Food & Wine magazine tasted more than 300 affordable American wines to come up with their list of the 67 Best Value American Wines in the April American Wine issue. These wines are great to buy by the case for everyday drinking and casual entertaining.
1. Chardonnay: 2005 Pine & Post Washington Chardonnay ($6)
- Washington State is producing absolutely terrific wines lately, and they’re usually less expensive than California wines of similar quality. Not just Chardonnay, too—also reds like Cabernet and Syrah, and Riesling
- This Chardonnay is crisp with spicy oak notes balanced against lively apple and apricot fruit, and it’s only $6!
2. Riesling: 2006 Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling ($12)
- This is another Washington State wine. And it’s a Riesling. Rieslings have been growing hugely in popularity over the past couple of years, partly thanks to wines like this one. Most people think of Riesling as sweet, but dry Rieslings (like this one) are incredible food wines
- This one has great acidity, apple-and-peach fruit, and a zesty finish.
3. Cabernet Sauvignon: 2005 Hayman & Hill Napa Valley Reserve Selection Cabernet ($15)
- So: it’s almost impossible to find Napa Valley Cabernet for under $20 these days — it’s the most prestigious Cabernet region in the U.S. — but somehow these guys did it.
- Aromatic mint notes and firm black-cherry fruit define this polished Cabernet.
4. Pinot Noir: 2006 Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot Noir ($12)
- Pinot Noir is the hottest grape variety out there; it’s so popular there aren’t even enough grapes to satisfy demand. This means a lot of cheap Pinots are made from pretty bad fruit, but these guys at Castle Rock must have great connections, because all of their Pinots—which are all affordable—are really good.
- This one’s medium-bodied, with nice herbal notes.
5. Petite Sirah: 2006 McManis Family Estate Petite Sirah ($11)
- This intense, firmly tannic red comes from a family that’s been growing grapes south of Lodi since 1938.
- Lodi is a great up-and-coming value region. It’s got a warm climate and long history of grape growing, but for years most of the grapes grown there were sold to big producers like Gallo; now more and more good, affordable brands are popping up that are based there.
For more great wine picks go to foodandwine.com.