Recent tastings – foreign and domestic, remotely or in person — led us to wine discoveries from the Sonoma Coast, to the mountains of Argentina, sunny slopes of Rioja and emerging vineyards in Central Otago, New Zealand. The wines highlighted here were among the best values we’ve found in the past few months and covered earlier on Twitter and Facebook.
Prices range from $9 to $23 and the wines were purchased from merchants, big box stores, grocery stores, wineries and a few flash sale websites.
- $9 party, picnic Mendoza Malbec Pascual Toso ’16 (screw top). Mid-ruby; peppery, prune, woody nose; mid-big body; fat; grapey; hot finish (13.5 alc.).
- Easy sipping $11 Oregon Pinot Noir ’15 Erath. Light-mid brick; stemmy, plum jam nose; mid-body; decent fruit; better flavor than nose; short fruity finish. Party, picnic, reception wine.
- $11 Lodi Zinfandel West Coast Wine Group ’16 Eminent Archon. Mid-ruby; pomegranate, berry, wood nose; mid-body; balanced; soft tannins; easy-drinking party, BBQ picnic wine.
- $13 Rioja ’13 Izadi Rioja Reserva. Mid-purple; plum, fig, wood nose (Tempranillo); mid-big body; tight tannins; good fruit; long semi-chewy finish. w/BBQ, ribs, burgers.
- Big $13 Sonoma Zinfandel ’13 Ravenswood Barricia single vineyard. Dark garnet; ripe grape, brambles, peppery, wood nose; mid-big body; good fruit and flavor; long semi-chew finish; a touch hot (15.1 alc.). BBQ/Rib wine.
- $13 Central Otago NZ Pinot Noir ’15 Mud House. Light mid-ruby; stemmy Pinot, raspberries nose; mid-body; balanced; good fruit and Pinot flavor; some style for the price.
- Good $13 Monterey Pinot Noir ’14 Paraiso Vineyards. Mid-brick; black cherry, pomegranate nose; mid-body; good acids; long fruity finish. w/veal, pasta with lighter sauces.
- Big Paso Robles $13 Zinfandel ’16 Opolo Summit Creek. Mid-ruby; ripe grape, prune (15.6 alc.), pomegranate nose; big body; grapey; thick; long fruity finish; for those who like the bigger high-alcohol styles. w/BBQ
- $14 Mendoza BBQ and rib wine ‘15 Bodega Catena Zapata D.V. Catena Tinto Historico. Mid-dark garnet; peppery, black fruit, licorice nose; mid-big body; one dimensional; long woody chewy finish.
- $15 Sonoma Merlot ’16 Cline Reserve Series. Mid-dark garnet; mint, blackberry, cocoa, light oak nose; mid-body; balanced; good fruit and flavor; long flavorful finish. Having at pre-game tailgate with sandwiches, appetizers.
- $15 Barbera d’Alba, Cascina Chicco ’16 Granera Alta. Dark garnet; redwood, strawberry, peppery nose; mid-big body but softening tannins; good fruity varietal finish. w/Pizza, pasta, cheeses.
- $17 Spanish Tempranillo from old vines, ’12 Marques de Caceres Rioja Reserva. Mid-garnet; pomegranate, ripe grape, oak nose (French oak); mid-body; balanced; good fruit and flavor; long semi-chewy finish. w/pasta, red sauce; BBQ
- $17 Paso Robles GSM ’15 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas (51% Syrah, 31% Grenache, 14% Mourvedre, 4% Counoise). Mid-garnet, pink edges; blackberry, mineral, peppery nose; mid-body; balanced acids/tannins; good fruit; complex mix of flavors on the finish. Beef and BBQ wine.
- Spanish BBQ/rib wine Bodegas Volver $17 Monastrell Tarima Hill Old Vines. Mid-dark ruby; ripe grape, manzanita, wood nose, natal plum; big extract; good structure; chewy, long hot finish.
- (Deutsch-Nantz) The Calling Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $18. Mid-ruby; stemmy black berry, ripe grape nose (14.2 alc.); mid-big body; for those who like bigger style Pinot; some Pinot character; long hot finish keeps it from scoring higher. w/pasta, beef
- $18 Napa Valley Merlot with some style ’15 Whitehall Lane. Mid-ruby, brick edges; plum, cocoa, jam nose; mid-body; balanced; softening tannins; long semi-lush finish, with varietal character.
- $20 Salta (Argentina, high altitude) Bodega Colome Malbec Estate. Dark purple; prunes, peppery, earthy, black licorice nose; mid-big body; long thick chewy finish (14.9 alc.). w/ribs or BBQ.
- $20 Napa Merlot ’15 Lava Vine. Dark garnet; smoke, cocoa and licorice nose; big body; tight tannins; a little hot (14.2 alc.); long fruity Merlot finish; needs time. w/beef.
- $22 Catena Zapata 2014 High Mountain Vines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Appellation San Carlos (Mendoza). Mid-garnet; herbaceous, cassis, mint, plum nose; mid-big body; mid-tannins; good structure; balanced; some style; long woody, fruity finish. w/beef.
- $23 Barossa Valley Shiraz ’16 Two Hands Gnarly Dudes. Dark garnet; big berry, mint, prune and peppery nose; mid-body; good fruit; long hot (13.8 alc.) berry-mint finish and aftertaste. w/BBQ.