A special Valentine’s Day Five Under $15 because in tough times, we continue the search for good, inexpensive wines.

A great group of value wines this month. The first is the 2008 Glaze Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was made by Ross Mickel of Ross Andrew Winery in Woodinville, Washington. Mickel spent nine years as assistant winemaker at Betz Family Winery before starting his own winery. The 2008 Glaze Cabernet is good enough that, even though the winery’s name is not on the label, they were pouring it at the tasting room on a recent visit. While the tannins are a bit drying, this wine delivers well above its $15 price point.

The Kiona Vineyards & Winery Reserve Dry Riesling is the first release I have seen from the 2010 vintage. The grapes comes from Kiona’s original 1975 vineyard planting. This wine is further evidence of Riesling’s adaptability. It can grow well in vineyards on Red Mountain as well as cooler sites, such as Evergreen Vineyard. In both, it displays both varietal characteristics as well as the character of the particular site. This is part of what makes this grape, Washington’s most produced in 2010 and consistently the state’s highest QPR varietal, so compelling.

The next two wines come from Pacific Rim Winery. Both of these white wines are current releases but have a few years of bottle age on them, which makes them particularly interesting for the wine consumer. For $10, you’re seldom find wines more enjoyable than these two offerings.

While Pacific Rim focuses most of its attention on Riesling, it also makes a few other wines such as this 2007 Chenin Blanc. Sadly Chenin Blanc is far from consumer’s attention at present and also fails to command high prices either from the vineyard or from the winery. For this reason, many vineyards have been pulling Chenin vines in recent years in Washington and elsewhere. This is a shame as the varietal clearly does well here as evidenced by bottles from Hestia Cellars, Cedergreen Cellars, McKinley Springs, and L’Ecole No. 41 to name just a few.

The 2008 Milbrandt Vineyards Traditions Riesling is another delicious value-priced bottle from this winery. The Traditions wines come with tear away recipe links on the back label. The one that accompanies this wine is for Whole Avocado Stuffed with Crabmeat.

Of note, I picked up the Glaze Cabernet Sauvignon and Milbrandt Riesling from Seattle’s Full Pull Wines. Owner and friend Paul Zitarelli continues to find high quality wines for his mailing list customers across a wide range of price points.

Glaze Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2008 $15
Rating: +/* (Excellent) Compelling aromas of blackberry, black licorice, wood notes, and spice along with an underlayer of herbal notes. The palate is fruit forward and full of black fruit flavors accented by dry – and somewhat drying – chalky tannins. Finishes a touch hot, surprising given the 13.6% percent alcohol listed, but this wine is a big, big winner at this price point.

Kiona Wine Reserve Dry Riesling Red Mountain 2010 $15
Rating: + (Good) Pretty aromatics of floral notes, tangerines, pear, and hints of tropical fruit. The palate is dry but with a lot of sweet fruit flavors and a full mouthfeel. 13% alcohol. Recommended.

Pacific Rim Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley 2007 $10

Rating: + (Good) Straw, pear, honey, and mineral notes on an appealing aroma profile. Palate has mouthwatering acidity, a touch of sweetness, and a full mouthfeel. 13.1% alcohol. 1.27% Residual Sugar. Recommended.

Pacific Rim Dry Riesling Columbia Valley 2007 $10
Rating: + (Good) A very pleasing aroma profile of light diesel, jasmine, honey, and lees notes. Dry and crisp on the palate with mouthwatering, lemony acidity. Alcohol 12.5%. Residual Sugar .75% pH: 3.21 TA:0.73. Recommended.

Milbrandt Traditions Riesling 2008 Columbia Valley $13
Rating: + (Good) Appealing aromas of lemon, honey, yellow apple, and citrus. A full and fleshy feel on the palate on this off-dry style wine, stitched together with a tart finish. 12.5% alcohol. Recommended.