20 Wines Under $20: A Little More Money For A Lot More Wine
Domaine Bru-Baché Jurançon Sec 2015 $19.99
I love the white wines of the far southwest of France regions like Irouléguy and Jurançon, the source of this wine. It’s made purely of biodynamically farmed gros manseng, which, with its sibling petit manseng, is vastly underappreciated. This wine is bone dry, with flavors that remind me of spiced apricots, if you can imagine such a thing. (Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant)
Bonny Doon Vineyard Clos de Gilroy Monterey County Grenache 2017 $16.96
The focus of Bonny Doon is increasingly on the wines from its Popelouchum Vineyard, which have been fascinating. But it continues to offer greatest hits, made from purchased grapes, like the perennially winning Clos de Gilroy, a Monterey grenache made with a blessedly light hand. With its flavors of red fruit and earth, this wine is thirst-quenching and goes down easy.
Rogue Vine Itata Valley Grand Itata Blanco 2016 $19.96
Southern Chile gets far less attention than the famous regions of the center and north, but with stands of old vines and interesting terroirs, southern regions like the Itata Valley have great potential. This wine is 55 percent of moscatel, most likely a synonym for muscat of Alexandria, and 45 percent riesling. It’s exuberantly floral and exotically fruity, and bone-dry and earthy on the palate. Rogue is a partnership between Leonardo Erazo, the winemaker at the excellent Altos Las Hormigas in Mendoza, Argentina, and Justin Decker, a wine enthusiast from Indiana who moved to Chile. (Brazos Wine Imports, Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Broadside Paso Robles Margarita Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 $19.96
The Broadside Margarita is an old favorite, a great value year in and year out. This is cabernet sauvignon that tastes like cabernet used to taste, darkly fruity but with discernible herbal aromas and flavors that are essential to the complete cabernet experience. The 2016 is perhaps a bit riper than other vintages, with maybe a touch of oak, but it’s balanced and lovely.
Guillaume Clusel Coteaux du Lyonnais Traboules 2017 $18.99
The hills outside Lyon, just north of the Rhône Valley, are home to a light, juicy red made from the gamay grape. This excellent example from Guillaume Clusel of the fine Côte-Rôtie producer Clusel-Roch, is aromatic and pure, simple, direct and just plain delicious. (A Daniel Johnnes Wine/Grand Cru Selections, New York)
Domaine Filliatreau Saumur Champigny 2016 $19.96
The reds of the Loire Valley are almost always great values, particularly those from Saumur Champigny, a region that was once taken lightly but has shown great improvement in the last few decades. This is 100 percent cabernet franc, grown on limestone and clay. It’s on the easy end of the scale, with just a touch of a tannic spine, dry on the palate with flavors of earthy red fruits and flowers. (Louis/Dressner Selections, New York)
Grifalco Aglianico del Vulture Gricos 2016 $19.96
Aglianico, the great red grape of southern Italy, thrives most famously in the volcanic soils of Campania, but it’s just as good and sometimes even better when grown in the soils of the extinct Vulture volcano in Basilicata. This bottle from Grifalco, made with organic grapes, is rich, floral and deeply mineral. (SoilAir Selection, New York)