5 World-Class Wines That Are Currently a Steal March 04 2015

A classic wine region, like a classic suit is perennial, but that doesn't mean the prices don't wax and wane. Whether it's a standout vintage, oversupply, exchange rates, or simply the vagaries of fashion, some wines become a bit more of a steal than others. Here's what to drink right now.

Brunello di Montalcino
A surfeit of great vintages—nothing less than four or five stars each year, going back to 2003—means there are too many superb Brunellos around, so prices are down as retailers try to make room for the 2010 vintage now being released. The Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona 'Pianrosso Santa Caterina d'Oro' Riserva 2007 ($89) demonstrates Brunello's capacity for combining power and elegance.

Skip Moscato for Alsace's Muscat, and trade in the Pinot Grigio for Alsatian Pinot Gris; this French white-wine region hosts many fantastic varietals along with the more commonly applauded Riesling and Gewurztraminer (collectively these are known as the four "noble varieties"). Look for Grand Cru wines like the Marcel Deiss Mambourg 2009 ($75), which is a fine blend.

Zinfandel blends
Over-the-top, high-alcohol (15% ABV+) Zin captured people's imaginations and wallets over a decade ago but is fading now, though producers who never strayed from a more classic (and powerful) expression of the grape are still at it. Many of the best are actually field blends with other varieties. One great example: Ravenswood's muscular Icon 2011 ($75).

This is perhaps the most underappreciated in the world ever since we abandoned Poe's alluring Amontillado (one of several kinds of sherry) in favor of Grandma's sticky-sweet version. High-quality sherry is back on the market with a vengeance, but producers are hesitant to increase prices. Try the Bodegas Fernando de Castilla Antique Amontillado NV ($55 for 500ml) to see what Poe's obsessed victim was talking about.

After chasing inflated prices in Asia and finding it a fickle market, Bordeaux producers are once again courting wine drinkers in the U.S. market. St. Emilion, one of Bordeaux's subregions, is loaded with values right now, like the just-released Chateau Troplong Mondot 2012 ($85); keep an eye out for older vintages, too.

-From Details Mag., by Jim Clark