Over 90, Under 20

    The Wine Guy

    It’s hard to believe, but the Holidays are looming; with a million things to do, one thing you don’t want to do is guess whether the wines you’re buying are real values. The following have all scored 90 points or better and are also all under $20.00 a bottle.


    Vista Hills Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, 2016, ($19.99), scores a 91 from Wine Spectator and it’s no wonder. It has a pleasing structure and silky smoothness that pairs really well with Holiday Turkey, pre-dinner cheeses and Apple Cobbler, to name a few. The cherry, mocha and light vanilla flavors unfold on the nose and in the mouth, all with a pleasing finish.


    Raeburn Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California, 2016, ($17.99), has it all-aromas of pear, vanilla cream, green apple and a touch of baking spice. Tasting the wine reveals it to be soft, smooth and almost luxurious in the mouth. Chocked full of slightly sweet apple and pineapple flavors toasted with hints of nuts, caramel and vanilla, this wine is really easy to drink and very satisfying. The wine ends with lingering pineapple and oak on the satisfying finish and you’re going to need several bottles if you’re entertaining Chardonnay lovers.90 pints from the Wine Enthusiast.


    Scharffenberger Brut, NV, California, ($17.99),  is made by the méthode traditionelle process, whereby the wines are individually bottle-fermented before being riddled and disgorged. Scharffenberger Brut Excellence is made from its own 120-acre vineyards in the Anderson Valley. In addition, Scharffenberger Cellars has long-term contracts with select vineyards in the greater Mendocino County. The wine is approximately 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. The full malolactic style adds a vanilla cream character producing a round and full-bodied wine. After approximately two years on the lees, there are notes of freshly baked bread and pastry that enhances the more fruit- forward style of the wine. Great for a holiday toast or after dinner with dessert.  Wine Enthusiast, 91 points.


    If your taste runs to a drier white, try a bottle of Substance Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2016, ($19.99).Hailing from Sunset Vineyard in the Ancient Lakes appellation, this wine starts out aromatically quiet, with notes of green apple, toasted Grape-Nuts and herb. The palate is sleek and lightly creamy, lingering on the finish. I think it’s very similar to a better-quality white Bordeaux, but not so flinty dry that it won’t enhance a deep-fried turkey. This one packs a lot of quality for the price. Wine Enthusiast, 93 points.


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