One of the best cheap wines of all-time was Benziger's fume blanc, which appeared in the $10 Hall of Fame in its early years. But the wine hasn't been around the Dallas area much lately, and a Benziger spokeswoman said it wasn't being distributed nationally any more.
Fortunately, though, we have the Benziger sauvignon blanc ($15, sample). It does everything the fume did (fume is just another way of saying sauvignon blanc), and if it costs $5 more, the wine is mostly worth it. Look for a little lemon on the nose, a big burst of tropical fruit in the middle, and a pleasant mineral finish. This is very well made wine by people who respect winemaking. And, not only does it come with a screwcap, but it is produced using sustainable farming methods (the Farming for Flavors program). The Benzigers, in fact, are among the California pioneers in green winemaking.
Drink this chilled, and sip it on its own this summer. It's already close to 100 in Dallas, and the wine was a welcome relief last night. Or pair it with grilled chicken, boiled seafood or almost anything with garlic and parsley.