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Best Wines for Under $12

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Whether you're dining on a budget, breaking in a fake ID, or nestling underneath the Pulaski Skyway, finding a decent inexpensive wine can be tricky. Is it too fizzy? Does the screw cap dig into your flesh? Can the label's adhesive double as a hallucinogen? All these questions add up to a giant headache -- one more blinding than what a few sips of Chateau Bayonne can produce.

But every year, the Boston Globe wrangles a few daring taste-testers to judge the merits of several budget wines. And recently, after sipping through 50 different sub-$12 wines, the four judges provided their picks -- five from the whites and five from the reds. According to the tasters, the 2009 Saint-Peyre Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet was the overall winner.

Here were the judges' overall favorites. But remember, when tasting these wines, make sure you have a spotter.

JOAN JOHNSON - co-owner of the Bay Village restaurant Erbaluce
WHITES
2009 Domaine Haut-Marin “Cuvee Marine’’ Cotes de Gascogne, France
2009 Saint-Peyre Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet, France
2009 Weingut Hofer Landwein Gruner Veltliner, Austria
2008 Forster Winzerverein Pfalz Riesling Kabinett Trocken, Germany
2009 Case Ibidini IGT Sicilia Insolia, Italy

REDS
2006 El Coto Rioja Crianza, Spain
2008 Schlossmuhlenhof Dornfelder Rheinhessen Trocken, Germany
2008 Iche “Les Heretiques’’ Vin de Pays de L’Herault, France
2008 Domaine Brunet Vin de Pays de la Mediterranee Pinot Noir, France
2009 Mas de Guiot Vin de Pays du Gard, France

ELLEN BHANG - wine intern at Legal Sea Foods
WHITES
2009 Saint-Peyre Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet, France
2009 Fontezoppa Verdicchio di Matelica, Italy
2008 Quinta do Alqueve Ribatejo, Portugal
2009 Oveja Negra Maule Valley Sauvignon Blanc-Carmenere Reserva, Chile
2009 Chimney Creek Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand

REDS
2008 Domaine Forca Real “Mas de la Garrigue’’ Cotes du Roussillon Villages, France
2008 Domaine Brunet Vin de Pays de la Mediterranee Pinot Noir, France
2005 Abbaye de Saint-Ferme “Les Vignes du Soir’’ Bordeaux Superieure, France
2007 Masciarelli, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, Italy
2008 Gougenheim Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon, Argentina

KAI GAGNON - sommelier at Bergamot restaurant in Cambridge
WHITES
2009 Saint-Peyre Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet, France
2009 Weingut Hofer Landwein Gruner Veltliner, Austria
2009 Case Ibidini IGT Sicilia Insolia, Italy
2009 Oveja Negra Maule Valley Sauvignon Blanc-Carmenere Reserva, Chile
2009 Chimney Creek Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand

REDS
2006 El Coto Rioja Crianza, Spain
2008 Schlossmuhlenhof Dornfelder Rheinhessen Trocken, Germany
2009 Mas de Guiot Vin de Pays du Gard, France
2008 Campo de Borja “Monte Oton,’’ Garnacha, Spain
2007 Domaine Sallies Vin de Pays d’Oc Marselan, France

STEPHEN MEUSE - Boston Globe correspondent
WHITES
2009 Domaine Haut-Marin “Cuvee Marine’’ Cotes de Gascogne, France
2009 Saint-Peyre Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet, France
2009 Case Ibidini IGT Sicilia Insolia, Italy
2009 Mas Carlot “Tradition’’ Costieres de Nimes, France
2008 Quinta do Alqueve Ribatejo, Portugal

REDS
2006 El Coto Rioja Crianza, Spain
2008 Schlossmuhlenhof Dornfelder Rheinhessen Trocken, Germany
2008 Domaine Brunet Vin de Pays de la Mediterranee Pinot Noir, France
2008 Campo de Borja “Monte Oton,’’ Garnacha, Spain
2007 Domaine Sallies Vin de Pays d’Oc Marselan, France
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