A TOUR of area wine shops offers convincing evidence that the value of the dollar is at a high point. I sampled more than 35 French white wines priced under $6 per bottle and came up with 13 of high value. In alphabetical order these wines, which must be tasted to be believed, are:
Domaine de Becassonne 1982 Co tes du Rhone ($4.99): The progress made by winemakers in the southern Rho ne Valley in producing crisp, clean, fruity white wines has been remarkable. This new release from the proprietor of the well-known Les Cailloux estate in Cha teauneuf du Pape is very attractive. Light straw color with a clean, fruity, slightly flowery bouquet, this medium-bodied wine has good fleshy, fruity flavors balanced nicely by adequate acidity.
Availability: Pearson's Liquor & Wine Annex, Morris Miller Liquors.
Bichat-Macon Villages 1982 ($3.35): It is difficult to believe that a wine that is this good made from the chardonnay grape can be purchased for just over $3 a bottle. This refreshingly fruity wine has subtle, buttery, fruity flavors, sound acidity, and plenty of body and flavor interest.
Availability: Central Liquor Store only.
Les Bois Battus Muscadet 1982 ($3.99): 1982 has turned out to be a very good vintage in the Rho ne Valley and this Muscadet is one of the best on the market. Light straw in color with a clean, crisp, fresh, fruity bouquet, this wine has light to medium body, and is perfect for quaffing or drinking with seafood.
Availability: Calvert/Woodley Liquor, MacArthur Liquors, others.
Andre' Bre'geon Muscadet 1982 ($3.99): This is a marvelous wine with the remarkable crispness, freshness and liveliness of a Muscadet captured perfectly. It has a lot of fruit for a Muscadet. Very refreshing, this wine seems destined to be quaffed in huge amounts with this fall's crop of oysters.
Availability: MacArthur Liquors only.
Cha teau Bonnet 1982 Entre Deux Mers ($2.79): This very good value is quite dry in the mouth with fresh, fruity, light-to-medium bodied texture and pleasant and subtle, herbaceous flavors that suggest the sauvignon blanc grape. It is quite refreshing and fruity and is an outstanding value at under $3 a bottle.
Availability: Central Liquor Store only.
Cha teau de la Croix 1982 ($3.99): Another appellation bordeaux contro le'e wine from the 1982 vintage, this offering is made from 85 percent sauvignon blanc and 15 percent semillon. Quite fruity, with a good grip on the palate, quite dry, with a smoky, subtle, grassy aroma, this wine is extremely well made, and again an excellent value.
Availability: Larimer's Liquor Shop, Pearson's Liquor & Wine Annex, Spring Valley Wine and Liquor.
Chateau Croix de Moulin 1982 Entre Deux Mers ($3.99): Extremely fresh with a lot of spicy fruit in the bouquet, this wine has a fresh, crisp feeling, is rather dry, and has a pleasant, clean finish. It is an ideal aperitif wine.
Availability: Rex's Wine & Spirits only.
Cha teau des Cros 1982 ($4.49): I have followed this small property's wine for the last three or four years, and it has always impressed me, even in less successful vintages than 1982. It has much of the character of a subtle sauvignon blanc with a smoky, earthy, slightly grassy aroma, yet fleshy, medium- to full-bodied fruity flavors. It is a big white wine that should be matched with chicken or full-flavored fish.
Availability: Rex Wine and Spirits, Mayflower Wines and Spirits.
Guigal 1981 Co tes du Rhone ($5.99): This fine producer in the Rho ne Valley makes splendid wines. Guigal's white Co tes du Rhone is one of his best bargains. Rather full-bodied, spicy and richly fruity, this is a more aggressive, full-flavored wine than many of the wines recommended here, but is perfect with provencale cooking or with grilled fish or fowl.
Availability: A & A Liquors.
Hugel 1981 Gewurztraminer ($5.99): The 1981 Alsatian wines have turned out to be the most successful vintage for the region since 1976. This wine has medium weight, with spicy, flowery aromas and moderately intense, honeyed, spicy, plump, soft flavors. A rather chunky sort of wine with a lot of character and flesh.
Availability: many shops.
Ma con-Villages 1981 "Les Chazelles" ($5.99): This charming Ma con made from 100 percent chardonny grapes, offers elegant, clean, fresh, medium-bodied flavors, a subtle suggestion of buttered nuts, and a dry finish.
Availability: A & A Liquors, Calvert/Woodley Liquor.
Ma con-Charnay 1981 Domaine des Crays ($5.99): This Macon is from the most highly respected grower in the region, Manciat-Poncet. It is a stunning bottle of white burgundy, more expensive than some of the other offerings recommended here, but rightfully so, because it is the best. It has ripe, buttery, fat, fleshy chardonnay flavors, medium to full body, and a rather long finish. Simply delicious now, this wine can compete favorably with many white burgundies priced at twice as much.
Availability: Schneider's Liquor Store only.
Domaine St. Louis la Perdrix 1982 ($3.99): An excellent bargain from the little-known French wine producing area Costie res du Gard, this full-flavored, medium wine has a resemblance to a well-made, big, spicy Co tes du Rhone. Made from the marsanne and roussanne grapes, this light straw-colored wine has a good deal of body, flavor and character for its price. It is an outstanding value for drinking over the next year or two.
Availability: Bell Wine and Liquor Shoppe, Rex's Wine and Spirits, Schneider's Liquor Store and Spring Valley Wine and Liquors.