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Great Wines at Great Prices

VALUE AND VOLUME: Taking advantage of excellent wine deals can help you build a list for all tastes and budgets.

The results of the Beverage Testing Institute's (BTI) annual tasting of hundreds of wines priced under $20 are out and we're happy to report that there are plenty of excellent wine deals out there amid the clutter of inexpensive brands on the shelf. BTI divided the competition into four key price categories—$8 and under, $10 and under, $15 and under and $20 and under—and looked at a variety of size formats including the popular 3L casks. We also culled the varietal and regional categories to find the "Best Values" and "Exceptional Values" for a given region's wines.

A healthy mix of small, mid and even mega-sized U.S. and international producers' wines rose to the top of the heap. A few of the wines are U.S. "regional wonders" that may be tough to find outside of the producers' markets, but for the most part these are readily available wines that can be found in most major markets. And, although the vast majority of wines made today are crafted for immediate consumption and most consumers age their wines for the approximate time it takes to drive from the store until dinner or party time, interestingly enough, many of the wines are so well-structured that they will improve with a little time in the "cellar"(even if you don't have one).That's a remarkable discovery, especially considering the price points in question.

Below are lists of the top red, white, sparkling and dessert wines in each of the price categories and the rest of the recommended wines from this year's World Value Wine Challenge. We invite you to explore these flavorful, well-balanced and full-bodied wines that will also leave your budget and wallet well-balanced and fullbodied as you head further into the New Year.

Top 10 Wines Under $8
Tempra Tantrum, Tempranillo Shiraz (Spain), 90 points
Bodegas Augustin Cubero Unus, Cabernet Sauvignon (Spain), 89 points
Gaetano D'Aquino, Cabernet Sauvignon (Italy), 88 points
Woodbridge, Zinfandel (U.S.), 88 points
Bodegas Aragonesas, Coto de Hayas Tinto (Spain), 88 points
Barefoot Merlot (U.S.), 88 points
Alice White Chardonnay (Australia), 89 points
Papio Chardonnay (U.S.), 89 points
Colombelle (France), 88 points
Barefoot Pinot Grigio (U.S.), 88 points

Top 12 Wines Under $10
Commandaria Alasia (Cyprus), 94 points
Care Wines Syrah-TempranilloGarnac (Spain), 92 points
Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon (U.S.), 91 points
Cycle's Gladiator Merlot (U.S.), 90 points
Lynfred Vin De City Red (U.S.), 90 points
Quara Malbec (Argentina), 90 points
First Rains Cabernet Sauvignon (South Africa), 90 points
Domino de Nogara (Spain), 90 points
Sun Garden Riesling (Germany), 91 points
Quara Torrontes (Argentina), 91 points
Biltmore Estate Sauvignon Blanc (U.S.), 91 points
Woodbridge Riesling (Ger many), 90 points

Top 14 Wines Under $15
Hahn Estates Syrah (U.S.), 92 points
Pindar Pythagoras (U.S.), 92
Hahn Estates Cabernet Sauvignon (U.S.), 91 points
Care Wines Crianza (Spain), 91 points
Tsiakkas Cabernet Sauvignon (Cyprus), 91 points
Fire Station Red Shiraz (U.S.), 91 points
Calina Alcance Merlot (Chile), 90 points
La Playa Claret Block Selection (Chile), 90 points
Vietti (Italy), 94 points
Gruet Demi-Sec (U.S.), 90 points
Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio (Italy), 92 points
Hagafen Riesling (U.S.), 91 points
Adegas Gran Vinum Esencia Vendima (Spain), 90 points
Wakefield Promised Land Unwooded Chardonnay (Australia), 90 points

Top 10 Wines Under $20
Wakefield Shiraz (Australia)‚ 93 points
Heitz Zinfandel (U.S.), 93 points
Chateau Reynon Denis DuBourdieu (France), 93 points
Hahn Estates Meritage (U.S.), 92 points
Harmony Zinfandel (U.S.), 92 points
Rodney Strong Merlot (U.S.), 91 points
Francis Coppola Red Label Zinfandel (U.S.), 91 points
Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon (U.S.), 90 points
Dr. Zenzen Apollo Falter, Riesling (Germany), 92 points
Hagafen Oak Knoll District Chardonnay (U.S.), 90 points


TAGS: Food & Drink