My specialty is $10 wine, but even I’m surprised when I find quality wine for much less than $10. Below that price, producers are more concerned with profit margins than with quality, and much-sub $10 wine tastes like it. The reds are harsh and raw, and the whites are green and unripe. The alternative is sugaring the wine to mask those flavors, and that brings unpleasantness all its own.

Which is why I was stunned to find the Barbier ($4.99 at World Market) during my research for a $6 wine story that will run in the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth next week. It’s terrific — clean and crisp, with lemon, some minerality and a floral aroma. It’s made with the same grapes used in Spanish sparkling wine like Cristalino, though it tastes quite different. Serve it as a porch sipper or with anything made with garlic and parsley. It will also pair well with Fourth of July grilled chicken. One caveat: Make sure it’s well chilled. The warmer the wine gets, the thinner and less interesting it tastes.

Some wine notes:

• I offer several other July 4th wines on my wine blog, including a New Mexican red.

• Texas award winners: Two big prizes for Texas wines — a double gold for Brennan Vineyard’s 2006 cabernet sauvignon reserve at the prestigious Indy International Wine Competition and a bronze for Sunset Winery’s 2004 Texas High Plains Newsom Vineyard “Moon Glow” Merlot at the Dallas Morning News Wine Competition this spring. Both showings are impressive. Brennan’s cabernet joined a Clos du Bois from Alexander Valley, a Clos Du Val from Stags Leap District and a V. Sattui from Napa in the double gold category. Sunset’s bronze may be even bigger, given that it is essentially a two-person operation in a converted house in suburban Fort Worth.


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