Food & Drink

Pinching Pennies with Plonk Wine Merchants

A Guide to Great Wines Under $25

pouring wine!

Getting your drink on usually drains your wallet.

Thankfully, we have Etty Lewensztain, owner of Plonk Wine Merchants, this Tax Day. Her L.A.-based online shop specializes in vino that’s big on quality not on price. We asked the certified sommelier to cull her favorite springtime picks for less than 30 bucks.

We wish we could say the same about your IRS bill.

Marof Renski Rizling 2007, $21
Etty says:
It is 100 percent textbook riesling with its flinty minerality, tart Granny Smith apple aroma, and peachy palate. It’s the first Slovenian release from star Austrian winemaker Erich Krutzler.
Perfect for: A dim sum brunch (pan-fried shrimp dumplings, steamed pork buns, and sweet-and-sticky pork spare ribs).

Bucklin Bambino Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel 2008, $24
Etty says: You’d be hard-pressed to find another California zin at this price point that could hold a candle to the Bucklin Bambino. The organic, beautifully perfumed wine has intense aromas of lavender, wildflowers, and black currant that waft up from the glass to draw you in.
Perfect for: A springtime lamb barbecue (don’t forget the mint salsa verde).

Juris St. Laurent Selection 2007, $20
Etty says:
St. Laurent is an obscure Austrian relative of pinot noir. It’s dark skinned and highly aromatic and yields captivating wines that have a bit of earthy funk. This example is truffle scented and shows soft plum, sour cherry, and raspberry flavors. A great off-the-beaten-path find.
Perfect for: A gamey feast of roasted quail or venison chops.

Domaine Sigalas Santorini Assyrtiko 2008, $17
Etty says: Assyrtiko is one of Greece’s more alluring grapes. It yields briny, mouth-watering wines that beg for fresh seafood. Domaine Sigalas is one of the standard-bearers of assyrtiko.
Perfect for: A seaside lobster roll picnic or New England-style clam bake.

Domaine Fouet Crémant de Loire N.V., $20
Etty says: Good champ doesn’t come cheap, but France puts out fabulous sparkling wines called crémant from other regions. This sassy sparkler grown in Saumur, a subzone of the Loire Valley, shows nervy acidity and crisp grapefruit and pomelo flavors.
Perfect for: A cheap-chic cocktail party. Who needs expensive bubbly and caviar when you have crémant and goat cheese crostini?

Buy these and more at Plonk Wine Merchants (877-507-5665 or

Photo: Getty Images

party on the cheap!You’re invited! We have even more awesome ideas to help you throw a party on the cheap.