Enjoying the fruits of bargain search

World MapMore and more higher quality wines are being made around the world, which creates tremendous opportunities for wine drinkers along with heaps of bargains. And the timing couldn’t be better, with a slow economy putting a pinch on many a wine budget.

When searching for great finds, I look for budget-friendly wines that don’t sacrifice quality. Many of the top values I found were not the expected cheap and cheerful $10 bottles of the past, but quality wines earning high scores (some 90-plus) from top critics.

From Washington state to Argentina, these wines will have you drinking well for less.

THE VALUES

  • 2009 Fetzer Zinfandel, California (about $9 retail)
  • 2010 McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate Riesling, Australia (about $10 retail)
  • 2009 Trapiche Malbec, Argentina (about $9 retail)
  • 2009 Concannon Syrah, California (about $10 retail)
  • 2009 Yalumba Oxford Landing Shiraz, Australia (about $10 retail)
  • 2010 La Vieille Ferme Cotes du Luberon, France (about $10 retail)

THE SPLURGES

  • 2009 J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot, California (about $15 retail)
  • 2010 Zonin Pinot Grigio, Italy (about $12 retail)
  • 2011 Columbia Crest Riesling, Washington (about $11 retail)
  • 2010 Broadbent Vinho Verde, Portugal (about $12 retail)
  • 2010 Cline California Viognier, California (about $12 retail)
  • 2010 Pacific Rim Chenin Blanc, Washington (about $13 retail)
  • 2010 La Playa Block Selection Chardonnay, Chile (about $14 retail)
  • 2010 Mig uel Torres Viognier, Chile (about $12 retail)
  • 2009 Bodega Norton Torrontes, Argentina (about $11 retail)
  • 2009 Shoofly Shiraz, Australia (about $12 retail)
  • 2009 Renwood Lodi Viognier, California (about $12 retail)