The Economical Oenophile

By Robert Parker

Years ago I wrote in The Wine Advocate that Dan Kravitz was perhaps the top U.S. importer of wines priced under $10 a bottle. Even though the dollar bought a lot more then, Kravitz still has a knack for finding good wines at great prices. Hand Picked Selections, his Warrenton (Va.) company, distributes in most major markets. You can also track down his wines by contacting the company at (540) 347-9400 or, or visiting the Web site,

Cuvée de Pena 2005 Vin de Pays

87 points.

A blend of grenache, syrah, carignan, and mourvèdre from the Languedoc region of southwest France, this wine exhibits loads of black cherries, smoke, and licorice. There is also a medium body and a silky-smooth style. The wine sees no wood and is all the better for it. $9

Panarroz 2006 Jumilla

90 points

. An amazing bargain from Spain, this blend of mourvèdre, grenache, and syrah bursts with plum, blackberry, and licorice-infused fruit. There is a bit of pepper as well, and the wine is silky, soft, and opulent. Serve it at a barbecue. $10

Domaine la Noble 2005 Chardonnay Vin de Pays

87 points.

I first tasted this 2005 when it was selling for $5, and even at twice the price it remains a great value. From vineyards in Languedoc, this cuvée exhibits plenty of honeysuckle, white peach, and tropical fruit along with good acidity. $10

Château des Tourtes Blanc 2006 Côtes de Blaye

89 points.

Sauvignon blanc and semillon combine to make a dry, crisp, medium-bodied wine with notes of honeydew melon and lemon oil. It's a perfect pairing for salmon or any other fatty fish. $12

Domaine Bargemone 2006 Côtes du Provence Rosé

88 points.

This yummy pink wine from the heart of rosé country shows notes of cherry, strawberry, and other berries with a bit of pepper, spice, and flowers. It is elegant, medium-bodied, and quite dry. $13

Pierre Boniface 2006 Vin Savoie Apremont

89 points.

This light, crisp, dry white from the French Alps is pure and vibrant. It brings to mind a Granny Smith apple with a touch of honeysuckle. Serve as an aperitif or an accompaniment to lighter fish and poultry dishes. $14

Haut Beysac 2004 Haut-Médoc

87 points.

This well-priced Bordeaux exhibits excellent cedary, black currant, and licorice characteristics along with hints of tobacco leaf and spice. Medium-bodied, with silky tannin as well as surprising flavor complexity and depth, it should evolve for another five to six years. $15

Travis 2006 Chardonnay Unfiltered Monterey County

89 points.

This medium-bodied wine tastes like a crisp, classic Chablis from northern France rather than an oaky California chardonnay. It reveals surprising complexity and delivers notes of lemon rind, orange marmalade, white peaches, and pears. The delicious fruit is buttressed by good acidity. $16

Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.

Robert Parker is the world's most influential wine critic. Visit to see tens of thousands of tasting notes, buy his books, or subscribe to his newsletter, The Wine Advocate.

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