Budget choices: 10 wines

You open your wallet and moths fly out. Income Tax Day has come and gone, and with it, a good chunk of your wherewithal.

You could use a drink. But you’re feeling a little strapped right now, not in the mood to pay even $20 for a bottle of wine.

Let me tell you a little secret. Some of my wealthiest wine friends, the ones with 10,000-bottle cellars including entire cases of expensive, well-aged grand cru stuff, also have a case or two of wines under $15. These bottles are for Tuesday nights, to sip with meat loaf or mac ‘n’ cheese, without introspection.

Of course, being major fans, they’ve experimented to find wines that are not just inexpensive, but also pretty tasty.

But if life is too short to drink bad wine, it’s also too lengthy to drink yourself into the poor house at your tender age.

And I always say anybody can buy a good $50 wine, but it takes some study to buy a good bottle for $10 or $12.

So now’s a good time to make a belated New Year’s resolution. Let’s go out and find some good, inexpensive “Tuesday Night” wines.

Here are some candidates.


▪  2015 Toad Hollow Dry Rose of Pinot Noir, Sonoma County: crisp and dry, with flavors of strawberries and watermelons; $14.

▪  2013 Benziger Family Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County: soft and rich, with aromas and flavors of lemons, limes and kiwis; $14.


▪  2014 McManis Family Vineyards Syrah, California: dark and rich, with aromas and flavors of black raspberries and espresso; $11.

▪  2013 Buried Cane Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Wash. (80 percent cabernet sauvignon, 20 percent merlot): soft and lush, with aromas and flavors of black cherries and herbs; $14.

▪  2014 Murphy-Goode Chardonnay, California: bright and fruity, with aromas and flavors of pineapples and mangos; $14.

▪  2014 Dark Horse Pinot Noir, California: floral aromas, flavors of sweet black cherries; $10.

▪  2014 Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay, Monterey County: hint of oak, flavors of ripe pears and citrus; $10.

▪  2014 Fattoria La Valentina Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC, Italy (montepulciano d’Abruzzo): light red hue, floral aromas, flavors of anise and tart cherries; $12.

▪  2013 Charles & Charles Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah, Columbia Valley, Wash.: rich and smooth, with aromas and flavors of black cherries and herbs; $12.

▪  Nonvintage Columbia Winery “Composition” Red Blend, Columbia Valley, Wash. (merlot, syrah): hint of oak, aromas and flavors of vanilla, black raspberries and spice; $14.