Monte Palma Rueda 2007
This 50/50 blend of verdejo and viura costs a mere $8 and it performs above its price point. If some Ruedas are saddled with obnoxious, even nasty residual sugar, most are of the clean-and-inoffensive camp. This is a notch above that, with its round body and suggestions of tropical fruit joined to crisper notes of apple and citrus as well as some interesting herbaceousness. For those who argue that Rueda should be based solely upon Spanish varieties rather than be blended with sauvignon blanc, this wine will probably reinforce your point.
Antigua Cava Mendoza Malbec 2006
Most Argentine malbecs are overextracted and sweet for my taste, but this is a dry and earthy malbec with lovely smoke overtones on the nose. It's medium bodied and its refreshing acidity showcases red fruits on the palate. To close, there's some nice spice on the finish. It's a complete and satisfying package that costs only $9.