Tax day wines that won’t break the bank

Posted at 2:11 PM, Apr 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-13 14:11:07-04

(CNN) — Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine’s executive wine editor.

Ah, tax day: The forms are filled out, the check is written, the postal deadline is met. All that’s left to do now is nurse the pain. Clearly, what’s needed is a glass of wine (or a shot or two of whiskey), but with what money are you supposed to buy that wine now that you’ve given your all to the IRS?

Here, for medicinal purposes, are a few good bottles that even those quarters stuck between the couch cushions and that jar of pennies in the garage might conceivably cover.

NV Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava

Technically this Spanish sparkler runs about $10, but it’s often on sale for $7 or less. For the price, it’s a bargain: crisp, citrusy and perfectly refreshing.

2010 Vieille Ferme Cotes de Luberon Blanc

This affordable brand comes from the Rhône Valley’s Perrin family, who also makes one of the greatest Châteauneuf-du-Pâpes, Ch226;teau Beaucastel. Beaucastel itself runs about $100 a bottle, but this full-bodied, lightly nutty French white is available for a song ($10 or so).

2011 Yalumba Y Series Viognier

Viognier, when done badly, tends to smell like overripe peaches (often slathered with oak sauce). When done well – as with this $10 wine from Australia – it’s fragrant and crisp, its flavor suggesting apricots and mandarin oranges, with a pretty floral aroma. It lifts the heart, rather than dragging it down.

2011 Domaine Sainte Eugnie Corbires Ros

Rosé season is upon us. There’s not much that’s more pleasant than sitting out on the porch on a spring evening, drinking rosé, snacking on olives and saucisson sec (or prosciutto; or almonds; or potato chips; or a bag of White Castle sliders – you name it, dry rosés are absurdly adaptable). This pale, wild berry-scented wine from France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region is a fine example, and runs about $10.

2010 Purato Nero D’Avola

Smoky and blackberry-ish and mighty tasty, this $11 Sicilian red is also as green as can be – it’s USDA-certified organic, the bottle is 85 percent recycled glass and the label is made from recycled paper and printed with soy-based ink. Negligible environmental destruction, lots of flavor: Rachel Carson would be proud.

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