91.
  • Value beef and burger wine. Lake County, Calif. 2020 High Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($18 Dark garnet, viscous (14.5 alc.); berries, herbaceous, mint nose; mid acids; mid tannins, softening, opens with air; long deep berry finish. 16/90.
  • Pleasing $20 Chilean value red 2020 Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon Cuvée Alexandre Apalta Vineyard. Mid-dark garnet, viscous (14.5 alc.); red fruit, cassis, herbaceous, berry, and Cabernet nose; mid acids, mid-full tannins; good depth; long semi-chewy Cabernet finish. w/grilled meats. 16.5/91.
  • Santa Ynez, Calif., GSM blend 2020 Beckmen Vineyards Cuvée Le Bec ($24). 51% Syrah, 38% Grenache, 6%^ Mourvedre, 5% Counoise. Mid-dark garnet, viscous (15.0 alc.); ripe grape, red fruit, pomegranate nose; mid+ acids; medium-full body; long fruity finish. Good BBQ and grill wine. 16/90.