These are boom times for cost-conscious wine consumers, and one of the best examples is what has happened to the basic Rodney Strong chardonnay (sample). This is quality, top-notch, $15 wine from one of California's most consistent producers.
But because of the recession, retailers are desperate to move product, and they are discounting this wine all over the place. I have seen it in Dallas for as little as $10 a bottle, and it showed up the other day on wine-searcher.com for $9. It's even discounted on the Rodney Strong Web site for $13.50.
This is a value at $15 -- classic California chardonnay, with oak, green apple and citrus flavors, all in balance. It's low in alcohol, food friendly (roast chicken or fish with a cream sauce), you can drink it on its own, and it even won a gold medal in a prestigious California wine competition. So if you see it for $10 or $12, buy it and know you got a great deal.