The question: Where are the best wine bargains coming from today?
The answer: Well, I know a discount warehouse in Fort Lauderdale. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) …
Chile remains a champion, especially with cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc. Nowhere have I found the quality to be so consistent. The southern Languedoc-Roussillon region of France is coming on strong, as is southern Italy, specifically the regions of Puglia (with the negroamaro and primitivo grapes) and Sicily (nero d'Avola and syrah). Also in Italy, the central Abruzzo region makes remarkable medium-bodied reds from the montepulciano grape for less than $10. It's probably my go-to choice for reds in the single-digit price range.
Argentine malbec does the trick for many consumers who enjoy chunky, mouth-filling reds, though I find the wines to be hit and miss.
Spain is undervalued, provided you look beyond the famous regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero. I'd suggest the much-improved offerings of such regions as Carinena, Montsant, Navarra, Rueda and Toro. New Zealand sauvignon blanc, though rarely dirt cheap, overdelivers with zesty, grassy flavours, as does South African sauvignon blanc.
For dry bubbly, consider Spanish cava or French wines labelled crémant, as in crémant d'Alsace and crémant de Bourgogne.
E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear on The Globe and Mail website.