Years ago, I liked to write columns with titles like “10 tasty wines under $10.” I usually did it after I got a few emails from unhappy readers taking me to task for writing about wines they deemed too expensive.
“I’m not going to spend $30 on a bottle of wine unless the pope is coming to dinner,” one reader said.
I’m sympathetic. I’ve experienced kids, mortgages, car loans, college expenses and such. Also, I strongly believe we can find good wines at good prices.
But 10 under $10 is harder to do these days. Not impossible, probably — but a stretch.
So let’s try something easier — 10 tasty wines under $15.
It’s a popular price point, according to a couple of studies I came across.
One said 21 percent of Americans buy wine primarily on price. Another said 57 percent — even avid fans — buy fewer than five bottles a year priced over $15.
So here are some good, well-priced wines. Enjoy.
▪ 2014 Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc, California (sauvignon blanc with 5 percent viognier and a touch of riesling): This is a classic sauvignon blanc in the tart style, fruity and crisp and refreshing, with aromas of freshly cut grass and flavors of white peaches and minerals; $14.
▪ Nonvintage Columbia Winery Red Blend Columbia Valley Composition, Washington (41 percent cabernet sauvignon, 31 percent merlot, 12 percent syrah, 9 percent malbec, 3 percent petit verdot, 4 percent other): a quintessential winemaker’s wine from cool Washington state, with grapes from several vintages and six varieties put together to create a one-of-a-kind blend: spicy and fruity, with flavors of black cherries and black plums, soft tannins and crisp acids; $14.
▪ 2014 Charles & Charles Rosé, Columbia Valley, Washington (72 percent syrah, 8 percent mourvedre, 8 percent cabernet sauvignon, 6 percent grenache, 3 percent cinsault, 3 percent counoise): bright pink hue, flavors of ripe strawberries and minerals, nicely crisp; $12.
▪ 2014 McManis Family Vineyard Viognier, River Junction, California (100 percent viognier): Fermented cold in stainless steel to preserve its intense fruit, it has aromas and flavors of vanilla and spice; $11.
▪ 2013 Fetzer “Shaly Loam” Gewürztraminer, Monterey County, California: light, crisp and slightly sweet, with aromas and flavors of baked fruit and cinnamon; try it with spicy food. Oh, and say it “guh-VERTZ-tra-meener;” $10.
▪ 2014 Handcraft “Artisan Collection” Pinot Grigio, California: intense floral aromas, flavors of citrus and melons, light and crisp; $12.
▪ 2013 La Merika Chardonnay, Central Coast, California: aromas of lemons and apples, flavors of limes and minerals, round and ripe; $13.
▪ 2014 Alamos Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina (90 percent malbec, 6 percent syrah, 4 percent bonarda): aromas and flavors of black cherries and dark chocolate, firm tannins, full body; $13.
▪ 2012 Lange Twins Estate Zinfandel (100 percent zinfandel): hearty and ripe, with aromas and flavors of black cherries and plums; full-bodied; $14.
▪ 2012 Clayhouse Vineyard Adobe Red, Paso Robles, California (34 percent zinfandel, 39 percent petite sirah, 12 percent cabernet sauvignon, 10 percent syrah, 3 percent tempranillo, 2 percent malbec): another wide-ranging blend, made even more complex by aging in barrels of 70 percent French oak, 20 percent American oak and 10 percent Eastern European oak): soft and sweet, with flavors of jammy black plums and bittersweet chocolate; $14.