There are plenty of times when it's well worth spending a little more per ounce to get a finer wine made with superior craftsmanship and top-notch ingredients. There are just as many occasions when spending more per ounce is unnecessary, and perhaps even unlikely to be appreciated. Unoaked white wines are one of the most serviceable categories in such circumstances, as they are so affordable to produce. It's not that green grapes are any cheaper to grow than red ones — they're not. The big difference that affects cost is that white wines don't need to age as long as reds after fermentation and before bottling. That means the wine can be sent to market less than a year from its harvest date, reducing the cost of maintaining barrel cellars and massive stocks of inventory. As a result, it is the lightest, brightest, and cleanest white wine style, like this snappy Italian pinot grigio with flavors of green apples and Asian pears, that can deliver a perfectly sound wine at suspiciously low prices. This is doubly true of those packaged in magnums, or "double bottles," in which economies of scale lower the price per ounce even further. Standard bottles contain five glasses of wine; magnums hold 10, which makes big bottles like these perfect for larger gatherings and more casual settings.
Cavit Pinot Grigio (1.5L magnum), Venezie, Italy. $11.99 (regularly $14.99; sale price through Aug. 26). PLCB Item #4275.