As we turn toward spring, here is a variety of bright, fresh, affordable wines from nine countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres:
Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut NV ($66). Rich and lively with vanilla and crème brûlée notes; very harmonious, very satisfying.
Bollinger Rosé Brut NV ($88). Bright fruit with great mineral notes, savory earthiness, and a crisp finish — beautiful.
Wither Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($14). Well balanced with herbal flavors, some lime, and lots of acidity.
Domaine Vincent Carême Vouvray 2012 ($15). Very refreshing and enjoyable with a flavor of crisp apple — peel and all.
La Follette North Coast Chardonnay 2014 ($22). Enjoyable fresh fruit with a fair amount of toasty oak, though it could use a little more backbone.
Wither Hills Rarangi Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($25). Big and firm with lots of green herbs, gooseberries, and lime peel.
Wither Hills Marlborough Rosé of Pinot Noir 2015 ($14). Flavors of lightly sweet cherries and a creamy finish.
Château d’Esclans “Rock Angel” Côtes de Provence Rosé 2015 ($31). Very well made, with light cherry flavors, good body, mineral touches, lactic notes, and a clean finish.
19 Crimes “The Banished” SE Australia Red Wine 2016 ($10). Quite sweet and jammy fruit with lots of perfumed vanilla oak.
Feuerheerd’s “Anchor Wine” Douro Vino Tinto 2013 ($11). Good tangy fruit, nice bitters around the edges, and light tannins.
François Lurton “Les Hauts de Janeil” Pays d’Oc Syrah-Grenache 2015 ($12). Smooth pastel fruit with a nice bite at the finish; fruity without being too sweet.
Ramos Vinho Regional Alentejano Reserva 2013 ($12). Nice raspberry flavors, a hint of smoke, and a lean finish — an enjoyable wine that is on the edge of being much more.
Tommasi Rompicollo Toscana Red Wine IGT 2014 ($14). Shows a combination of dark cherries, savory herbs, and old-barrel flavors, but is a little weak on the finish.
Trivento Amado Sur Mendoza Malbec 2014 ($15). Rich and satisfying malbec with bonarda and syrah blended in; dried cherry fruits, green savory flavors, and a little yogurt creaminess in the finish.
Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2014 ($16). A lot like an Oregon pinot — generous, with cherries and sassafras flavors and a nice balance.
Meiomi Pinot Noir 2015 ($21). A big but well-made wine with grapes from three California coastal counties; rounded, ripe cherries with a whiff of vanilla bean.
Wither Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 ($22). Quite nice, especially for the price — rooty, with slightly tangy fruit and good acidity.
Tommasi Viticoltori Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2014 ($24). A lighter ripasso (meaning that some dried grapes are used in fermentation) with bright cherry flavors, lighter body, and good acidity.
Cultivate California Pinot Noir 2014 ($26). Lots of cola and root flavors, good balance, a fair amount of toasty oak, and good tannins.
Grous “Moon Harvested” Vinho Regional Alentejano 2013 ($27). A bit edgy, with an enjoyable combination of red and dark fruits, good barrel notes, and chocolate-edged tannins.
Masciarelli Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2011 ($27). Light red berry flavors, a note of cabernet-franc-like pencil lead, and good finishing acidity.
Beronia Rioja Gran Reserva 2006 ($32). Enjoyable — a complex blend of ripe cherries, minerality, traces of pencil lead, savory notes, coffee, and tannins.
Psagot M-Series Jerusalem Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($41). On the red berry end of cabernet — think tart cranberries — with firm tannins.
Frescobaldi Castello Nippozzano Montesodi Toscana 2012 ($43). Very nice, with lively flavors of blackberries, leather, and oak, a lean finish, enjoyable tannins, and good acidity.
Star Lane Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($50). A bargain at the price, with warm, ripe berries elegantly blended with subtle oak — very smooth, with no rough edges. Delicious.