90+ points tagged posts

Under $12 Deals – A Crisp White Burgundy (RP91, $11.95)

December 6, 2013 Under $12 Deals  No comments

Marie-Pierre ManciatWhite Burgundys are some of the most sought after and expensive white wines in the world with well rated, and even marginally rated examples selling for well over $100 per bottle.  So when I saw this Chardonnay from the Mâcon region had received 91 points from Parker himself and it was priced at $12, I had to try it.

Last night I grabbed this bottle and headed to our favorite BYOB where it went perfectly with the pan-roasted skate wing special.  This wine is a stark contrast to the big buttery domestic Chardonnay style.  It features crisp acid and beautiful notes of peach and pear.  It sees no wood, so you end up with a very focused wine that's a perfect fit for seafood.

I've been very impressed with several of the 2011's from the Mâcon region of Burgundy - an area increasingly

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’10 Lagier Meredith Syrah – One of the World’s Best ($41.95, RP94)

December 2, 2013 High End Values  No comments

lagier_meredith_LRGNapa 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 –

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A Deal From My Favorite Winery: L’Aventure

June 10, 2013 High End Values  No comments

2010 OptimusA quick search on Nickel and Dime Wine reveals that I've written about Paso Robles' L'Aventure winery on six separate occasions.  Stephan Asseo embraced the limestone hills of Paso's west side long before this area was known for $80/bottle Rhone Ranger blends from the likes of Saxum, Booker and Epoch.  Today,  the west side of Paso is cranking out some of the best and most desirable wines in the country, but L'Aventure has been doing it since 1998.

Much like most of Europe (you know, the guys that have been making wine for a thousand years), Paso winemakers have abandoned varietal labeling in favor of blends that showcase site over grape.  L'Aventure is one of the few Paso wineries to successfully use Cabernet, blending it with Syrah and Petit Verdot to make their signature Estate

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Under $12 Deal: 2009 Guigal CdR Rogue (IWC90, WA89)

February 5, 2013 Under $12 Deals  No comments

Guigal 2009 Cotes du RhoneSouthern France's Rhone Valley must be the epicenter of wine value.  Some would even say it's the epicenter of wine.  I can't argue with either and wines like the 3.5 million bottle (!) production 2009 Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge, prove at least the first point.

We drank this wine during the Super Bowl with delicious ribs and it was the perfect combo.  Mostly Syrah and Grenache, this is textbook Southern Rhone with bright, high-toned fruit, nice density and a cutting acid that takes the finish to a nice length.  The Guigal family makes Northern Rhone wines that cost several hundred dollars a bottle, including four 100 pointers in the 2009 vintage alone.  Their expertise certainly shows through in their value wines as well which include this wine and their white Cotes du Rhone, both of

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An American Classic: ’10 Ridge Lytton Springs RP93+

December 3, 2012 90+ BargainsHigh End Values  No comments

2010 Ridge Lytton SpringsI am, admittedly, not a huge Zinfandel fan.  I find most overripe, pruney and a little thin.  That said, Ridge makes two of my favorite wines - not favorite Zinfandels, but favorite overall wines - the Lytton Springs and Geyserville.  I've had every vintage since '06 and they are all great.  Some greater than others, but all truly great.  Ridge is doing awesome things with the most American of grapes, which has been growing in this country since the mid 1800's.

The 95 point, 2009 vintage of this wine was closed down when I drank it in September.  After a day of air, it showed beautifully, but today, the 2010 is the wine to drink.  It has a beautiful perfumed nose of lavender and cherry with a broad mouthfeel and a very long finish.  This isn't technically a Zinfandel, with 23% Petite

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Santa Barbara County Isn’t Just For Pinot

November 19, 2012 High End Values  No comments

Dierberg Santa Maria Chardonnay 2009Long time readers of this blog know I am a fan of cool climate, Central Coast Chardonnay.  Monterey and Santa Barbara counties are hot spots for this style of wine and big time value.  Take the wine I drank last night, Dierberg's Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay, which was awarded 93 points from the Wine Advocate's Antonio Galloni.  Slap a Carneros label on this wine and it would be well over $30.  But at $22.95, this is both an awesome wine and an awesome value.

This wine pours a light straw color with a bright nose of tropical fruit accented with a nice smokiness.  Aging in larger than normal oak barrels imparts the smokiness, but allows the wine to keep a nice balance and finesse.  Furthermore, only 10% of this wine goes through malolactic fermentation, so it retains a nice crisp acid

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The 2010 Rhones Are Where It’s At

November 15, 2012 Daily Drinkers  No comments

Chateau De Saint Cosme 2010 Cotes du RhoneLet's review the last five vintages in Southern Rhone.

2006: Good

2007: Great

2008: Okay

2009: Great

2010: Greatest

Which vintage do you want to drink wine from?  I pick 2010, so in the interest of bringing the best wines (at the best prices) to our readers, I've picked several 2010's to drink this month.  The first is the Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes-du-Rhone Les Deux Albions Rouge.  I'll reiterate that if the French would simplify their wine names, they would sell WAY more wine in the U.S.

Maybe us savvy wine consumers are the beneficiary because this wine should be at least twice the price.  At $16.95 you are getting a super polished, focused and downright delicious wine for not much.  This is juicy, spicy and complex, likely due to the blend of 4 different grapes

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Robert Craig Affinity – High End Napa Cab Under $40

September 28, 2012 Cellar WorthyHigh End ValuesSpecial Occasions  No comments

Robert Craig's Affinity bottling really got on the map after Robert Parker awarded it 96 points in the 2007 vintage. I bought 4 bottles without tasting it. I've only had one and I'm very happy with the purchase. It's an exceptional wine.

That wine is long since sold out but, having drunk both pretty recently, I actually think the 2009 is drinking better today. Time will tell which ends up as the better wine, but today the 2009 is a massive Cabernet with a ripe nose of dark fruit with a background of oak. But where this wine really stands out from other Napa cabs in the price range is the velvet texture and exceedingly long, highly nuanced finish. A true Bordeaux-like elegance exists with Affinity, which makes since because it's grown just south of the Stags Leap District in a cooler

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A 90 pt Rhone for $6. BUY THIS WINE

September 20, 2012 Daily Drinkers  No comments

Before I tell my highly entertaining story, I will cut to the chase.  L.A. Wine Co has this wine for 50% cheaper than the lowest price in the country. Check it out here.  It's easily the best deal I've written up all year.  No contest.

Okay, on to the story... I was at a local wine shop yesterday where I noticed a great deal on a Cotes-du-Rhone - $12 for a 90 point rated red from the 2008 vintage.   So I picked up a bottle of the 2008 La Granacha Signargues from Domaine  d' Andezon.  It's absolutely great for the price of $11.99.  Stony red fruit with a nice sweetness juxtaposed by a fine acidity that is absolutely textbook Cotes-du-Rhone Grenache.  The label looked familiar to me so I checked my cellar and realized I had ordered a bottle to try from L.A. Wine Company

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OZ Fights Back With A 91 pt “Ball Buster” Under $15

September 17, 2012 Daily Drinkers  No comments

The last time I wrote up and Australian wine was way back in December of last year.  Why?  In the late 90s through around 2007, Australia was known for values.  But at the same time the U.S. economy was tanking, The Aussies were riding the wave of popularity and raising the prices accordingly.

Australian Shiraz, and their crazy names might be back, because I've noticed the deals are getting better.  The 2009 Tait "The Ball Buster" is one of those deals.  Ball Buster might be an overstatement - my balls feel just fine, thank you - but this is quite a big, rich wine with opulent oak and a lofty 15% alcohol.  Still it has enjoyable nuances of raspberry and white pepper and a vien of acidity that keeps the ripe fruit in balance.

91 points from Tanzer and 90 from Parker's Wine Advocate

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