shopping 03.15.10

21 Whites Under $21
Flickr Pool Picks

Villa Antinori Bianco 2007, $12.95, Morrell
For us, Antinori on the label is the rare guarantee of excellence, whether it's this brisk four-grape blend for a modest sum or his red giant Tignanello.

Quattro Mani Toh-kai 2008, $11.99, Appellation NYC
Ales Kristancic, with many generations of winemaking in his family DNA, has become something of a stealth rock star in the wine world. One reason is this wine that needs a farmer's market worth of fruit and spice to describe. He calls it a Tocai (toh-kai, as the label phonetics have it), but you may call the grapes Friulano. Whatever. A lot of wow for twelve bucks.

Heron Chardonnay 2007, $13.99, California Wine Merchants
Probably as much satisfaction as $14, the Chardonnay grape, and the state of California has to offer. Not so much for sipping solo — add food.

Laurent Miquel Chardonnay Viognier 2009, $9.50, The Greene Grape
A sunny marriage from a young Languedoc winemaker who handles the grapes carefully—and it shows.

Alois Caiati 2005, $17.99, Italian Wine Merchants
Pallagrello Bianco, a lost grape resurrected by Michele Alois in Campania, turns out to have been well worth saving—judging by this wine which boasts both depth and elegance.

Bodegas Muga 2007, $17, Smith & Vine
Even if Muga is better known for their Rioja, this well-rounded Viura/Malvasia blend (90/10) has a lovely, floral bouquet and plenty of fruit.

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc 2008, $10.97, PJ Wine
The spritz of citrus in this wine from a fine New Zealand winery cries out for a dozen oysters—the Pebble Beach, say, from The Lobster Place.

Leon Beyer Pinot Blanc 2007, $14.99, 67 Wine
Full disclosure: we love Alsace like crazy and that certainly includes most of their wines. For many years, they were among the best white bargains around, though you may have noticed that there are fewer steals than there used to be. We can't say this Beyer offering is a steal, yet it's a gently likable bottle in the it-couldn't-hurt category.

Domaine P & M Renaud Macon Villages 2008, $14.99, September Wines
When you want something a little less in-your-face than a California Chard, check out its more elegant forebear.

Michael Pozzan Annabella 2007, $17, Is-Wine
This is the in-your-face style we mentioned above. You know, a Chardonnay with butter for days.

Domaine Mardon Quincy, Tres Vieilles Vignes 2008, $18.99, LeDû's Wines.
They're not kidding when they say the vines are tres vieilles—they're octogenarians that produce a superb Quincy. Think Sancerre at, if not a bargain price, a real value for dollar.

Liotro Inzolia 2009, $7.49, Garnet
The grape (here Inzolia, but more commonly Insolia) is planted mostly in Sicily and produces a generally golden yellow wine with crisp acidity that's perfect for your antipasto and a warm, spring night, should one ever come.

Chavy Martin Bourgogne Blanc 2007, $19.50, Burgundy Wine Company
Chavy Martin produces a much pricier Puligny Montrachet; here, you can dip a toe in the water (okay, $19.50 is more than toe-dip) for a satisfying taste of Burgundy.

Alma de Blanco Godello 2008, $14.99, K & D Wines
This one from northwestern Spain get 89 points from the Wine Advocate for the bottle of 100% Godello bottling by Adegas Pazo das Tapias. Well-wrought Godellos bring a lot to the table in terms of aromatics; this one's also nicely concentrated and well-balanced.

Thelema Sauvignon Blanc 2006, $16, Park Avenue Liquor
Get your melons and gooseberries on with this South African wine that does credit to the wine industry there and to most any meal here.

Mercer Pinot Gris 2007, $13.99, Gotham Wines
A Columbia Valley vintner, David Forsyth, has moved from the large Hogue to the micro Mercer and, to go by this wine, there's enormous promise.

Provam Vinho Verde 2008, $7.99, Astor Wines
The store is exactly right about this: you want just about any seafood with it, though a simple grilled chicken works, too. A memorable wine? No. Solid? Yes.

Hofer Weinviertel Gruner Veltliner 2009, $11.99, Chamber Street Wines
Even if the people around your table aren't conversant with Gruners, it's a rare Gruner that doesn't make fast friends. Prices have gone up, but here's one that's both great company and easy on the wallet. The price is for a one-liter bottle.

Domaine Hitaire Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2006, $12.99, Chelsea Wine Vault
Gascony produces far more Armagnacs than white wines, yet Yves Grassa is known for going his own way at the family's superb Le Tariquet. His sons run this nearby estate and they're clearly a chip off the old block, moving Ugni Blanc from supernumerary to star.

Albert Seltz Riesling 2008, $17, Bottlerocket
Another one from Alsace, this one with more presence. Keep in mind that Alsatian rieslings are dry and this one has enough acidity to make it pair up with all kinds of meals—fish, yes, but many pastas, too. The winery is now fully organic.

Martin Codax Albarino 2006, $14.99, NY Wine Exchange
Albarinos from northwestern Spain are one of the best ways we know to take the edge off a hot summer night. There's apple, acidity and good minerality, making it work well with spicy foods.

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