A Potential 92 Point Vacqueyras for $16 – Domaine du Terme (IWC 90-92)

January 26, 2015 90+ Bargains  No comments

IMG_4300When it comes to France's Rhone Valley, it's hard to beat Vacqueyras for value.  Wines from this appellation are a step up from Cotes-du-Rhone villages, and when you find the right wines, on par with the much more expensive wines of Gigondas.

This particular wine from Domaine du Terme is outstanding with the flinty, mineral characteristics typical of the region but with broad fruit, notes of black olive, tons of depth and excellent length.  The nose is also great, with bright raspberry and flowers.  This is a very complete wine at any price and at $15.95 is a daily drinker with weekend drinker quality.  I had a glass of 2011 Pegau last night and while this isn't quite that good (Pegau is a $60 wine), it's certainly reminiscent.

The Wine Advocate gave this wine 90 points and the

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My Top Wines of 2014

January 12, 2015 News and Opinion  No comments

This is the time to reflect on the year behind us and to anticipate about the year ahead.  So naturally, I'm reflecting on the best wine I drank in 2014.
Wine of The Year:
2007 Sine Qua Non Pictures (Grenache), Santa Rita Hills, CA

This is a wine that only those who have waited 10+ years for inclusion on the mailing list or are willing to pay the $500+ asking price on the secondary market, get to taste.  A generous friend brought this to dinner at my house and it did not disappoint.  Not only was it the best wine I drank all year, but it was the best Grenache I've ever tasted.
Honorable Mentions:
2009 Torrin Syrah Akasha, Paso Robles, CA

If it wasn't for the above mentioned wine, this one would have taken the cake.  This is a wine of outrageous

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A Chianti Classico to Age – ’12 San Giusto a Rentennano (AG90, $24.95)

December 9, 2014 90+ BargainsHigh End Values  No comments

2012 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico

The more wine I taste, the more I realize the quantity of great wines out there.  Budget and space allows me to only connect certain wines (domestic Rhones, domestic Cabernet, Barolo and  Chateauneuf-du-Pape), but wines like this make me wish I could expand my horizons.

This wine is Sangiovese from start to finish.  Bright cherry and flint on the nose lead into a highly concentrated palate with strong acid to balance the fruit.  The balance on this wine is really excellent and suggests it will be still be going strong in 10+ years.  Classy.
Buy Here: 2012 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico $24.95
Antonio Galloni 90 points

"San Giusto’s 2012 Chianti Classico is wonderfully pliant, open and generous. Dark red fruit, smoke, tobacco and wild flowers are all

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Correction: 90 Point Napa Cab Is $15 Not $17!

December 3, 2014 90+ Bargains  No comments

It's Nickel and Dime Wine readers' lucky day because the price of the Ca' Momi Napa Cab, which Robert Parker rated 90 points is $14.95 not $16.95, making it an even more incredible deal.  The original post has been corrected here or you can just click below to buy!
Buy Here: 2012 Ca' Momi Napa Cabernet $14.95
Wine Advocate 90 points

"The delicious, fruit-forward 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon has been produced by Ca’Momi. Its dark ruby/purple hue is accompanied by copious aromas of black currants and spice as well as richness and length that build incrementally on the palate. This tasty, high-class Cabernet Sauvignon can be enjoyed over the next decade or more."

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A 90 Point Napa Cab for $15 – Ca’ Momi 2012 ($14.95, RP90)

December 3, 2014 90+ Bargains  No comments


The days of the (drinkable) under $20 Napa Cab are over aren't they?  I think I've said that numerous times on this blog.  Well I'll be the first to raise my hand and say I was proven wrong here.  A relatively new winery called Ca' Momi has released a solid 2012 Napa Cab at the magical under $20 $15 price point.  This is the second coming of the 2005 Avalon.

Are there better wines for $15?  Sure, I think looking toward France, Italy or Spain will get you something a little better at the price point.  But are there better Napa Cabs for $15?  Absolutely not.  You don't have to trust me on this.  Robert Parker himself described this as "high-class" and gave it 90 points.  I followed a bottle over two days and this wine showed a nice nose of cherry with

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Michel Gassier’s White Rhone Hit – ’12 Lou Coucardie (WA93, $21.95)

November 21, 2014 90+ Bargains  No comments

Michel Gassier Lou Coucardie Blanc  2012

I first had a Michel Gassier wine in French Canadia (I believe that's the proper term) at a high- end restaurant.  I was impressed at the reasonable price at the restaurant ($12/glass) and was even more impressed when I subsequently discovered that same Syrah at some local wine shops for under $15 per bottle (though I was then less impressed with the glass price).

My next encounter with Gassier was the red version of today's wine written up here on this blog in 2012, a wine I wish I had bought more of.

Needless to say, Gassier is doing some amazing things in the Rhone valley and this white might be his biggest hit yet.  It's a huge, full throttle white with enormous complexity likely due to its blend of 59% Roussanne and 41% Viognier.  Honey, yeast and bitter citrus notes

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92 Point Rhone Red for $11.95 – Domaine Cabirau Cotes du Roussillon

November 17, 2014 90+ BargainsUnder $12 Deals  No comments


Value seekers need to discover the Roussillon appellation of the southern Rhone Valley fast!  Where else in the world can you find highly rated reds for less than $15?

Today's wine is from a winery recently purchased by successful importer Dan Kravitz.  This is one of the best wines in the world for the price.  It features bright red fruits on the nose and sweet strawberry on the palate accented by superb minerality.  The super long finish speaks to the quality of the old vines Grenache.  That grape combined with smaller amounts of Carignan and Syrah, create a complex and incredibly polished wine at any price.  At $12, it's frankly incredible.  Furthermore, this wine is bottled under screwcap so it will remain fresh and will be without the risk of cork taint.  Bravo to this case

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Another Bigtime Rhone Value – 2011 Chateau de la Negly $16.95

October 27, 2014 Uncategorized  No comments


Here's another killer value from the up-and-coming Languedoc appellation in France's southern Rhone Valley.  I drank this last week with friends at Chicago's Bite Cafe and it was a big hit at the table.  It's a deeply concentrated blend of 50% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah, which in addition to the concentration, features complex dark berry flavors and great length.

In addition to the complex flavors, this wine features a complex name: Chateau de la Negly Coteaux du Languedoc la Clape Cuvee de la Cot.  As I've said before, France, and especially Rhone, needs to take care of their naming conventions and they would sell tons more wine.  This one's naming convention is the name of the winery (Chateau de la Negly) the name of the

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Chappellet Winery: Pioneers Then and Now

October 9, 2014 News and Opinion  No comments

Chappellet Modern ArtOur most recent visit to Chappellet Winery concluded with a chance meeting with Cyril Chappellet, who had just pulled up in his Chevy Volt – a fitting end to a beautiful afternoon where the family’s focus on the place, their product and most important, the sustainability of both, became a theme.

 A ‘Natural’ Passion

We were greeted by our gracious hosts, Mary Pat and Candice when we arrived in the reception lobby of the winery, where we also found founder Don Chappellet hard at work at his desk.  Uniformly, the natural passion displayed by Chappellet’s staff exceeds that of any winery staff I’ve met.  Nothing is contrived, but their excitement about their property, vines and wines permeates everything they do.

As we made our way

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Ridge Geyserville and Lytton Springs – Zinfandel At Its Finest

September 30, 2014 High End Values  No comments

Ridge Geyserville 2012

If you're talking about Zinfandel (really American wine in general) you would be hard pressed to find a better producer than Ridge.  Ridge's iconic label has graced the world's best Zinfandels for decades and 2012 is turning out to be a banner vintage for Ridge, along with the rest of California.  My favorite of their releases are the Lytton Springs and Geyserville bottlings, both from Sonoma County.  I've been drinking these wines since the 2006 vintage and have never had a bad bottle.  You can't go wrong with either - the Geyserville tends to be a bit more overt and the Lytton tends to age better.  But in reality, they are more similar than different.

What makes Ridge Zinfandels so good?

They aren't actually Zins.  Both of these wines contain less

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