Good-value wines under $15

By Dave McIntyre
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, March 1, 2011; 4:18 PM

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Prices are approximate. Check to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Here are my monthly recommendations for good-value wines costing under $15.

Altovinum Evodia Old Vines Garnacha 2009


Calatayud, Spain, $10

Spanish garnacha (known as grenache in much of the world) ranks among the best red-wine bargains year in and year out. This juicy specimen delights with up-front fruit and enough acidity to carry it through a fun meal of burgers, steak, pizza, you name it.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cork & Fork, P&C Market, Rodman's, Zola Wine & Kitchen. Available in Maryland at Balducci's, Cork & Fork and Georgetown Square Beer & Wine in Bethesda; in Gaithersburg; Pine Orchard Wine and Wine Bin in Ellicott City; Rodman's in Wheaton and White Flint; Wine Harvest in Potomac. Available in Virginia at Balducci's in Alexandria and McLean; on the list at Evo Bistro in McLean.

Domaine de la Bouysse 2008


Languedoc, France, $10

This wine hails from the Corbieres region of the Languedoc, but it can't be labeled as such because of the renegade addition of 15 percent merlot to the traditional blend of syrah, grenache and carignan. It is wildly spicy - almost animalistic - and playful, with dark-fruit flavors and nearly meaty texture. A fun wine.

Bacchus: Available in the District at Wide World of Wines; on the list at Bistro d'Oc and Montmartre. Available in Maryland at Town & Country Wine Liquor Etc. in Easton, Wine Cellars of Annapolis, Wine Market in Baltimore; on the list at Crush Wine House in Annapolis.

Wilhelm Walch Prendo Pinot Grigio 2009


Dolomiti, Italy, $12

With so much dull Italian pinot grigio setting a low standard, this one is delightfully mineral, crisp and refreshing, displaying the coppery tinge of a true grigio and the firm focus of mountain-grown fruit.

Country Vintner: On the list in the District at Cava, Lebanese Taverna, P.J. Clarke's, Tabard Inn. On the list in Maryland at Redwood in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at the Italian Store in Arlington; on the list at Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg.

Sawtooth Winery Gewurztraminer 2009


Idaho, $11

Included in the Vino 50 portfolio of wines from around the country, Sawtooth produces excellent Riesling and syrah that are available in this area. The Gewurztraminer offers the aromas of tropical flowers and litchis typical of the grape, then brings it home with nice acidity and a dry finish. Chinese restaurants, take note.

Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits. Available in Maryland at Bay Wine & Spirits in North Beach, California Wine & Spirits, Frederick Wine House, Wine & Liquor Depot in Brandywine, the Wine Shoppe in Waldorf. Available in Virginia at Grand Cru in Arlington, Grapes of Taste in Ladysmith, Locke Modern Country Store in Millwood, Vintage Cellar in Blacksburg, Laker Beverage & Tobacco in Moneta, Unwined in Alexandria and Belleview; on the list at Boudreaux in Blacksburg, Brix in Lexington, the Ivy Creek Farm B&B in Lynchburg, Local Roots and Rockfish in Roanoke.

Les Perles Piquepoul 2009


Languedoc, France, $9

A quite lively white, with peach and apricot flavors enhanced by an appealing herbal note that's minty and fresh. Don't chill it too much. This is an excellent aperitif wine or a fitting partner to steamed mussels.

J.W. Sieg: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits; on the list at Ripple. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Grand Cru in Arlington, Ashburn Wine Shop, D'Vine Wine in Winchester, Unwined in Alexandria and Belleview, Vienna Vintner; on the list at Busboys & Poets in Arlington, Julien's Cafe in Middleburg, Lightfoot Restaurant in Leesburg.

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