Chianti Rufina, just outside the Chianti Classico region, offers some great value in Chianti, and Selvapiana, one of my longtime favorites, is one of the top estates there. The 2006 is bright and juicy, redolent of black cherries, sweet spices and earth. Sangiovese with just 5% Canaiolo, it's drinking beautifully now, but will also gain something from aging a bit. It's getting difficult to find wines with real character and sense of place at the $20 level, especially from Tuscany. But step outside the confines of Chianti Classico and this lovely bottle fills the bill.
Drink it with pasta fagioli, pasta dishes, grilled meats and roast birds.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Price: About $20
Style: Balanced and harmonious
What it goes with: Bean and vegetable soups, pasta dishes, grilled meats, roast birds.
Where to find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, www.hitimewine.net; Manhattan Fine Wines in Manhattan Beach, (310) 374-3454, www.manhattanfinewines.com; Wine Country in Signal Hill, (562) 597-8303, www.thewinecountry.com; and Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454 and (800) 76WINEX, www.winex.com.