For a good $10 value, call Italy

For a good $10 value, call Italy

Okay, I’ve done some whining lately. You’ve read my cranky thoughts about how hard it has become to get the wines I like at prices I can afford for everyday. … Let’s turn that frown upside down and find reason to smile in Italy, where a good, enjoyable $10 wine is still a possibility.

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Impressive Pinot Noirs


Taylor Eason stills remembers her first whilff of Willamette Valley, OR. “It smelled of perfumey Pinot Noir … . It was the harvest of 2007 and I fell in love. With Oregon Pinot Noir. ” Taylor’s still in love with Oregon Pinot Noirs. In this article she explains why. Read article.

Querceto 2014 Chianti ($10.99)

Querceto 2014 Chianti

Dark purple, almost black at the center, shading to a clear garnet edge. Impressions of fresh black cherries and a hint of dried cherry on the nose carry over intact on the palate with palate-cleansing acidity and soft tannins, with an even-handed 12.5% alcohol. It’s clean, balanced and fits the Chianti style; on the simple side, but elevated by its fresh fruit and good acidic balance.

Find sources and compare prices for Querceto Chianti on
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Tintero Rosso ($10.99)

Tintero Rosso ($10.99)

Dark purple, with garnet glints against the light. Appealing scents of black plums and black cherries carry over intact to the palate in a fresh, clean acidic flavor with distinct notes of fragrant, almost floral black pepper in a longish finish. Palate-cleansing and food friendly, fresh flavors and fine fruit-acid balance backed by gentle 12.5% alcohol. Its blend of 40% Nebbiolo, 40% Barbera, 10% Dolcetto and 10% Cabernet Franc mixes varieties not traditionally used together, grown in regions within Piemonte that aren’t normally put together. Accordingly, it may claim neither geographical designation nor vintage. It’s a fine wine, though, and its non-traditional mix nevertheless yields a flavor that’s all Piemonte.

Find sources and compare prices for Tintero Rosso on Read article.

Bordeaux QPR: Mission Impossible?

Chateau Margaux

A lot of you have told me that you shared my recent despair over how hard it’s getting to find wines of good Quality-Price Ratio (“QPR”) in today’s economy. The price floor for wines that are good but affordable seems to be moving briskly into double digits.
Now, let’s turn to Page Two: It’s the price of good Bordeaux that really gives me a gut punch.

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Château Amour 2011 Médoc ($23)

Château Amour 2011 Médoc

Clear dark garnet at the center, dark almost to the clear edge. Attractive if simple, characteristic Bordeaux scents, blackcurrants and black cherries reflect its equal proportions of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh black fruit and a clear sense of Bordeaux cedar/”pencil lead” on the palate, laced up with palate-cleansing acidity, reasonable 13% alcohol, and soft but perceptible tannins. Tart black fruit lingers in a long finish.

Check prices and find vendors for Château Amour Médoc on offers only a few vendors for this wine, but you can find lots of affordable Medoc on this link. Click the blue “Cheapest” tab at the top to sort the wines from lowest price upward.
Finally, The California Wine Club has this International Series selection for $23 at this link. Read article.

Enjoying bubbly? Lose the flute.

Flute, not-flute

The cork comes out with a noisy pop! Fizzy wine pours frothing into a tall, narrow glass called a “flute.” Was your New Year’s Eve like this? Stop! Reboot! Let’s make a quick resolution: No more wasting the joy of quality sparkling wines in a traditional glass that is profoundly unsuited to show off their fine aromas.

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Gérard Bertrand 2012 “Cuvee Thomas Jefferson” Cremant de Limoux Brut ($17.99)

Gérard Bertrand

This sparkling blend of Chardonnay (70%), Chenin Blanc (15%), Mauzac (10%) and Pinot Noir (5%) shows a clear, pale straw color in the glass. A frothy white mousse bubbles up but falls back fast; but a steady stream of pinpoint bubbles lasts and lasts. Delicate, pleasant white fruit on the nose: Green figs, maybe, and a hint of dates, with subtle pears in the background. Carbonation and crisp acidity start the flavor with a palate-cleansing effect, then simple white fruit follows the nose, with just a hint of fresh green herbs that lingers into a long, clean finish. (Jan. 7, 2016)

Check prices and find vendors for Gérard Bertrand “Cuvee Thomas Jefferson” Cremant de Limoux Brut on

Learn more about Cremant de Limoux and browse dozens of producers and merchants on Read article.

Is QPR dying, or is it just me?

Monopoly man

I’m sorry. I’m feeling a little crabby today. I’ll try to keep it under control, but I’d like to get your reality check. Here’s today’s heartburn: It seems to be getting harder and harder to find wines of real QPR, which I hope you’ll remember as the wine-geek term, “Quality-Price Ratio.”

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