Paul Jabouet Secret de Famille Viognier ($12.95): This is a pleasantly quaffable Viognier, with restrained apricot and melon aromas and flavors. It’s medium bodied, without much texture, but a clean, refreshing finish.
Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhone ($14.99): This wine expresses authentic regional character: aromas of ripe black fruit, a gentle spiciness, and a garrigue-flavored kick of thyme and rosemary. Here is a textbook Côtes du Rhône for everyday satisfaction: juicy and gulpable, with just enough chewy tannin to pair with a burger or whatever else might be on the menu.
Chateau Pesquie Ventoux Terrasses Rouge ($16.99): Named for the terraces hewn into the steep hills of the Ventoux region, this blend offers aromas of ripe berries, pepper, and wild herbs. Consistently feted by critics including Parker and Robinson, Terrasses compares worthily with the great wines of the Rhone, and represents a terrific value.
Chateau Lavau Rastau ($16.99): Crisp blackberry and cherry flavors are bright, but this complex wine is more about their interplay with earthier tones of smoke, game and mushroom. Rich and full on the palate yet balanced firmly with tannins and acidity, it’s a stately wine with a lingering, slightly astringent chestnut finish.