24 Affordable Reds and Whites (and 1 Sweet Wine) From France and California
Let’s say it again: For every red or white Bordeaux that sells for three digits a bottle, there are dozens more that are quite affordable. Most fall in the price range between entry-level wines from Spain and pricier bottles from California. Here is a selection of new releases in that category, along with a good choice of bottles from California itself:
Château de Parenchère Bordeaux Blanc Sec 2014 ($13). Fresh fruitiness with citrus notes and good balancing acidity without being severe.
Château de Champ des Treilles “Vin Passion” Bordeaux Blanc 2015 ($16). Fullish with lots of apple flavors and neutral wood notes.
Château Marjosse Entre-Deux-Mers 2014 ($16). Very nice, with silky fruit — kiwi and lime — and firmness in the finish.
Gran Vinum Nessa Albarino 2015 ($16). Juicy with a few citrus notes accenting the fresh-apple flavors.
Clos des Lunes “Lune Blanche” 2014 ($20). Lots of minerality with firm, dried-apple flavors.
Château de Cérons Graves Blanc 2013 ($36). Quite enjoyable, with bright green flavors — tart apple meets gooseberries — and lots of mineral notes in the finish.
Albatross Ridge Carmel Valley Chardonnay 2014 ($55). Ripe fruit meets mellow wood, and the result is a full-bodied wine with a lean finish.
Château Tire Pé “Diem” ($13). A tart, flavorful red Bordeaux with red fruits, savory spices, and a lean finish.
Barons de Rothschild Lafite Legende 2014 ($15). Lean and a little gamey, with mainly red raspberry and other red-fruit flavors.
Château les Charmes-Godard Franc 2014 ($20). A somewhat mellow wine in the beginning, but with a piquant, tart finish.
Barton & Guestier Bordeaux Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($21). Nice and straightforward with medium body, dark-cherry flavors, and savory undertones.
Château Mauvesin Barton Moulis-en-Medoc 2012 ($21). An enjoyable mix of neutral woodiness, dark fruit flavors, and moderate tannins — a good food wine.
La Cuvèe Bistrot de Puy Arnaud 2013 ($26). Light and lean with tangy cherry flavors along with some vegetal notes.
Grand Vin de Reignac 2010 ($26). Enjoyable, full of creamy fruit bordered with savory tannins.
Château du Jaugueyron 2012 ($28). Nice, plump fruit — well-structured with pleasing savory notes and good tannins.
Dame de Coeur du Château Peyfaures 2010 ($30). Very good combination of dark cherry fruits, chocolate brownies, and dusty tannins.
Château la Grave Fronsac 2011 ($32). Herbal, with some meaty, savory notes to underpin the cherry fruit.
Ravenswood Big River Alexander Valley Zinfandel 2014 ($35). Just a delicious wine — big, fruity, rich, complex, very supple — although the 15.2 percent alcohol will be too much for some drinkers.
Ravenswood Dickerson Napa Valley Zinfandel 2014 ($37). Pure blackberry fruit, juicy, with a dark, earthy finish — big, tannic, and just lovely.
Mount Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($44). A delicious wine that blends dark fruit with supple earthy and savory flavors, finishing with ripe, chocolate-laced tannins.
The Prisoner Napa Valley Red Wine 2015 ($45). One for those who like big (15.2 percent alcohol), fruit-forward, sweetish reds.
Ravenswood Old Hill Sonoma Valley Zinfandel 2014 ($50). Full, ripe, and rounded with great cherry fruit and enjoyable tannins.
Albatross Ridge Carmel Valley Pinot Noir 2014 ($55). Toward a Burgundy style — lean with fruit that pops out, and with some piquancy.
Robert Mondavi Carneros Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 ($61). A good progression of textures and flavors — lots of rooty and dark cherry fruit and firm structure; full with a crisp finish.
Château du Seuil Cerons 2014 ($32/500 ml). A complex sweet wine that would go well with blue cheese and fresh fruit — mellow apple flavors mixed with dark green notes, some waxiness, and a firm, well-balanced body.