Anybody can buy a good $50 wine. Buying a good wine under $20 takes some moxie.
So call this column "10 Good Wines Under $20."
We live in the 21st Century. Scientists at the famous wine schools at University of California's Davis Campus and the University of Bordeaux have isolated the methods for making clean, standard wine — if not yet the ethereal stuff that also requires artistry.
I know it takes away some of the romance and mystery, but it's better than drinking stinky wine. I've said it before: I think it's possible today for anybody with $50 million to buy the expertise, land, vines, fermenting equipment to make wine that's at least OK.
Whether you like a particular wine is, on the other hand, one of the most subjective judgments you can make. Here are 10 moderately priced wines I like:
—2011 Roble, by Viña Arnáiz, DO Ribera del Duero, Spain (90 percent tempranillo, 5 percent merlot, 5 percent cabernet sauvignon); deep, dark and rich, like a muscular Rioja, aromas and flavors of black raspberries and espresso, long, smooth finish; $18.
— 2013 Burgáns Albariño, by Martin Códax, DO Rias Baixas, Spain: zingy with acids and intense fruit, aromas and flavors of oranges, melons and minerals; $15.
—2013 Vermentino White Wine, Aia Vecchia IGT Maremma, Tuscany (95 percent vermentino, 5 percent viognier): crisp and lively, with aromas and flavors of lemons and limes; $12.
—2012 deAlto Amo Blanco, DOC Rioja, Spain (75 percent viura, 25 percent chardonnay); crisp and light, with flavors of white grapefruit and almonds; $10.
—2009 Chianti Rufina Riserva, by Nipozzano, Tuscany DOCG (90 percent sangiovese, 10 percent malvasia nera, colorino, merlot, cabernet sauvignon): floral aromas, flavors of blackberries, spice and minerals; $19.
—2013 McManis Family Vineyards Zinfandel, Lodi, Calif.: Big and ripe and rich, with red raspberry flavors and smooth tannins; $11.
—2013 Carmel Road Unoaked Chardonnay, Monterrey, Calif.: light and crisp, with floral aromas and flavors of golden apples and spice; $18.
—2012 Josh Cellars "Legacy" Red Wine, Calif. (merlot, zinfandel, syrah and petite sirah): lush and ripe, with aromas and flavor of blueberries, herbs and chocolate; $15.
— 2013 Great Southern Riesling, by Robert Oatley, Australia: light and crisp, with aromas and flavors of lemons and limes; $17.
—2012 Bridlewood Pinot Noir, Monterey County: aromas and flavors of red plums and cherries, medium body, long finish; $18.