Cheap Wine That Doesn't Suck

Pinot Grigio is the cream of wheat of the wine world--bland, boring, inoffensive, with as much character as a politician running for re-election. 

Most of the time, anyway. 

One of those other times is when you crack a bottle (and you do crack it; it's a screwtop) of the 2008 Estancia California Pinot Grigio. A near-perfect growing season gave the grapes plenty of hang time and resulted in a fresh, fruity, positively juicy wine that's nothing at all like the pale, watery liquids taking up space on supermarket and wine store shelves. 

The rich, golden color is the first indication. Then come whiffs of green apple, white peach and grapefruit; if you get a little soapy tingle that blows off after a couple minutes in the glass. Flavors are bigger and richer than expected too, with peach, lemon-lime, orange and apple all rolling around in your mouth, followed by a tart, slightly spritzy finish. 

This is an excellent seafood wine, and at around 10 bucks a bottle you can afford something classier than fishsticks. Or cream of wheat, for that matter.

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