Category Archives: Under $20

Your Virtual Visit to Lodi | Uncorking My Favorites!

Your Virtual Visit to Lodi | Uncorking My Favorites!

Fields Family Wines Cinsault

In my recent post, A Renewed Perspective on Lodi Wine, I enthusiastically raved about my recent visit to this often underappreciated region. Meeting the innovative, down to earth winemakers and tasting the fruits of their labor amongst the very vines responsible for their production was enough to convince me that Lodi is doing something right.

But I realize that not everybody is able to hop on a plane and travel to Lodi (though do I hope that you’re able to make it there, eventually!); which is why I put together this compilation of the most compelling, interesting wines I tasted in Lodi. Consider this list the itinerary for your virtual visit. You might even find, as I did, that you wish to revisit a glass or two of these beauties!

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Bodega Teso La Monja Almirez Review | Tantalizing Toro

Bodega Teso La Monja Almirez Review | Tantalizing Toro

Teso La Monja Almirez

If you’re a looking for rich, layered, broad-shouldered wines at bargain prices, dare I suggest a tangle with this bull? The Toro Bravo, or Spanish fighting bull, is prized for its aggression and stamina. Oddly enough, the wines of the Spanish Toro appellation share similar characteristics – yet us wine lovers can rejoice in that they don’t share quite the same level of notoriety as the venerable Toro Bravo.

A few years ago, I read an e-mail advertisement for the 2011 Bodega Teso La Monja Almirez touting a huge 94 point Parker score. The review was nothing short of glowing, even going so far as to say that “At this quality level, one would expect the price to be three digits or more.”

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Castello d’Albola Chianti Classico | Costco Chianti Score!

Castello d’Albola Chianti Classico | Costco Chianti Score!

Castello d'Albola Chianti Classico

There’s just something special about Chianti. When I first started getting into wine, I was turned off its telltale core of tart, earthy fruit which always seems brought to life by zesty, palate cleansing acidity. Now? I simply can’t get enough of these quaffable, food-friendly wines.

So when I spotted the $14 Castello d’Albola Chianti Classico in my local Costco Wine Section with a self-talker touting it’s recent recognition as #46 of the Top 100 Wines of 2015 per Wine Spectator, I knew I had to investigate…

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Dark Horse Cabernet | Taking Dark Horse Wine for a Ride

Dark Horse Cabernet | Taking Dark Horse Wine for a Ride?

Dark Horse Wine

Many people consider horses to be majestic, beautiful creatures. You might even think that of the somewhat ominous horse prominently displayed on bottles of Dark Horse Wines. Yet my experiences with them as a kid were somewhat less than favorable…

It all started on a field trip to a horse farm, where we had the opportunity to ride ponies. Quickly after cautiously getting on the one chosen for me, my horse took off in a full gallop chasing the large horse with an experienced adult rider in front of me. I was lucky not to fall, but the experience was as memorable as it was uninspiring.

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Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Review | Top Costco Wines

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Review | Top Costco Wines

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc

Goodbye Winter, hello Spring! The first day of March was sun-drenched and 65 degrees here in the nation’s capital, so I seized the opportunity to thaw out with a wholly therapeutic run along the waterfront in beautiful historic Georgetown. As someone who strongly dislikes the cold and loves the outdoors, you could say I have a case of Spring fever!

With the days getting longer and temperatures steadily increasing, I know many of you will be heading to your local Costco Wine Section to stock up on crisp white wines like the popular Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, which is surprisingly now even available by the glass at many Starbucks locations. Having not tried it yet myself, I thought it might be appropriate to finally give the Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc a shot.

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Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon | Embracing Sustainability

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon | Embracing Sustainability

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon

In the late 1980’s, Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon became the first ‘premium’ wine to be exported from Chile. It was a runaway success for Montes, and despite being one of the more expensive Chilean wines in the marketplace it now sees distribution in over 100 countries.

A vanguard in the nascent stages of the Chilean wine industry, Montes was determined to lead the way for the world to one day associate Chilean wines with quality. Fast Forward twenty years, and they are attempting to raise the bar for Chilean wines again – this time by focusing their efforts to incorporate sustainability measures into their winemaking practices.

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Terrenal Seleccionado | A Kosher Trader Joe’s Find?

Terrenal Seleccionado | A Kosher Trader Joe’s Wine Find?

Terrenal Seleccionado

The Trader Joe’s Wine Section has developed a loyal, cult-like following for its eclectic, value-oriented selections. Not surprisingly, while picking up this bottle of 2014 Terrenal Seleccionado, I overheard an excited customer remark “Wow, this is great! These wines are so cheap!” Your first time is always exciting.

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Banfi Centine Rosso | Super Tuscan at a Super Price?

Banfi Centine Rosso | Super Tuscan at a Super Price?

Banfi Centine

When I hear the term “Super Tuscan”, a flurry of vaunted, high-priced names like Tignanello and Sassicaia immediately come to mind . These wines were responsible for creating and defining the genre, and with such celebrated reputations they fetch consistently high prices. But not all Super Tuscan’s are expensive. Take the Banfi Centine Rosso for example, widely available at under $12.

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Regusci Winery Merlot | Best Merlot Under $20?

Regusci Winery Stags Leap District Merlot Review | Best Merlot Under $20?

Regusci Winery

The 2011 growing season in Napa yielded a bounty of challenges for grape growers and winemakers alike. The cold and wet conditions made it tough to achieve full ripeness, and significant portions of the crop were lost to mold and rot.

Only making matters worse? The resulting widespread consumer perception that all of the 2011 wines out of Napa are awful. While there are quite a few poor wines, many good to excellent wines were made in 2011.

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Kirkland Signature Reserva Rioja | A $7 Costco Rioja?

Kirkland Signature Reserva Rioja | A $7 Costco Rioja?

Costco Rioja

I’ve been Shopping for Wine at Costco for years now, and by now I’ve enjoyed more than few examples of Costco’s own private-label Kirkland Signature wines. While not always home-runs, more often than not they are compelling values – much like many of the under-priced wines coming out of Spain at the moment.

Spanish wines are often my go-to when I want something interesting, with a true sense of place, at an affordable price point. So imaging my excitement when I see two of my reliable go-to’s combined in one bottle: Costco Rioja, and a Reserva level at under $7 no less!

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