Whenever I stop by PJ Wine here in New York, I know I’ll walk away with a real bargain or two. The store, a huge fluorescent-lit warehouse with about as much charm as a Home Depot, is known for its low prices as much as the volume and quality of its wines. Most of the inventory stands on a huge wall of metal shelves on one side of the store, and it was there, browsing the wines of Spain (PJ specializes in them), that I found one of the best values I’ve come across in recent months.
Bodegas Borsao's 2011 White is from the Campo de Borja region of Aragon in northern Spain. At $7, the price was certainly appealing enough. But would the wine, which is made from the viura grape (also known as macabeo), amount to anything more than another drinkable but forgettable entry in the under-$10 market?
With modest expectations, I untwisted the screw cap and poured myself a glass. After the first sip I knew I was tasting an unusual wine for the price. Complexity is rare in this part of the wine spectrum, but Borsao's White has a good deal of it. The tastes suggest white peach and tropical fruit, including kiwi and papaya, softened by a nuanced layer of vanilla from a few months of oak aging. There's even some minerality as well as a hint of orange peel and an herb note on the quite long finish.
This beautifully balanced wine will work well with all kinds of fish and chicken dishes and is delicious on its own. I can’t think of a better white to serve to lots of people at a party. Although I paid $7 for it, Wine-Searcher puts the average price at $8. Either way, this best buy is one to stock up on for great drinking this summer and beyond. (A Jorge Ordoñez Selection, imported by Tempranillo, Inc., New Rochelle, N.Y.)