The springtime party season is near. Time to stock up on wines that won't cost more than any of the gifts.
For a light, refreshing choice, try the 2014 Maison Belle Claire Blanc or Rosé ($18), sunny Provençals that are fine as a sipper and good company for appetizers. The 2012 Mazzoni Vermentino Chardonnay ($19) offers a versatile, harmonious partner for fried calamari, pesto-sauced pasta and uncomplicated chicken dishes. And the 2013 Garofoli "Macrina"
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore DOC ($14) is ideal with fried seafood.
The dependable 2013 Marco Felluga "Mongris" Pinot Grigio ($18) is floral and fruity, and right with everything from spicy Asian cuisine to roast chicken, salads to ham. From Napa Valley comes the delightful 2013 Franciscan Estate Chardonnay ($18), a minerally, citrusy white that also has notes of pear. It's a fine choice with shellfish, especially crab and lobster.
Look for the crisp 2014 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Rosé ($23), a fresh, pretty-in-pink number with suggestions of strawberry. Italy contributes the very pink, aromatic 2014 Santi Infinito Rosé ($15). Both are a match for salads, chicken, pork, spicy fare.
Solid reds: the 2012 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rufina DOCG ($17), excellent with red-sauced pastas and the meats that go with them; the 2012 Inama "Carmenère Piu" Colli Berici DOC ($20), fine with cured meats, grilled pork and chicken; and the 2012 Joseph Drouhin Laforêt Bourgogne Pinot Noir ($19), bright and full of red fruit, with an affinity for salmon, tuna, even a juicy burger.