wine under $20

Wine Review | Cameron Hughes Lot 182, 2005 Meritage, Atlas Peak

Cameron Hughes Lot 182, 2005 Meritage, Atlas Peak

2005 Atlas Peak Cameron Hughes Meritage

90% Cabernet

There is a kind of funny, unofficial story behind the labeling on this wine.  The blend is 90% Cabernet, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot.  Technically this wine could have been called a Cabernet.  But as the story goes, there was a mix up and the labels had already been made.

Total production for Lot 182 is only 1,700 cases, and rather unusual to this acquisition is the fact that the wine was purchased in shiners (unlabeled bottles) that had been cellar aged for 4 years.  And speaking of the bottles, these bottles are taller and heavier in weight than most.  The extra aging has an amazing effect on this mountain fruit.  It is ripe and rich with loads of Blueberry, Cassis and Blackberry.  The tannins are firm and fine, and the finish is rich and chocolaty.  According to Cameron this wine was aged in 40% new French Oak.  Alcohol comes in at 14.5%  At $15 this is a ridiculously low price for a wine that is really starting to reach is prime right now.

Rating: 93 points.

Wine Review: Lang and Reed 2007, Cabernet Franc, North Coast California

Alcohol: 13.5%

Lang & Reed 2007 Cabernet Franc

Price: $22 online, $15-$20 retail. In Arizona it’s available at AZ Wine Company

100% Cabernet Franc

The nose:   Pretty floral notes, sweet almost marshmallow like…  it’s true!  Smell a freshly opened bag of marshmallows sometime…

The Palate: Slightly creamy texture, bright acidity, not a heavy long lasting acidity.  It’s more of a youthful acidity.  The fruit is a sweet and sour cherry. Sweet like a ripe dark cherry but quickly transitions into a tart unripe fruit center.  Like you are eating the center of the fruit.  Chewy Wooly tannins which make your mouth pucker up a bit, squeaky teeth tannins I like to say.

The Finish: Pleasant and light little touch of herbs.

Conclusion:  For the price ($15-$20) it is a very decent Cabernet Franc.  I’m not blown away to the point of buying several cases of it, but I think I will buy several more bottles and lay them down to see how it ages of the next year or two.  I paired this wine with a nice big New York Steak, and a twice baked potato with loads of melted extra sharp Tillamook cheddar on top.  And finished with a big piece of chocolate brownie cheesecake.  The wine went great with all three. And speaking of a nice big steak why not check out my super awesome steak recipe here

Lang and Reed Website Here

Tim

Wine Review: Bonterra Vineyards 2007 Viognier – Organic

Bonterra Organic Wine

Technicals:

Price: $10.99 at Costco

Where from? : 65% Mendocino County, 35% Lake County

Certified Organically Grown Grapes

Alcohol: 13.64%

Blend:  Viognier 81%, Marsanne 10%, Roussane 4% and Muscat 5%

Aging: 4 months in 30% new French Oak.

Crisp and fairly light.  The nose was not really that present, very slight honeysuckle is really all I could pick up.  On the palate the dominant flavor is green apple with a little bit of peach, a very little bit.  I don’t know why, but I was expecting something different.  I suppose it’s because one of my favorite wines d’Arenberg’s Laughing Magpie is a blend of 90% Shiraz and 10% Viognier.  It must be quite a different Viognier because I can’t see how green apple would go with Shiraz?  I ended up not drinking much more than a glass of this wine on the first night.  It’s not the wine’s fault, I was having steak for dinner which calls for Cabernet.  But I did re-investigate Bonterra the next night while watching Olympic Hockey.  And actually I liked it a lot more.  I think I might have tried this one too close to the Grgich Hills Fume Blanc the day before.  As a stand alone wine it’s quite good.  Nice crisp green apple, virtually no oak, light.  Just a nice decent afternoon sipper.  With the added feel good bonus of having been made from Certified Organically Grown Grapes.  I would pick this up for summer parties as an alternative to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Tim

4 Awesome Wines under $20

The down-turn in the economy has provided me with some amazing opportunities to try high-end wines.  The metro-Phoenix area has been hit very hard by the recession.  A lot of grocery stores and warehouse stores have reduced their high-end wine inventories, slashed prices, and replaced the floor space with things that people might buy more of in a recession.  Things like bread and vegetables, instead of second-growth Bordeaux.

As a result I have been able to pick up some of these $50-$100 wines for about half price, and I have been reviewing and enjoying them.  It occurred to me last week that not everyone can get their hands on these mark-downs. I decided to balance out my reviewing with some great under $20 bargains.

So, just in time for the Christmas season, here are some awesome wines under $20

#1:

Cameron Hughes, Lot 140, 2007, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chalk Hill, Sonoma County.  $13.99 at select Costco’s.

On the nose: Raspberry,  Bing cherry and Anise.

On the Palate: Cocoa and a hint of mint

See my review of it full review of it here .

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#2:

Next up is d’Arenberg’s “Laughing Magpie”

one the nose: floral notes with cranberry and cherries

on the palate:  Ripe and juicy, velvety mouth-feel

full review here

$18.99 at Costco

#3:

And thirdly, just to switch things up a little bit (I have been reviewing mostly reds)  it’s a Sauvignon Blanc from Titus Vineyards:

Deliciously smooth with ripe fruit and well balanced acidity, more on this wine here.

It’s $20 on their website and most wineries websites are a little higher than the average retail, so you could probably find it cheaper than $20 at a retail outlet.  But you’ll have to be quick about it, there were only 380 cases made!

#4:

And last but not least:  Chalone Vineyard Monterey Cabernet, 2007

$16.99 retail, although with coupons and discounts I ended up paying about $7.56 a bottle

13.5% alcohol, vanilla oak, well balanced oak and fruit, see full review here