In tough times, we continue the search for good, inexpensive wines.

Duck Pond Cellars
, a sister winery to Desert Wind, is located in Dundee, Oregon. The winery’s 2009 Syrah, however, comes from Desert Wind Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. As I’ve written a number of times before, quality Syrahs from Washington are somewhat difficult to come by in the value price range. While Duck Pond’s 2009 offering doesn’t entirely come together, it is an enjoyable, extremely well priced wine that is unmistakably syrah. It also competes quite favorably with many Washington Syrahs $3-$8 more. Hard to ask for much more.

Kiona Vineyards and Winery is Red Mountain’s founding winery (read a Focus Report on the winery here). Kiona was also the first commercial winery in the U.S. to produce Lemberger back in 1980. Thirty-two years later, the Lemberger remains and has something of a cult following. Not many bottles of wine from Red Mountain in the value price range, let alone ones that comes from old vine fruit.

Renegade Wine Co. is a project from Trey Busch of Sleight of Hand Cellars. At Renegade, Busch buys juice from other wineries to bottle wines at compelling price points. The 2009 Red Wine could just as easily have been labeled as a Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes up 80% of the blend.

Sauvignon Blanc is Washington’s fourth most produced white grape behind Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Gris. Sales of the grape nationally have been on a downturn in the last year, with the prevailing wisdom being that the cause is the huge surge in Moscato sales. Fear not Washington growers and winemakers, consumers will be back to Sauvignon Blanc, and when they are, bottles like this budget friendly wine from Chateau Ste. Michelle will be waiting for them.

Covey Run was founded in 1982. The winery focuses exclusively on wines in the value price range. Fruit for the 2009 Merlot comes from Alder Ridge, Bacchus, and Northridge.

Read previous Five Wines Under $15 here.

Duck Pond Cellars Syrah Desert Wind Vineyard Wahluke Slope 2009 $12
(Good) Dark in color with purple at the rim. An aromatically arresting wine – unmistakably syrah, full of floral notes, blueberries, smoke, and bacon fat. The palate has a rich inner mouth perfume with soft fruit flavors and silky tannins. Doesn’t entirely stitch together and the fruit wants a bit more concentration at times but overall an enjoyable wine given the modest price. Competes quite favorably with many Washington syrahs $3-$8 more. 99.7% Syrah, 0.3% Merlot. Aged 8 months in American oak. 14.5% alcohol. 4,177 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Recommended

Kiona Lemberger Estate Bottled Red Mountain 2009 $12
(Good) Medium ruby. A moderately aromatic wine with red cherries, Band Aid, and mulling spices. The palate is on the lighter side with soft tannins and very soft, silky fruit flavors. An enjoyable, easy drinking, well-priced red. 100% Lemberger. Kiona Estate. Aged in French and American oak (25% new). 13.5% alcohol.

Renegade Wine Co. Red Wine Columbia Valley 2009 $10
(Good) An aromatic wine full of light toasty notes, raspberries, red cherries, and chocolate. The palate is light bodied, full of soft fruit flavors. Trails off on the second half. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot. 13.8% alcohol.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley 2010 $11
(Good) A moderately aromatic wine with appealing aromas of white grapefruit, mango and pineapple. The palate is has a fairly full feel with fresh fruit flavors. An enjoyable, easy drinking bottle at a can’t-be-beat price. 100% Sauvignon Blanc. 20% barrel fermentation for two months in neutral French oak. 12.5% alcohol. Recommended

Covey Run Merlot Columbia Valley 2009 $10
(Decent) A moderately aromatic wine full of raspberry aromas and bittersweet chocolate. The palate is light bodied and straightforward with soft tannins coming on late. 94% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot. Alder Ridge, Bacchus, and North Ridge vineyards. 13.5% alcohol. 16,050 cases produced.

Rating System
Please note, my rating system was revised at the beginning of 2012 as follows. Read additional details here.
(Not recommended/Flawed)