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

In this month’s Five Wines Under $15, we start off with a new Riesling offering from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates – the umbrella company for Ste. Michelle’s ‘string of pearls’ – called, as things would have it, Anew. As those who gathered at the recently completed Riesling Rendezvous will attest, Ste. Michelle is perhaps the world’s foremost champion of the grape as well as the planet’s largest Riesling producer.

The Anew Riesling is an interesting blend of winemaking and wine marketing. Here’s a snippet from the press release:

“Anew Riesling is perfect for the woman who enjoys an active, healthy lifestyle but also seeks time to relax and rejuvenate,” said Rebekah Gunderson, associate marketing manager for Anew. “The slender and elegant Anew bottle and stylized floral label evoke a feminine sensibility and invites a moment of relaxation. This delicately crafted wine offers a small indulgence for those who live a balanced lifestyle.”

One look at the wine makes it clear it’s targeted at Millennial, yoga-loving women with its lotus flower-inspired label and unique bottle design. No matter whom it is intended for, it’s a delicious bottle of wine at a superb price, with the small amounts of Gewürztraminer and Muscat Canelli only adding to its appeal. Ste. Michelle is putting its considerable muscle behind the wine, producing 70,000 cases of the inaugural vintage. Based on the reception so far, it’s easy to see more zeroes being added to the end of that number in the future.

Rainstorm comes from the folks at Vinmotion, the same people who brought you Pacific Rim. Here the focus is on producing Oregon Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir at affordable prices. The label’s artistic design pays tribute to the Pacific Northwest with images of mountains, fish, bicycles and the like.

Albariño is on the rise in Washington along with a number of Iberian Peninsula red grapes. This offering from Parejas Cellars displays much of what there is to love about the grape – especially in summertime – with a crisp, clean palate and bright fruit flavors.

Speaking of summer wines, the 2012 Barnard Griffin Pinot Gris more than fits the bill. It drinks dry with a really pleasing sense of lightness paired with cleansing acidity. In contrast to many of the white wines from the vintage that are coming in at over 14% alcohol, this one comes in at a cool 12.8%. Of note, it was a rare unanimous ‘Buy’ selection in this month’s Virtual Tasting, only the sixth wine that all participants have said that they would purchase again in the five-year history of the monthly tastings.

Finally, we have the Hogue Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is Washington’s fourth most-produced white grape variety behind Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Gris. The Hogue wine provides a lot of enjoyment and value.

Have a favorite under $15 Washington or Oregon wine? Leave a comment and I’ll check it out.

Anew Riesling Columbia Valley 2012 $11
 (Good) An aromatic wine with dried apricot, lime spritz, and canned pears. The palate is off-dry with light, beautifully balanced fruit flavors and a light spritz lifting the finish. 88% Riesling, 10% Gewurztraminer, and 2% Muscat Canelli. 11.5% alcohol. 2.44g/100ml Residual Sugar. 0.73g/100ml TA. 70,000 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Recommended

Rainstorm Pinot Gris Oregon 2012 $13
(Good) A surprisingly aromatic wine with pear, floral notes, pineapple, grapefruit, and macerated grape skins. The palate is dry and medium bodied in feel but dances lightly and crisply with its fruit flavors. 12.5% alcohol. 0.45 Residual Sugar. Sample provided by winery. Recommended. 

Parejas Cellars Albariño Dutchman Vineyard Yakima Valley 2012 $15
 (Good) A moderately aromatic, intriguing wine with herbs, apple, and melon. The palate is dry with crisp fruit flavors. 100% Albariño. 13% alcohol. 248 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Barnard Griffin Pinot Gris Columbia Valley 2012 $12
(Good) A lightly aromatic wine with dried tropical fruit (papaya and dried pineapple), apple, and citrus notes. The palate has generous fruit flavors while retaining a very pleasing lightness of expression. Finishes with a cleansing lick of acidity. Caroway Vineyard. 12.8% alcohol. 1,022 cases produced. Recommended

Hogue Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley 2012 $11
 (Good) Light varietal aromas of herbs and white grapefruit rise up from the glass along with tropical notes. The palate is medium bodied, fresh with tart fruit flavors, kiwi notes, and a grapefruit pith finish. A very enjoyable, very varietal and well priced wine. 13.5% alcohol. Recommended