One of the best (and most counter-intuitive) tricks to find good bargain wines is to watch by-the-glass lists at very expensive restaurants with very carefully chosen wines. Prices are inevitably under $15/glass (usually well under), which means you can probably score a bottle for under $25 in wine stores. Basically, the sommelier does a ton of arduous triage for you, 'cuz he'd damned well better serve sleeper wines that cut the grade and taste expensive!
With that in mind....I'm a big fan of the wine list at a small, horrendously pricey special-ocassion place in Fairfield County called The Schoolhouse at Cannondale. So I'm pasting it in in case it gives anyone ideas. The numbers are prices by-the-glass followed by by-the-bottle. Most can be found for less than half the price in stores.
Marco Cecchini, Pinot Grigio, Bellagioia Italy, 2006 11/39
Sydney Ann, Pinot Grigio, Italy, 2005 8/30
Pie De Palo, Viognier, Argentina, 2006 8/32
Chateau de Bonhoste, Bordeaux Blanc, France, 2005 8/32
Highfield, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand, 2006 11/40
Chateau D’orschwihr, Riesling Bollenberg, France, 2005 11/42
Huber, Gruner Veltliner, Austria, 2006 9/35
Norton Ridge, Chardonnay, Napa Valley CA, 2005 9/37
Domaine Des Echards, Hautes Cotes de Beaune, Bourgogne France, 2006 11/42
Highfield, Pinot Noir, Marlborough New Zealand, 2005 17/65
Steele, Merlot, Lake County CA, 2002 11/40
Abando, Crianza, Rioja Spain, 2001 11/45
Bishop’s Peak, Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, Arroyo Grande CA, 2004 9/37