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Leisure Spending

Stock Your Cellar With Wines of the World

Treat your palate with these four great wine values.

For our money, the best values in great red wine today come from Spain. The country has centuries of wine-making experience, cutting-edge technology, a warm climate perfect for grape ripening, and the creep of the vine into new regions.

You'll appreciate the prowess of the Spanish winemakers when you drink Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2005 ($13 a bottle; www.bodegasborsao.com), a stunning value. This rich, full-bodied wine, made from low-yielding old vines, explodes with flavors of chocolate, cherry and raspberry. Made from grenache, a grape of southern France, this chewy wine has a long finish.

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For something more complex and elegant from Spain, try Abadía Retuerta Selección Especial 2003 ($20; www.abadia-retuerta.com). This ruby-red, mellow blend of tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon and merlot has an aroma of spices and black cherries and a flavor of red currants and vanilla. Its 18 months in oak impart a refined balance.

Another place to find great values in red wines is Argentina. Catena Malbec Mendoza 2005 ($20; www.catenawines.com), made at a high altitude in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, is a beautifully balanced, concentrated wine. The malbec grape loves the soil and climate of Mendoza.

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For a refreshing summer wine to drink with seafood, chicken or salad, try South Africa's Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2006 ($23; www.mulderbosch.co.za). Sauvignon blanc is all the rage worldwide these days, and Steve Tanzer, editor of International Wine Cellar (and this writer's brother), ranks South African sauvignon blancs right after those from France's Loire Valley and New Zealand. The Mulderbosch potion has a nose of cut grass and flowers and a zesty flavor of gooseberry, lime, asparagus and minerals.

You can pick up a case of each of these four wines (48 bottles in total) for less than $1,000. To locate a retailer, try www.wine-searcher.com or www.wineaccess.com.

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