I'll confess to having low expectations from these kitsch-retro bottles. How inventive can Pinot Grigio get, anyway? In truth, all were serviceable and would do fine in a crowd, but a couple of these whites were stand outs. And at $10 apiece, they're worth taking a flier on.
2011 Pepi Chenin Blanc Viognier $10
Expecting fleshy, sweet fruit devoid of structure, this blend impressed with its depth and substance. Real Rhone character made in an unmistakably California style. Bright floral aromatics and zippy acidity make for an eye-opening surprise. The punch of fruit is kept moving through a remarkably clean finish. Bravo.
2011 Pepi Sauvignon Blanc $10
Toned and zesty, this Sauv Blanc is quick on its feet, lively, and sharp. Fans of New Zealand's citrusy style will find a lot to like in this crisp, Grannysmith apple-inflused pleaser. Easy to pick up, tougher to put down.