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Winter is still around and the holiday bills are rolling in, so the budget for a bottle of wine to help make it to spring is restricted. But have no fear — there are some terrific wines that are easy on the wallet and deliver an abundance of flavour.

As is the usual case, these wines hail from regions that consistently deliver value wines. Value wines are selections that over-deliver on quality for a lower price than other wines in their category.

The four regions include three that consistently deliver on value, and one upstart that has been added to the list. The three top value regions are Spain, Argentina and Chile. The other region is the Rhone Valley in France, where there have been a number of blends that have hit the B.C. market that are showing great promise.
To assist you in finding these gems, wines from each region were reviewed and tasting notes, along with the prices, have been included. All wines are readily available in B.C.

Domino de Punctum, 2012, Viento Aliseo Viognier, $13.90 (Spain)
This white wine has some interesting peach, tropical pineapple and lemon-lime characteristics. The palate is balanced and soft yet has a crisp finish. Viognier wines of this quality are usually closer to the $20 mark and influential wine critic Robert Parker rates this wine at 90 points.

Los Vascos, 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, $12.99 (Chile)
Many consumers dislike New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc because it is too acidic and tart. This white, however, has delightful tropical notes and a soft, mellow taste. Aromas such as pear, peach, apple and chive notes fill the air. With good body and a surprisingly long finish for a $13 wine, it’s an excellent match for seafood, salad and most vegetarian dishes.

Arnoux & Fils 2011 Cote du Rhone ‘“Vieux Cloucher,” $16.99 (Rhone Valley, France)
This blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mouvedre shows red berry fruit, dried herbs, spice and a wonderfully smooth finish. It would pair well with any sausage or beef dish.

Argento, 2012 Bonardo, Argentina, $12.99 (Argentina)
Not many consumers are aware of the native Argentinean grape called Bonardo. It produces lush and ripe tasting wines, and this example is outstanding for the price. Cherry, blackberry, juicy plum and cedar flavours mingle with hints of vanilla and spice. It’s great for drinking a glass on its own or you could try it with barbecued ribs.

These wines may not have a familiar brand name or much marketing behind them, but that means most of the investment is in the bottle. This shows in the outstanding quality-to-price ratio. You don’t have to spend a lot to savour a fine wine these days, so stock up and enjoy.

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