I was on vacation last week with my family at the beautiful Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, South Carolina. It’s just a four hour drive from our house, but the Palmetto trees give it a tropical feel and it just seemed like we were a long, long way from home. In all of our haste to pack up and leave, I forgot my wine at home. I needed a few grocery items at the local Piggly Wiggly, a southern institution that I’d yet to visit, so I picked up a bottle of the 2005 Wente Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc while I was there. On sale for $8.99 (and I didn’t need a frequent shopper card to get the discount,) I brought this wine back to our room along with two boogie boards for the kids, a frozen pizza, some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and chicken for that night’s dinner. It was hot and humid on the Isle of Palms, and after a day spent at the pool and the beach, this wine provided me just the refreshment I was looking for. The pineapple and citrus on the nose led me to believe that I’d found a real value wine, and the pineapple and honeydew melon flavors on the palate confirmed it. As I sat on the balcony, with a glass of this lovely Wente Sauvignon Blanc, I was happy. Now that we’re home, I’ll have to purchase another bottle of this wine and see if I can close my eyes and be transported back to the beach. Now that would be a bargain of a vacation.

I’ve left some money on the table this week, considering that my goal is to pick two value wines that together total no more that $19.99. My second selection this week is the 2007 Oak Grove Reserve Pinot Grigio. Admittedly, this is not normally my favorite variety, but this wine is making a Pinot Grigio believer out of me. At $7.99 retail, this is an everyday value wine that greatly surpassed my expectations. A fruity citrus nose led to lovely lemon flavors. The finish was very crisp and refreshing, making it a great summer wine. This wine paired beautifully with the veggie side dish that I made for dinner tonight: thinly-sliced raw summer squash (from our neighbor’s garden) with thinly sliced shallots, mixed with olive oil, lemon juice, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. (A Martha Stewart recipe – thanks, Martha!) The price of this wine is worth repeating – $7.99 retail! I can hardly wait to try their other varieties!