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Ten affordable wines for the connoisseurs

I had a wine friend with a 20,000-bottle cellar. It held a stunning variety of wines, including some of the world’s finest and most expensive.

His everyday wine, his “house” wine, was a $10 cabernet sauvignon from Chile. Oh, and he bought it by the case to get the 10 percent discount.

“I don’t like to waste money,” he shrugged.

It was his Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday night wine, to go with meatloaf, spaghetti, pasta, without the hedonistic super focus he would use with one of his cellar gems.

My friend had the knowledge, the confidence, to do this, even to tell his snootiest wine friends about it. They understood you don’t get rich by wasting money.

This is a good idea. If you’re a frequent wine sipper, you can’t be spending $50 on a bottle every night. So I’m listing here some very nice bottles that cost $15 or less, so you can choose maybe a red and a white to purchase by the case for that discount.

(I know $15 times seven days is more than $100 a week – a strain on most budgets. But I’m not suggesting you polish off a whole bottle with every meal.)

So give some of these a try, and see if you find a house wine among the. The homework at least is pleasant.

Highly recommended

2012 Mirassou Chardonnay, Central Coast (98 percent chardonnay, 2 percent other white grapes): soft and lush, with aromas and flavors of ripe peaches and mangoes; $12.

• 2013 Bodega Trivento “Amado Sur” Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina (78 percent malbec, 12 percent bonarda, 10 percent syrah): inky hue, aromas and flavors of ripe black cherries and chocolate, soft tannins; $15.

• 2012 Clayhouse Syrah, “Red Cedar Vineyard,” Paso Robles (86 percent syrah, 12 percent petite sirah, 2 percent viognier): aromas and flavors of ripe black plums and licorice, soft tannins; $14.

Recommended

• 2012 Murphy-Goode Merlot, Calif. (97 percent merlot, 3 percent cabernet sauvignon): hint of oak, aromas and flavors of black cherries and black pepper, full body, firm tannins; $15.

• 2013 Makara Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand (100 percent sauvignon blanc): aromas and flavors of white grapefruit and gooseberries, crisp and lively; $14.

• 2013 Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT (87 percent pinot grigio, 13 percent chardonnay): light, crisp and fruity, with aromas and flavors of lemons and peaches; $12.

• 2013 Light Horse Pinot Noir, Napa Valley (100 percent pinot noir): aromas and flavors of red raspberries, licorice and spice, medium body; $15.

• 2012 Coltibuono “Cetamura” Chianti DOCG (sangiovese): light-bodied and young, with aromas and flavors of tart cherries and mocha, light, smooth tannins; $11.

• Nonvintage Mionetto Prosecco Brut, DOC Treviso (100 percent glera): mildly fizzy, aromas and flavors of ripe apricots and green apples; $14.

• 2012 Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon, California (100 percent cabernet sauvignon): deep purple, aromas and flavors of black cherries and mocha, full-bodied, ripe; $15.

Fred Tasker has retired from the Miami Herald but is still writing about wine. He can be reached at fredtaskerwine@gmail.com.