Monday, December 23, 2013

TOP WINES UNDER $20 of 2013!!!

Wineaux, those of you with a lot of attention to detail will immediately notice the title of this post doesn't gibe with past years'... normally you'd expect to see "TOP 20 UNDER $20".  Well, even in good drinking years, I often have difficulty finding twenty wines that fit my criteria.  This year I didn't even come close.  It's not for a lack of good value wines out there, so why?  A few reasons: 

A) The Minx is not a world-famous wine critic who is sent myriad bottles to taste and review.  (YET.)

B) My performance and other work schedules kept me away from many industry tastings where I can sample hundreds of wines so to better serve YOU, my readers.

C) My performance and other work schedules and travels kept me from staying in one place longer than three months at a time, which interestingly ended up being a factor, although some of my globe-trotting discoveries certainly made the list.

However, I still unearthed some gemmy-gem-gems for you, never fear!  Lucky-number THIRTEEN world-wide wines that will give you an incredible bang-for-the-buck.  (And now my hyphen usage has exceeded its limit.)  Let's get to it!

 #13 - 2012 Benefactor Cellars Shiraz, South Eastern Australia.  (Imported by Trader Joe's, and pretty much only found there!) A solid offering, with balanced fruit and Shiraz's typical peppery spice, very quaffable, and a perfect party wine for only $6.

#12 - 2010 Anselmi San Vincenzo, Veneto Northern Italy, 80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay, and 10% Sauvignon Blanc.  (A little something for everyone.)  Can you say FLORAL AROMATICS? I knew you could. Good citrus, yellow apple and minerals with medium weight and a balanced finish, yum. $13

#11 - 2012 José Maria da Fonseca Periquita White, Setúbal Peninsula, Portugal.  Pale gold color, with straw and light tropical fruits on the nose.  Nice fruit expression with citrus on the finish but not overly acidic.  Great on its own or with appetizers or shellfish.  Blend of Verdelho, Moscatel de Setúbal, Viosinho and Viognier.  $10

#10 - 2012 Anthony Nappa "Bordo," North Fork, LI.  100% Cabernet Franc.  Lightish ruby color, nose of macerated raspberries, tomato stem, smoke.  Very juicy and bright with balanced earthy elements on finish.  A little odd (which I do like) but definitely interesting!  A lot going on but lighter in style.  $19.99

#9 - 2011 Quinta do Passadouro Tinto, Douro, Portugal.  Had this beauty in my fave Lisboa wine bar.  Scrumptious berry salad on nose, with robust and velvety fruit mid-palate, violets, and integrated tannins and acid. 40% Touriga Nacional,  25% Touriga Franca, 25% Tinta Roriz and 10% "??" (= field blend unknowns!)  $13

#8 - 2008 Edward Sellers "Mayhem" Red, Paso Robles, CA.  Ample velvety red and black fruit.  Pretty lush but not overly-structured.  If you like them big and fleshy and soft, this is your gal, and she's a keeper! I got it for $12

#7 - 2012 Cloudline Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR.  Definitely a New World Pinot, but with some Old World finesse; aromatic berries, herbs, medium weight, and lovely fruit and pepper. $16

 #6 -  2012 Dalton Winery Rosé, Israel.  Blend of Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  I was very impressed with what I saw coming out of Israel, and this had an unusual yet wow-nose of floral perfume with good acidity - generally very yummy with great fruit and great length.  $17

#5 - 2009 Kayra Vintage Öküzgözü Single Vineyard, Turkey. ("Euh-KUHz-guh-zuh" basically.) One of my finds from my new fave wine region, Turkey, this powerhouse has dark berries and smoke on the nose, and is complex yet velvety and rich with good structure.  $19.99 (just made the cutoff!)

#4 - 2011 Catena Malbec, Argentina. A LOT of people really like this wine (critics and drinkers alike,) and it's no wonder.  It has a heady nose of berry jam and a whiff of smoke, with dense and velvety berries, herbs, a little coffee and sweet oak notes on the palate.  Excellent value for the price. $16

#3 - 2011 Channing Daughters Scuttlehole Chardonnay, Long Island, NY. Intense but not clunky; notes of Meyer lemon and toast with great acidity.  Yum!  Especially for you ABC-ers, (Anything But Chardonnay,) it's definitely worth a try, you may change your mind with this one.  $15

Montefino is on the left, but the Penha was lovely too.
#2 - 2005 Montefino Tinto, Alentejo Portugal.  Trincadeira, Aragonez (Tempranillo), Alicante Bouschet & Touriga Nacional - another excellent find from Portugal.  Dark ruby, smoked meat on the nose with a feel of its age and time in oak.  WOW!  It's sexy, velvety and complex yet very, very bright with good acidity.  In a nutshell, it feels pedigreed yet quaffable. $18


EGEO ROZE on the Right...

#1 - 2012 Kavaklidere Egeo Roze (rosé), Anatolya, Turkey.  A blend of 60% Çal Karası and 40% Grenache, it had a pale color of salmon/ onion skin.  The nose was warm, of light tart cherry fruit and minerals.  It was very, very dry, with lots of acidity but not too bracing, and fruit that went on and on, with rose petal and geranium florals and a bit of salinity. $17
Once again I was pleased with the variety of regions, grapes and styles of wines.  There definitely is something for everyone, and you can't beat the price to try something new!  Let me know if you come across these and what you think... and DEFINITELY let me know if you have a favorite <$20 wine the Minx shouldn't miss!  Cheers.