Category High End Values
February 10, 2015 High End Values
I've often wondered - What would happen if someone took a few bunches of grapes from each of the top vineyards in the world and combined them to make a single wine? It seems the owners of Pine Ridge wondered the same, as they pulled grapes from four different vineyards they own across California and Washington and made a remarkable wine.
The 2012 Luminary is a blend of 55% Cabernet from Pine Ridge Vineyards in Napa, 19% Syrah from Double Canyon Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills Washington, 8% Syrah from Chamisal Vineyards in Edna Valley, CA, 16% Zinfandel from Seghesio Family Vineyards in Sonoma and finally 2% Merlot from Pine Ridge. I have to question the efficiency of making a wine from such geographically distant locations but the result is impressive.Read More
February 2, 2015 High End Values
Paul Hobbs is the original Winemaker Superstar creating some of the most highly rated wines ever under his own label and, more recently, as a consultant. Under-the radar winery, Ahlfeldt, which I've raved about before, hired him as consulting winemaker a few years back and they are going through a major quality renaissance.
This particular wine comes from a single vineyard in the Sonoma Valley AVA called Thornton Ranch. Paul Hobbs is best known for his single vineyard wines and the single vineyard Chards from his own label start at around $65. For around a third the price, this wine has all of the Paul Hobbs' signatures. It shows richness while staying well-balanced and very focused. California Chardonnay has the ability to be a buttery oaky mess and though this was raised in 50%Read More
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 allRead More
September 30, 2014 High End Values
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 lessRead More
September 29, 2014 High End Values
Chalk Hill is known for their Estate Chardonnay. But what do you do if you don't want to spend the $48 for that wine but you still want their signature quality and style? Until 2012, there was nothing you could do.
New for the 2012 vintage, Chalk Hill is releasing their first wine that is not from their namesake appellation. This Chardonnay comes from the very cold Sonoma Coast appellation, not to be confused with the larger Sonoma County (of which it is a part) or the Southern Sonoma Valley appellations. Sonoma needs to rename these to lessen the confusion, but that's for another time.
The proximity to the cool Pacific Ocean makes this Chardonnay very crisp, but it still possesses the signature Chalk Hill oak influence. The wine was a perfectRead More
You may have noticed (or likely didn't notice at all), that Nickel and Dime Wine has taken an extended break. Why? Luckily not because I stopped drinking wine nor did I stop buying it. In the roughly nine months since the last post, I have done something that can only be done in nine months - I learned a new language with Rosetta Stone! I also had a baby. Not personally - my lovely wife did the hard work.
So Nickel and Dime wine is coming at you with baby in tow. We'll have more wine deals along with wine commentary, travel logs and general wine greatness!
Let's start with what I would buy this month. Deals abound and these are my top choices. I will follow up when I get a chance to write an in-depth review, but don't wait to pick these up.Read More
Top Pick Under $12: 2010 San Felice
December 2, 2013 High End Values
Napa Valley isn't exactly known for Syrah, especially on the rugged slopes of Mt. Veeder where Cabernet grapes fetch extremely high prices. But married couple Steve Lagier and Carole Meredith bought a few acres high on the mountain and planted Syrah. They have no employees, and with the exception of harvest time, everything is done by Carole and Steve, from tending the vineyard to making the wine. If you want an artisan wine, it doesn't get much more artisan than this.
That's all well and good, but "artisan" is meaningless if their product isn't special. With Lagier Meredith Syrah, it is. Every year. Here is a quick review of the last decade of scores from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
2011 – 90
2010 – 94
2009 – 94
2008 – 95
2007 – 94+
2006 –Read More
November 22, 2013 High End Values
You could say this is becoming the Paso Robles wine blog, and I wouldn't blame you. But when the most exciting wines in the country are coming from that region, I consider it more of a public service announcement.
The latest Paso deal comes from my favorite winery in the world - L'Aventure. For more on this incredible winery click here to read all the posts I've done.
Optimus is L'Aventure's entry-level red, but entry is relative in this case, as this wine really drinks as well as just about anything out there. At $41.95 it also isn't particularly cheap, but it's certainly well worth the price. L'Aventure's lowest Wine Advocate score in the 2011 vintage was this wine.... at 94 points. Many wineries never get a single score like that. Furthermore, Optimus has a history ofRead More
November 13, 2013 High End Values
This is one of the misleading email titles I usually hate. But give me a chance here. The Vietti Nebbiolo Perbacco is made from the same Barolo vineyards and actually made using the same exact formula as Vietti's famous Castiglione bottling, save for a slightly shorter (16 month) oak aging process, which results in a wine that's more approachable early. You also save around 20 bucks, because this one is made from the "young" vines. "Young" in this case means an average age of 35 years, so they aren't really that young. Basically you are getting a Barolo for half the price.
Okay, all of those stats are interesting, but how does it taste? In a word - great! All of the Vietti wines are awesome, but Barolo notoriously needs time. This is the one to drink while you are waiting onRead More
October 8, 2013 High End Values
Any Napa Cabernet fans out there? My hand is raised. It’s getting expensive again, post recession, but values (and the occasional deal) can still be found. As usual, I’m looking at producers, not vintages, though 2010 is proving to be great. Many of these names will look familiar to longtime readers.
2010 Robert Craig Affinity (WA92, IWC93, $44.95)
This wine, from legendary producer Robert Craig, is great every year and 2010 is no exception. 92 and 93 point scores (Wine Advocate and IWC) tell the story.
2010 Chappellet Signature (WA91, $45.95)
One of my favorite Napa wines to drink, and favorite wineries to visit, Chappellet just gets it right every year. The 2010 has exceptional polish and that special quality only Pritchard Hill vineyards canRead More