Castello Banfi Rosso di Montalcino ($25) -- The value in the Montalcino region of Italy is in rosso di Montalcino, which is made in the same manner (100 percent sangiovese) as the famed brunello but typically from younger vines planted outside the strict Brunello boundaries. Castello Banfi puts as much effort into its rosso as it does its far more expensive brunello, and it shows.
Francis Coppola 2015 Director's Chardonnay, Sonoma County ($17) -- The Coppola winery is hitting on all cylinders at all price points. The Director's Chardonnay is a great example of the new California style, which puts more emphasis on the quality of the grapes rather than the quality of the oak.
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut, Sonoma County ($22) -- It's hard to argue with anything Gloria Ferrer puts under cork these days, particularly its value-oriented Sonoma brut. We love the complexity of the winery's vintage-dated prestige cuvees, but for a nonvintage everyday sparkling wine, the Sonoma brut is unbeatable for the price.
Kim Crawford 2016 Pinot Gris, Marlborough, New Zealand ($17) -- This Kiwi winery is renowned for its pungent Marlborough sauvignon blanc, but it's far from a one-trick pony. Its ultrasmooth pinot gris is pure deliciousness.
Navarro Vineyards 2016 Pinot Grigio, Anderson Valley ($16) -- Never be surprised by anything that comes from Navarro, the small family-run winery located in the remote Anderson Valley district of California's Mendocino County. Whatever the grape -- pinot blanc, gewurztraminer, riesling -- Navarro nails it. And it nails this pinot grigio.
Noble Vines 2014 Pinot Noir, Monterey County ($14) -- Decades ago, the conventional wisdom said to plant cabernet sauvignon in Monterey County, California. The only problem with that was the climate. The northern end of Monterey is too cold for cabernet to ripen (yes, even in summer). But pinot noir and chardonnay, early ripening grapes, do just fine. Well, this pinot noir is better than just "fine," and the price is eye-popping, considering you wouldn't think twice if it were listed at $35.
Sartori di Verona 2013 Valpolicella DOC, Italy ($15.99) -- Sartori is one of the quality leaders in the Verona district of northern Italy, home of valpolicella. This vintage is yet another splendid example of how much valpolicella has improved in the past 30 years. What hasn't change much is the pricing. It hasn't caught up to the quality, which makes a valpolicella from a good producer one of the greatest values in red wine today.
Stateland Cellars 2015 Pinot Noir Reserve, Santa Barbara County ($24) -- When blindfolded, I dare you to pick this as the cheapest pinot noir from a flight of otherwise $40 to $500 pinots stocked by your favorite wine merchant. The highly regarded winemaker Adam LaZarre of Paso Robles, California, is the hidden hand behind the scenes. He is a master at sourcing excellent gapes for his modestly priced wines.