Category Archives: Top Wine Values

Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco | Value in Obscurity

Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco Review | Uncorking Value in Obscurity

Sagrantino di Montefalco

Sagrantino di Montefalco

The Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco is not exactly a new find. But after a confluence of factors oddly converged I decided I needed to share this relatively obscure yet deeply rewarding wine. It’s one I’ve really enjoyed several times and I have several resting to track its evolution.

A few weeks ago a friend asked me about which bottles I thought might “blow you away” that could be found around the $30 price point. I assured him that it can certainly be done, though it might take some effort to do so. Immediately the Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco came to mind, but I thought it might not be worth sharing due to its scarcity.

I had thought that Sagrantino was only grown in the small town of Montefalco in Umbria, Italy (with a mere 250 acres of vines dedicated to Sagrantino, mind you). That is until I recently came across an offering from Italian-centric winery Bennessere Vineyards in Napa that just so happens to produce a bottling from their tiny half-acre parcel of estate grown Sagrantino.

Intrigued, I ordered a bottle of Benessere’s Sagrantino and decided it was time I share my adoration for wine that introduced me to this interesting varietal: Tabarrini’s Sagrantino di Montefalco.

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Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage 2013 Reviewed

Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage 2013 | Costco Wine

Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage

The Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage is one of the most popular offerings in the Kirkland Signature Wine Program, having developed it’s own sort of ‘cult following’. It has almost always over-delivered in a big way complete with Napa flair and real ‘Rutherford dust’ character. It also routinely sells out in a flash. Then you’re waiting another entire year to spot this little gem again, if you’re lucky that is.

The 2011 vintage of the Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage was slightly disappointing to me (it was a pretty challenging vintage) and I never even spotted the 2012, but today Costco had the 2013 in stock! While the price has gone up a few dollars (from $10.99 to $13.89), the 2013 vintage was a knockout for Napa Valley and I can’t wait to see if the 2013 Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage is as well.

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Protocolo Wine Review | Do Affordability & Drinkability Mix?

Protocolo Wine Review | Do Affordability & Drinkability Mix?

Protocolo Wine

So let’s say you’re heading to the Wal-Mart of wine stores, Total Wine, to search for some reasonably priced wine, say under $8. After splurging at Ovid recently myself, that’s exactly what I found myself doing!

Maybe you’re throwing a party or maybe you’re just looking for something decent to pour at home without having to worry about when to drink it, how long to decant it or how you’re going to pay off your hefty credit card bill after drinking it.

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Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut | Not Cheap, But Inexpensive

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava | Trader Joe’s Wine

Jaume Serra Cristalino

The Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava has become a perennial favorite amongst those looking for a nice bargain bubbly. Is it’s success due to the clean and elegant label? Or possibly because the catchy name sounds an awful lot like the awfully expensive Cristal Champagne?

Or is it fittingly because the Jaume Serra Cristalino is simple a great sparkling wine for the money? I spotted the Cristalino Brut while browsing my local Trader Joe’s Wine Section and decided to answer those questions for myself. I mean it can’t be all that bad if Wine & Spirits Magazine has rather impressively named the Jaume Serra Cristalino the ‘Value Brand of the Year’ for three consecutive years!

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Altano Douro Review | Top Costco Wine’s

Altano Douro Review | Costco Wine Review

Altano Douro

The Douro wine region of Portugal has a history of producing wines for over 2,000 years. On the label of the Altano Douro 2012 I spotted in the Costco Wine Section you’ll see proudly displayed that the Symington family has been producing wine in the Douro for an impressive 125 of those years. That’s a long time and they’ve likely learned a thing or two about winemaking.

While the Douro is most commonly associated with it’s notable Port wine production, roughly half of the wines being produced there are actually not fortified. I’m not a huge fan of Port myself, but I am a fan of excellent table-wine bargains and the Altano Douro 2012 rang in at under $9 while boasting a commendable 91 point Wine Spectator score for the previous 2011 vintage. Needless to say I had to try it!

Have you seen my tips on Where to Buy Wine so that you’re not overpaying?

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Contadino Pinot Grigio Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

Contadino Pinot Grigio Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

Contadino Pinot Grigio

I rarely drink Pinot Grigio and am somewhat guilty of partaking in the widespread belief that most low-end Pinot Grigio’s are insipid, watery and just plain boring. Having said that, there are certainly times when you want a wine that is crisp, refreshing and light and the popularity of the Contadino Pinot Grigio in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section piqued my interest.

Hailing from Northern Italy and ringing in at under $6, the Contadino Pinot Grigio is certainly priced like a value-oriented offering. But just by virtue of being inexpensive does not necessarily make it a good value, and I’m quite curious to see just how good the Contadino Pinot Grigio really is!

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Conte di Bregonzo Amarone della Valpolicella 2011 | Trader Joe’s Wine

Conte di Bregonzo Amarone della Valpolicella 2011 | Trader Joe’s Wine Review

Conte di Bregonzo Amarone della Valpolicella 2011

There are so many wines available well under $10 in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section that when you come across a $17 bottle of wine, it actually seems relatively expensive! Typically you might be happy to find a respectable bottle of wine for $17 in a wine shop, as prices of the more desirable selections quickly head north from there.

The Trader Joe’s wine specialist was quick to not only recommend the Conte di Bregonzo Amarone della Valpolicella 2011 but also to reassure me that it wasn’t expensive at all – but rather a steal for what you’re getting beneath the cork – one of Italy’s top red wines at a fraction of the usual cost. Music to my ears! So let’s pop the cork on the Conte di Bregonzo Amarone della Valpolicella 2011 and see just how good this Amarone is!

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Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet | Costco Wine Review

Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet | Costco Wine Review

Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet

After having such great success with the Northstar Merlot from Columbia Valley Washington, I decided it was about time that I try another Washington State wine – except this time I wanted to try a Cabernet and wanted the price to be around the $10 range rather than the $20 price range that the Northstar Merlot falls in at Costco.

It’s tough enough to find good Cabernet around $20 so as you can probably imagine it can be quite a bit more challenging to find a well-made, quality Cabernet Sauvignon around $10.

To keep the playing field level and to get a great price, I went back to the Costco Wine Section and chose the Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 for $10.99. I’m pretty intrigued to see how this popular Columbia Valley Cabernet offering stacks up against others in this highly-competitive price category.

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Trentatre Rosso 33 Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

Trentatre Rosso 33 Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

Trentatre Rosso

Apparently I’m the last one to arrive at the Trentatre Rosso party… But I do rather enjoy a good party so better late than never, right? Previous vintages of the Trentatre Rosso by Santini Wines have been praised by quite a few fellow wine bloggers and frankly all of the publicity has me just that much more curious as to how good it could be. It was also highly recommended by the in-store Trader Joe’s wine representative who has assisted me in cherry-picking the best Trader Joe’s wines.

The name Trentatre is of particular significance because it translates to ‘thirty-three’ in Italian. The reason for the namesake being that Trentatre Rosso is a blend of three different varietals, each representing 33% of the total composition. It also hails from Southern Italy, like the Grifone Primitvo, which was a solid value in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section. At under $7 let’s see if we have another winner on our hands with the 2012 vintage of the Trentatre Rosso 33!

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Northstar Merlot Review | A Merlot for Cab Lovers?

2010 Northstar Merlot Review | Northstar Winery

Northstar Merlot

Two of my best friends are decamping the Washington D.C. area and are relocating to Seattle sometime this year. While I’m not exactly thrilled that they are moving to the other side of the country, it will give me a great excuse to visit beautiful Washington State from time to time and perhaps even explore it’s burgeoning wine country – where Northstar Merlot is produced.

Already big wine-lovers, their impending move has them drinking almost exclusively Washington State wines these days. It has been great fun to pop the cork on several different examples and most of them have been great if not excellent. One of their favorite go-to bottles has been the Northstar Merlot, which they regularly find for under $30.

But then they told me that the highly-acclaimed 2010 Northstar Merlot was being sold in the Costco Wine Section for under $20! So naturally I jumped at the opportunity to grab a case before it sold out – as the best deals always seem to do.

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