In a year when U.S. gas prices, grocery prices, housing costs and interest rates all jumped dramatically, the price of a good bottle of wine still looked very attractive. If you knew what to look for. In fact, when the editors of Wine Enthusiast combed through the past 12 months of reviews, it was not difficult to find 100 wines with very positive ratings, all priced at $15 and under. Our Top 100 Best Buys report pulls all these together, making a concise, international guide to wines of all varieties and styles that will help you fight inflation and have a good time while doing it. This list summarizes the top quality-to-price ratio bottles that our reviewers identified in blind tastings, with everything from New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to French rosé to Washington State Syrah. Ranked No. 1 out of all 100 Best Buys is a wine from Paso Robles, California: Highlands 41 2020 Black Granite Red Blend. This full-bodied $15 wine was rated 91 by our reviewer Matt Kettmann, who wrote, “Aromas of boysenberry, elderberry, roast beef and violet lead into a thick palate of cassis, more violet and pleasant mocha touches.” That’s a lot of flavor bomb for the buck. U.S. selections led the list, reflecting domestic wine’s general popularity as well as the determination of many producers to keep prices affordable. California, Washington, Oregon and New York contributed 39 wines total. Italy accounted for 12 of the 100 spots, France for nine, Argentina and Spain for seven each. We’re also recognizing value-priced gems from regions as far-flung as Bulgaria, Hungary, Israel, South Africa and Slovenia, reflecting how widespread quality winemaking has become—a boon to anyone out to try something new.
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