Category Cellar Worthy

If I Could Get Only One Wine for Christmas…

December 8, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  2 comments

L'Aventure's 2008 Estate Cuvee would be it.  I've been telling anyone who will listen to buy this wine and with the price now down to $59.95, it makes a perfect gift for a friend or yourself!  Most retailers are charging over $70 for the 2008 vintage and the recently released 2009 vintage, which received the same score, is going for $85-90.  You can read up on what makes L'Aventure's Cabernet/Syrah blend so awesome in one of my previous posts here.

Paso Robles is heating up and I predict that this wine will be mailing list only soon.  It certainly won't be available for under $60.  This is an incredibly unique, rich,and mind blowing (but sophisticated) wine that I personally find unrivaled. Just look at how the reviewers rave about it.  Do a friend, or better yet, yourself a favor and

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A 91 Point Spanish Red under $10 – Artazuri Garnacha 2009

December 7, 2011 Cellar WorthyDaily Drinkers  No comments

Disclaimer: Spain has, by far, the best wine values in the world.

For my money, Spain has two premier red grapes: Garnacha (Grenache) and Tempranillo, though many other grapes play important supporting roles.  The Spanish version of Grenache can range from light and supple to huge and oaky.  This one forgoes the oak but has plenty of the spicy fruit flavors which define Spanish Grenache vs. the French or American versions.

Hailing from the Navarra region in Northern Spain, near the French border, this Garnacha splits the difference between Spanish spice and Southern Rhone sleek.  The nose is bright - focused on fruit over oak.  Immediately upon opening, this wine was on the lighter side with sweet cherry flavors coating the palate.  I opened it on Friday and today

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Caymus Strikes Again in 2009

December 1, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

Which Napa winery releases their Cabernet almost a full year before most other high end producers?  Caymus. Why?  Because every single vintage sells out before the next is ready to be released.  Somehow Chuck Wagner manages to produce an incredibly consistent Cabernet regardless of the vintage, and his loyal fans recognize this.

Wanger put out a well produced informative video about how he makes Caymus wines.  If you are interested in the process, you would enjoy this video.  View the video on YouTube here.

Caymus's consistency comes down to vineyard management and after watching the video, I was surprised to learn that Caymus harvests by machine- something that most high-end wineries would not admit to.  It obviously works for them, and I appreciate that Wagner isn't interested in

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A 93 pt Chianti under $20 – Wine Enthusiast #1 WOTY

November 18, 2011 Cellar WorthyDaily DrinkersHigh End Values  No comments

The 2007 Marchesi de Frescobaldi Chianti Rufina Castello di Nipozzano Riserva (now that's a mouthfull!), came in at #1 on Wine Enthusiast's Wine of the Year list, and #65 on the same list for Wine Spectator.  Would you believe it only costs $17.95?

Those are pretty impressive credentials for any wine, let alone one that costs less than $20.  Think of it this way: four glasses of this chianti cost less than four Starbucks carmel macchiatos!  Tastes better too, and I would much rather have a case of this in my cellar than 12 cups of soy latte.

Chianti lovers will not find a better value for under $20.  Plain and simple.  Despite it's origins in the cooler Rufina region of Tuscany, this Chianti is ripe, though it maintains the telltale Sangiovese acidity and minerality.  Though a

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A 93 Point CdP Under $40 – ’09 Domaine Paul Autard La Cote Ronde

November 15, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

I drink a lot of different wines, from different countries and regions, but I collect only a few, and the wines of Chateauneuf du Pape in France's Southern Rhone Valley are a favorite. Paul Autard is one of the premier winemakers in the Rhone region in part because, unlike many of France's winemakers, he's using modern techniques like new oak aging. Still, his wines end up staying true to tradition with fruit focused favors that made the region famous.

Outside of Bordeaux, Chateauneuf du Pape is arguably France's most prestigious wine regions and that fact isn't lost on the importers and wholesalers, which is to say, these wines aren't cheap. Anything rated 90 points or above starts at $30 and goes all the way past the $500 mark. So when a potential 94 point CdP from a highly

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A 91 Point Argentine Red for $16 – Tikal Patriota 2009

November 11, 2011 Cellar WorthyDaily Drinkers  No comments

Tikal's "Patriota" is a blend of Argentina's two most widely planted grapes, Malbec (40%) and Bonarda (60%).  Ever heard of the Bonarda grape?  Neither have I.

If you're wondering what this wine tastes like with the Bonarda grape blended in, I would put it somewhere between a Malbec and a cool climate Syrah, which is to say it has the rich opulence and smooth tannin of a Malbec with the persistent acid and slight tartness of a cool climate Syrah.  It's a really nice combination.

This and the other Tikal wines have been getting blockbuster scores for a few years now, so I guess it's time I gave one a try.  It's getting cold outside and this is the perfect wine for the change of seasons.  It's spicy, bold and aromatic - many wines can say that.  But Tikal Patriota maintains a

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Deal Alert: 95 Point Hall Napa Cab Under $40

November 10, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

Hall has been on a real run lately.  Since the 2006 vintage, they have received solid 90+ scores, but in the 2008 vintage their Napa Cabernet hit the magic 95 point mark (from Robert Parker).  What's magic about 95 points?  Price.  It's almost impossible to find a Robert Parker 95 point Napa Cabernet under $100, let alone $40.  Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single Napa Cab from the 2008 vintage that hit this prestigious value mark.  A couple from 2007 come to mind like Robert Craig Affinity and... okay, no more come to mind.  Affinity sold out in an instant and the same will happen with this Hall bargain.

This wine is made by David Ramey and comes mostly from Sacrashe Vineyard.
Buy Here: 2008 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet $39.95
Robert Parker 95 points

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A Serious 91 Point Napa Cabernet under $20 – Fuse

November 1, 2011 Cellar WorthyDaily Drinkers  No comments

I usually completely ignore Wine Enthusiast reviews.  For reasons why, see my "Rating the Raters" post. Well, by some fluke, they got this rating dead on, because this is an absolutely magnificent Napa Cabernet for $17.95.

This wine reminds me of the 2008 Paul Hobbs Crossbarn at a $12 discount.  It's an open, oaky, and sweet Cabernet with serious intentions.  When it comes to value-priced Napa cabs, I find this style preferable to the more firm, tannic version, because I don't have the patience, nor confidence, to sit on an $18 bottle of wine for five years to wait for it to hopefully open up.  This wine will certainly drink well for at least five years, but unlike a bottle of Anderson's Conn Valley Reserve Cabernet ($60), it doesn't require it to be at its best.

This wine pours a

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A 90 Point Napa Cab for $17 – Buehler… Buehler…

October 21, 2011 Cellar WorthyDaily Drinkers  No comments

Readers have probably noticed that less Napa Cabernet appears on this blog than it once did.  Why is that?  Two reasons: 1) I've gotten more picky about what I write up and 2) the marginal lift in the economy has made bargain Napa Cabernet harder to come by.  Sure, there are more cheap cabs in the market than ever but cheap does not equal value.  The problem with most of these value priced Napa Cabs is they all taste the same and that taste is... unnatural.

Much like Ferris Bueller on his "Day Off", Buehler Vineyards takes their own approach to high production (15,000 case!!!) Cabernet.  What make wine enjoyable is that no two are the same, and the best are downright unique.  Buehler Vineyard's Napa Cabernet tastes like a Cabernet, but it is identifiable and unique, and to my palate,

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Chateau de Bel – One ’09′s first Bordeaux bargains $15.95

October 19, 2011 Cellar WorthyDaily Drinkers  No comments

2009 (along with 2005 and 2010) is being touted as the Bordeaux vintage of the decade.  And as silly as that might sound, it's really pretty awesome.  We all get to drink a bunch of great Bordeaux and we have three vintages to pick from!  The 2005 vintage is pretty much gone (though LA Wine Co has a few left) and with a four year gap between '05 and '09, Bordeaux lovers have been a little short on great values (though you can always buy expensive wine from any vintage).

This wine is 100% Merlot and tastes like a perfect mix of California richness and French finesse.  Winemaker Jeff Carrel crafted it in a modern style that makes it perfectly drinkable today, though it will likely drink great for the next 5-7 years.  This is a serious wine that I would be thrilled with as a daily drinker

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