Looking for some tasty wines that won't put a hole in your budget? Keep an eye out for these next time you're dining or wine-shopping. They were the top-scoring wines under $15 in the brown-bag blind tastings conducted for the new book, The Wine Trials 2011.
Wine of the Year: Dr. L Riesling from Germany's Loosen Brothers. Tasters loved the wine's "balance of honeyed sweetness with zingy, refreshing acidity," as well as the "apricot, apple and clean metallic scent."
Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah from Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington State, named the Winery of the Year. The winery's Horse Heaven Sauvignon Blanc and its Domaine Ste. Michelle Blanc de Noir and Brut sparkling wines also earned spots in this year's guide.
A few emerging wine regions singled out in the book were Bulgaria, which had three wines among this year's winners, with the Targovishte Sauvignon Blanc's bright citrus and green apple flavors gaining praise. Turkey has two wines in the guide, including the Lal Rose, whose minerality and faint fruit made it the winner in the Rose category.
Other winners include Bogle Sauvignon Blanc (California) in the light white category; Yalumba Unwooded Chardonnay (Australia) in the heavy white category; Monte Antico (Italy) in the light red category, and Dona Paula Los Cardos Malbec (Argentina) in the heavy red category.
We spotted a number of wines that are already some of our go-to bottles to keep on hand, so we're putting this in our car to have as a handy reference when we go wine shopping.