By Kimberly Holland

Five varietals cover a lot of terroir.

In spring, Target announced they were expanding their line of affordable wines with the release of The Collection, a five-varietal assortment of wines that are $9.99 each. These inexpensive wines join the box store's $5 California Roots assortment, as well as their Wine Cube, all wines aimed at a budget-conscious consumer who still enjoys a wonderful glass of vino with dinner or at an impromptu get-together.

We tasted each of the five wines so we could describe the options to you and help you make the right choice when you're shopping at Target yourself. One wine was really outstanding, and the others were quite good, especially for something so inexpensive.

Photo courtesy of Target

Pinot Grigio

The first flavors you'll detect are bright citrus and perfumed white flowers like honeysuckle. This is a zippy white wine that's a bit bitter around the edges with flavors of lemon or lime peel. It still manages to be quite dry, however. If you like the bright, light, lemony appeal of a pinot grigio but loathe that so many brands are entirely too sweet, you'll be pleasantly surprised by this option.

Pair with: Pesto Pasta, Lemon Chicken Piccata, or Grilled Halibut with Cilantro-Garlic Butter

Rosé

Many pink wines with the label rosé are light and wimpy wines that don't have too many trademark flavors of any particular varietal, but Target's rosé manages to actually stand on its on as a truly special wine. This is quite floral, with flavors of rose and peony. Red berries round out the mouth, with hints of watermelon and melon. There isn't a lot of citrus here, which is ideal if you're tired of pink-tinted whites masquerading as rosé. Instead, there's a backbone of flavor that's buttery and bright and quite unique.

Pair with: A summer cheese board, Peach and Goat Cheese Tartine, or Easy Cheese Souffles

Chardonnay

Give this chardonnay a shot if you're often shying away from the briskly white. You're unlikely to detect a great deal of oak in this one, though it manages to still be peppery and warm. The essential note of butter is here, but a hint of yeasty bread sneaks in to make this wine more toasty than you first think. The finishing note is faintly sweet, like the burnt topping of a crème brûlée—sweet and caramelized but smoky and dark.

Pair with: Shrimp and Grits, Cod with Italian Crumb Topping, or Lobster Rolls

Red Blend

Red blends are a shot in the dark quite often. They may be sweet, or they may have such a varied assortment of flavors that it's hard to know—or even enjoy—what you're drinking. The Collection's Red Blend manages to be quite sophisticated with notes of coffee, tobacco, and dark chocolate. It escapes being overly dry, which makes it dangerously sippable. The hints of sweets might actually make it a wonderful pair with dessert, even though it's not at all sugary.

Pair with: Blackberry Upside Down Cake, Oxtail Ragu, or Arepas

Our Favorite: Cabernet Sauvignon

This was the surprise of The Collection. We immensely enjoyed this wine for its full-bodied, dark and spicy flavor. Notes of berry dance along the tongue, while a hint of mocha rounds out the sip. This wine is moderately dry—don't let the inclusion of berries convince you it's sweet—but it is robust enough to stand alongside grilled meats, even barbecued foods. Even on hot summer nights, it manages to be invigorating and bright. If you pick only one of these wines to try, this is our option for best of the bunch.

Pair with: Blue Cheese Crusted Filet Mignon with Port Wine Sauce, Slow Cooker Barbequed Beef Ribs, or Veal Chop with Portobello Mushrooms

Photo courtesy of Target

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