Even though we've theoretically recovered from the budgetary excesses occasioned by the holidays by now, it is still a pleasure to discover well-priced wines. The following four, two whites and two reds, will hurt neither your reputation as a wine-lover nor your pocketbook, and they pair really well with simpler seasonal foods, such as simply roasted poultry, meats, and vegetables.
Château La Rame 2014 ($17)
This well-priced white Bordeaux is simple, fresh wine with a touch of grapefruit in the nose and on the palate, light body, and a refreshingly, lightly acidic and somewhat grassy finish. A sauvignon blanc–sémillon blend with a bit of muscadelle, it has relatively low alcohol, and would be a perfect apéritif wine or an easy partner for a casual meal.
Château Tour Léognon 2014 ($20)
This wine scores among my new favorite budget-friendly whites. Fresh, with good fruit, plush mouthfeel, and refreshing acidity, it pairs really well with casual fare, and yet has enough heft and interest to stand alone. A blend of 70 percent sauvignon blanc and 30 percent sémillon, from young vines on a 12-acre plot with gravel, clay, and limestone, the wine is barrel-fermented and aged just nine months in 25 percent new oak. A real find at this price point.
Château La Grolet 2012 ($16)
This vin biologique from the Côtes du Bourg is a classic 70-percent-merlot, 30-percent-cabernet sauvignon blend. With dark fruit evident in the nose and on the palate, it is saved from excessive fruitiness by a hint of tobacco and well-integrated tannins in the finish. The mouthfeel is pleasantly round, and the wine would pair extremely well with a beef daube or other stew.
Château Poujeaux 2010 ($47)
While substantially pricier than the bargains listed above, this wine, from Moulis-en-Médoc, is still an amazing value at under $50. A luscious blend of cabernet sauvignon (48 percent), merlot (45 percent), petit verdot (5 percent), and cabernet franc (2 percent), it opens with rich, ripe, dark plums and blackberries; then mineral and rock elements emerge, and there is a touch of tea and tobacco in the elegant finish. This is a medium-bodied wine with a generous mouthfeel and a moderately long finish featuring beautifully integrated tannins — and it is extremely food-friendly.