Good Imported Wines Under $10
2. Lo Duca Reggiano Lambrusco, $9.99. The Wine Authorities say that this inexpensive sparkling red from Italy is “maybe the best BBQ wine we’ve had in recent memory.” It’s slightly off dry, with cherry and berry flavors and a kick of tannin.
3. 2006 Pascual Toso Malbec, $8.99. This Argentine red was number one in Wine Enthusiast magazine’s “Top 100 Best Buys of 2007.” Paul Hobbs consulted on the making of the wine, and K&L Wine Merchants says it has his “trademark velvety texture” and a “boysenberry fruit, clove spice, and vanilla laced finish.”
4. 2005 Las Rocas Garnacha, $8.97. This unoaked, medium-bodied Spanish red made from vines that are between 70 and 100 years old was recommended by both the team at PJ Wine in New York City and K&L Wine Merchants in the Bay Area. Jay Miller of the Wine Advocate gave it 90 points and noted its supple texture with no hard edges.
5. 2006 La Mouliniere Bordeaux Blanc, $7.99. A French blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. PJ Wine says that the Sauvignon “brings aromas, flavors and crispness while Semillon gives more substance,” and that the wine has floral, citrus, and green apple aromas with a long, fresh finish.
6. 2005 Nekeas Vega Sindoa Cabernet Sauvignon-Tempranillo Navarra, $9.99. A Spanish 60/40 blend with an “expansive, strikingly fresh cherry flavor,” according to Woodland Hills Wine Company. Josh Raynolds of International Wine Cellar says it “would be a great ringer in a flight of $50 Cabernets.”
7. 2007 Arnoux & Fils Côtes du Rhône Vieux Clocher Rosé, $8.99. “Fantastic value,” say the Wine Authorities. This French blend of 60 percent Grenache, 30 percent Cinsault, and 10 percent Carignane is “perfect for spring and summer” and “completely quaffable.” It’s tangy, young, and fresh, with bright strawberry flavors, highly recommended for picnics.
8. 2006 Bondi Blue Chardonnay, $6.99. PJ Wine included this in its own top wines under $10, and says it tastes like ripe melon and peaches, finishes clean, and is good on its own or with grilled chicken and veggies.
9. Segura Viudas Aria Brut, $9.99. A “terrific everyday Spanish Cava,” says Woodland Hills Wine Company. Buy a whole case for a summer party.
10. 2006 Palestra Douro, $7.49. Chambers Street Wines says that some of the best deals around just now are coming out of Spain and Portugal. The company suggests this dry Portuguese red made with the same grapes used to make sweet Portuguese wines.
CHOW’s The Ten column appears every Tuesday.