The only good thing about junk mail is how easy it is to throw out, or light a fire with. And yet here we are at the end of January, when every letter and slice of paper in the mailbox must be sifted through in case a Christmas bill or tax form is overlooked.
As tempting as it is to burn those, too, it won't get you very far. It's time to buck up, and if need be, take on some fiscal responsibility. As a wine lover, that is never a first choice, obviously. We all want to drink Château Latour 1945 on a Tuesday night. Well, I do anyway, but that's probably not going to happen, not even on a Friday or Saturday night.
The point is that fiscal responsibility as a wine lover may not be preferable, but it is possible.
Case in point: the 10 wines detailed below. Each sells for $20 or less and earned an 88-point rating or higher on the Wine Spectator 100-point scale. That's a tough quality-to-price ratio to beat.
All of the wines are produced in good quantities and should be available in markets around the country. WineSpectactor.com subscribers can read more detailed reviews by clicking on the links.
So if you're broke on April 15, don't come complaining to me. I gave you 10 ways out. But—ahem—if you have any belt-tightening values you'd like to share with us all right now, I won't say no.
Château Haut Bergey Pessac-Léognan 2011 (90 points, $20)
Pleasantly bouncy with briary, floral plum and anise aromas.
Smith Riesling Columbia Valley Kung Fu Girl Evergreen 2012 (90, $12)
Expressive, vibrant and lusciously off-dry.
Ste. Michelle Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2012 (89, $11)
Sleek and lively with juicy pear and grapefruit flavors and refreshing acidity.
The Stump Jump Red McLaren Vale 2011 (89, $13)
A juicy Rhône blend with spicy plum flavors.
Loach Pinot Noir Central Coast 2012 (89, $20)
Firm yet rich with notes of lavender, dark berry and crushed rock.
Gott Sauvignon Blanc California 2012 (89, $12)
Fresh and vivid with honeysuckle aromas and melon flavors.
Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2010 (89, $17)
Distinctly Southern Rhône with dark and brambly plum and tobacco notes.
de Cáceres Rioja Crianza 2009 (89, $15)
A sleek and harmonious red with black cherry, mineral and herb flavors.
Ravenswood Zinfandel Napa Valley Old Vine 2011 (89, $15)
Jammy, ripe and easy to drink, with lots of raspberry, pepper and toasted herb notes.
Merlot California 2010 (88, $10)
A lively red with zesty black cherry.