The Wine Curmudgeon has been taking a lot of heat lately about his love of cheap wine, especially from colleagues in the wine writing business. They're probably just jealous. They have to wade through oceans of very ordinary $20 wine to find something interesting to write about, while I get to write about the Tamas Estates pinot grigio.
This wine has long been a favorite, despite going in and out of availability, changing names (it was once called Ivan Tamas), and redoing its label at least once.
The current vintage (about $10, purchased) is more pinot grigio-like than the ones I remember, and I'm pretty sure it was called pinot gris back then. Pinot gris is more or less the same grape as pinot grigio; the difference is mostly in the style the winemaker uses. This is made mostly with pinot gris, but it's less turpentine-ish and has more fruit (soft lemons?) than similarly priced pinot grigio from Italy and California.
Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2011 Hall of Fame. Drink this chilled on its own or with salads, and it's even soft enough to handle spicy foods like jambalaya.