My list isn't necessarily the 10 best wines tasted; it's 10 of the best wines sampled at a value price point (under $25) in the past 12 months.
In no particular order, here are 10 of the most enjoyable and easy to find value wines of 2012.
Clayhouse Adobe White - The Clayhouse line of wines always deliver well above the $14 suggested retail price point. The white is 49 percent Viognier, 26 percent Sauv Blanc, 19 percent Grenache Blanc, and 6 percent Princess. The wine has floral, identifiable orange, peach, and honey flavors. It's an awesome summer sipper.
Michel Gassier's Costieres de Nimes Nostre Pais White - I love Grenache Blanc. Two wines make this year's list featuring the grape. It is a smooth and light on the palate wine with hints of lime. It gets big scores from critics. $18, though I've seen it lower!
Gauthier Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir - Finding under $20 Pinot Noir is a bit of a needle in a haystack. An aside, this wine normally retails at $30 but I've seen it on numerous occasions under $20. It has great strawberry, smoke and spice!
Santa Barbara Sauvignon Blanc - Nothing beats a nice crisp Sauv Blanc with seafood. If you can pick this one up for $11.99 like I did you have an outstanding value. California still makes some the world's most interesting whites.
Mondavi Private Selection Meritage - It's one of the best 'supermarket' lines available and the Meritage might be the best of the bunch. It's a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot from Monterey County. At $11, or cheaper, it's great wine.
Obra Prima Reserva Malbec - I mentioned this wine in my last column but it needs to be on this list for great value. It's a big wine with huge dark fruit, chocolate, and a balanced finsih. At $17, it's good as Malbec gets in the price range.
Oliver 2010 Shiraz Reserve - An Indiana wine makes the list again this year with an asterisk. I like this wine so much I'm breaking a rule. The wines here all retail under $25, except for this one at $26. You think you know Oliver wines? Taste the Shiraz blind with friends and see how many are surprised.
Domaine Virgile Joly Blanc - I stopped putting the wines in order a couple of years ago, but if there was going to be a No. 1 on this year's list it might be this $12 white from France's Languedoc region. This is goregous Grenache Blanc at a value price.
So there is the list for another year. I could review my blog posts and probably come up with an entirely different 10 on another day. But these are wines I'm confident would not disappoing any wine drinker!
Here are links to my previous Top 10 picks:
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