Aspirin, caffeine, blowfish. What really cures a 2012 hangover (Happy, happy by the way)? We're going with cheap — but good — wine.

Sure, 'tis this time of year for New Year's resolution cliches. But as wine journalist Natalie MacLean is well aware, the key is finding those bargain wines that actually are worth a second sip. In her latest book, Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines, MacLean offers up her personal winery tasting experiences followed by tips for seeking out wine bargains in various regions. You know, the typical practical wine advice set up. Only these wines, and the prose, are good.

And so those Reisling bargains (Dr. Loosens' Dr. L Reisling is her top pick) are revealed after MacLean shares her wine travel tastings to Germany (Chapter two). Each chapter is followed by food pairings (Brie, duck pate, smoked trout and sure, fried chicken with a dry Riesling) and further reading suggestions for each varietal she explores (The Wines of Germany, Riesling Renaissance).

In other words, these are those good Tipsy Quest consequences. But the real interest here is the prose, as MacLean, a four-time winner of James Beard journalism awards, somehow manages to give everyday farming issues an interesting plot-line. “The enemy — massive in numbers, cunning, and beady-eyed — weigh less than two ounces each: The European starling,” begins the Pinot Noir war between growers and grape predators in Chapter three. “These birds travel in black clouds of peckish delight, swooping down to strip vineyards clean of the fruit in a few hours.”

We'll leave the rest of the Unquenchable story, and those best value Pinot Noir producer picks, to MacLean. Happy New Year.

[More from Jenn Garbee @eathistory +]

LA Weekly