$20 Below

$20 Below: Pacific Rim Dry Riesling 2011

Pacific Rim Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley, 2011

Price: Suggested retail is around $10.00 (purchased for $8.00)

Date Tasted: 8/19/2012

From The Winery: 13.5% alcohol

Impressions/Notes: Pacific Rim was founded in 2006, but it sure seems that their high quality/low price Rieslings have been around for longer than that. To say that Pacific Rim’s focus is on Riesling is an understatement–nearly 90% of their production concentrates on their various Riesling wines (they also make Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, and Framboise) and their website is www.rieslingrules.com. I recently purchased and tasted their 2011 Dry Riesling. This wine seemed to have more of a golden color than most of the Rieslings that I’ve tried this summer. The nose was loaded with Granny Smith apples, tropical notes, and linalool. The flavors very much matched the aromas, where the wine is dry (this wine is aptly named) with moderate acidity. When it comes to finding a nice wine, $10.00 does not cut it most of the time. This wine is a rare exception. If you’re looking for an inexpensive white to drink in these waning summer days, you won’t be disappointed with this one.

Rating: Recommended (86-89), 4.5/5 Value 

Posted on by Nick in $20 Below, Riesling, Washington 4 Comments

$20 Below: J Pinot Gris California 2011

J Pinot Gris California 2011

Price: Suggested retail is $15.00

Date Tasted: 8/19/2012

From The Winery: 13.8% alcohol, 36,000 cases produced

Impressions/Notes: Another vintage and another super-valued Pinot Gris from J Vineyards & Winery. Layers of white peach, ripe grapefruit, and honeysuckle pour off the nose. It’s very dry, with a zing of acidity that refreshes while enhancing the wine’s bright fruit flavors and slightly silky texture. The grapes that make up this wine come from many different areas–Clarksburg, Monterey, Russian River Valley, and Napa–but they blend together seamlessly, which is certainly a testament to the winemaking. I tasted the J’s 2010 Pinot Gris just a few months ago. Comparing the 2011 with the 2010 vintage, I would describe the 2011 as lighter bodied and crisper, with similar aromas/flavors of the 2010 (particularly the honeysuckle). Take note–the 2010 vintage is sold out (there are probably some bottles to be had out there if you get lucky) while the 2011 is readily available.

Rating: Recommended/Highly Recommended (88-92), 4.5/5 Value 

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Posted on by Nick in $20 Below, California, Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio Leave a comment

$20 Below: Castle Rock Winery Pinot Noir Mendocino County 2010

Castle Rock Winery Pinot Noir, Mendocino County, 2010

Price: Suggested retail is around $12.00

Date Tasted: 6/2/2012

From The Winery: 13.5% alcohol

Impressions/Notes: How could a guy that lives in Castle Rock not write about a wine from Castle Rock at least once? I’ve actually been on to Castle Rock’s budget Pinots for a few years now. Typically, I run the other way when I hear the phrase “budget Pinot”. It’s very hard to find decent Pinots for under $20.00, let alone under $15.00, and especially at $12.00. Castle Rock has created one of the rare exceptions with its 2010 Mendocino County bottling. Medium-garnet in color, this Pinot was loaded with black raspberry and geranium. Light oak aromas carry over from the nose and compliment the fruit nicely in the mouth, where the wine’s light and silky texture impresses. It’s a fruit-forward and no nonsense wine. Again, kudos to Castle Rock for being one of the few producers that can deliver at this price point.

Rating: Recommended (86-89), 4.5/5 Value 

Posted on by Nick in $20 Below, California, Pinot Noir 5 Comments

$20 Below: Hyatt Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Rattlesnake Hills (WA) 2008

Hyatt Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Rattlesnake Hills (WA) 2008

 

Price: Suggested retail is $12.00 (purchased for $9.00)

Date Tasted: 7/15/2012

From The Winery: 13.9% alcohol, 2485 cases produced

Impressions/Notes: Hyatt Vineyards’ 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is made up of 90% Cab. Sauv., 6% Merlot, 2% Syrah, and 2% Cabernet Franc. Dark, inky color. Big nose of roasted coffee beans and black currant carry over into the mouth, where they mix with a heavy dose of vanilla. Dill and spice gradually appeared within an hour or so. Medium-bodied, with light acidity and packing some heat on the finish. Nothing too fancy here, but a good “middle of the week” Cab that’s very well-priced to boot.

Rating: Not Too Shabby/Recommended (84-87), 4/5 Value 

 

Posted on by Nick in $20 Below, Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington Leave a comment

$20 Below: Cline Ancient Vines Mourvedre 2010

Cline Ancient Vines Mourvedre, Contra Costa County (CA) 2010

 

Price: Suggested retail is $16.00 (purchased for $13.00)

Date Tasted: 7/15/2012

From The Winery: 14.5% alcohol

Impressions/Notes: Immediately after pouring, this Mourvedre was emitting a nose of strawberry, pan drippings, and a slight rubber aroma. The rubber aroma quickly vanished, and aromas of blueberry, allspice, and an interesting floral component. Well-balanced with chalky tannins and a bit of an oak presence on the finish. An excellent value for this underrated Rhone varietal!

Rating: Recommended (86-89), 4/5 Value 

 

Posted on by Nick in $20 Below, California, Mourvedre 2 Comments