Best Value Wine 2020

Most memorable wine
The Best Value wine
Today is celebrating it’s eighth anniversary and again during the past year we posted more than 150 new wine reviews. This year we spent two and a half months on a ship going around South America and tasted many delicious wines from Uruguay, Argentina and Chile (see Notes from our trip around South America) and posted many reviews of vineyard visits and wines we purchased as we traveled. (see for example: Wine Tasting: Familia Deicas Winery; Wine Tasting: Casas del Bosque and Wine Tasting: Vina Tabali). Also, we are drinking more California wines each year as we find more non-traditional California producers1. In addition, we bought all our wine from grocery stores during our months in California this year. The California grocery stores offer great buys on both California and imported wines and our experiment really yielded some FANTASTIC value grocery store wines.

At the end of each year there are always some wines that we remember as being exceptional out of the hundreds we have tasted and reviewed. These are the ones we call the best value wines of 2020 and the purpose for compiling the list is so you can be on the watch for them as you buy wine in 2021. Our year end review format for the best value wines of 2020 includes: 1. An alphabetical listing of the wines we thought were the best value and priced less than about $15 or $16. It is from this list that we made the selection for THE BEST VALUE WINE OF 2020…Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve Rouge 20172. 2. A second list includes wines, in alphabetical order, we thought were exceptional values, but generally cost more than $15. These tend to be the more expensive wines we reviewed and don’t fit into everyone’s definition of “value wines”. It is from this list we selected the single MOST MEMORABLE 2020 WINE…Familia Deicas Cru d Exception Merlot 20093.

Wines about $15. or less that had Outstanding Quality and were the Best Value:
(in alphabetical order)

Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2017 (Central Coast, California; $16.99).
Casas del Bosque Pequenas Producciones Chardonnay 2018 (Casablanca Valley, Chile; $14.00).
Clendenen Family Vineyards (Au Bon Climat) Grenache Gris Rancho La Cuna 2018 (Central Coast, California; $14.40).
Combel la Serre Cahors Le Pur Fruit du Causse 2018 (Second Tasting) (Southwest France; $16.20).
Dominio de la Vega Bobal En Calma 2014 (Requena, Spain; $14.40).
Guilhemas Bearn Blanc 2018 (Bearn, France; $13.50).
Homs L Amandier Rouge 2015 (Languedoc, France; $14.40).
Las Rocas Garnacha 2016 (Calatay, Spain; $6.99).
La Vieille Ferme Rouge 2018 (Southern Rhone Valley, France; $5.59).
Luberri Rioja Biga Crianza 2012 (Rioja Crianza, Spain; $16.20).
Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve Rouge 2017 (Southern Rhône Valley, France; $9.99).
Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve Rose 2018 (Southern Rhône Valley, France; $8.99).
Punta Crena Lumassina Colline Savonesi 2018 (Liguria, Italy; $16.20).
Visintini Franconia Delle Venezie 2017 (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy; $16.20).

The most MEMORABLE best value wines costing more than $15.00:
(in alphabetical order)

Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Knox Alexander 2016 (Central Coast, California; $40.00).
Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara Historic Vineyards Collection Chardonnay 2018 (Second Tasting) (Central Coast, California; $20.00).
Bisson Bianchetta Genovese Portofino U Pastine 2017 (Liguria, Italy; $18.90).
Brocard Sauvignon Saint-Bris 2017 (Burgundy, France; $18.90).
Casas del Bosque Grand Bosque Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Maipo Valley, Chile; $46.80).
Casas del Bosque Pequenas Producciones Pinot Noir 2017 (Casablanca Valley, Chile; $19.90).
Casas del Bosque Pequenas Producciones Syrah 2018 (Casablanca Valley, Chile; $19.90).
Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers 2016 (Burgundy, France; $23.40).
Crivelli Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato 2017 (Piedmont, Italy; $19.80).
De Moor Le Vendangeur Masque d Une si Belle Compagnie Meridionale 2016 (Languedoc, France; $35.10).
Dolores Cabrera Fernandez La Araucaria Rosado 2018 (Canary Islands, Spain; $19.80).
Epire Anjou Rouge Clos de la Cerisaie 2015 (2nd Tasting) (Loire Valley, France; $17.10).
Familia Deicas Cru d Exception Merlot 2009 (Juanicó, Uruguay; $80.00).
Familia Deicas Preludio Barrel Select Lote Number 102 2015 (Juanicó, Uruguay; $55.00 ).
Gahier Chardonnay Arbois La Fauquette 2014 (Jura, France; $31.00).
Giovanni Canonica Langhe Nebbiolo 2018 (Piedmont, Italy; $31.50).
Guido Porro Dolcetto d alba V. Pari 2018 (Piedmont, Italy; $18.00).
Jacquin et Fils Roussette de Savoie Marestel 2016 (Savoie, France; $18.00).
La Chandelliere Russo 2015 (Bordeaux, France; $18.50).
Moulin Pey Labrie Canon Fronsac 2011 (Bordeaux, France; $22.50).
Poderi Cellario E Orange Vino Bianco NV (Piedmont, Italy; $18.80).
Rajat Parr Wine Club Never Say Never Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (North Coast, California; $83.00).
Rajat Parr Wine Club Tres Chingones 2017 (Central coast, California; $28.00).
Ridge Blasi Zinfandel 2018 (Sonoma county, California; $32.40).
Ridge Monte Bello 2016 (North Coast, California; $175.00).
Sandhi Mount Carmel Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2016 (Central Coast, California; $38.25).
Sempuku Shinriki 85 Junmai Sake (Japan; $32.40).
Turley Casa Nuestra Napa Valley Red Wine 2017 (North Coast, California; $40.00).
Turley Duarte Zinfandel 2018 (Central Coast, California; $33.00).
Vallana Boca 2011 (Piedmont, Italy; $31.50).
Vallana Campi Raudii 1955 (Piedmont, Italy; $159.95).
Vallana e Figlio Boca 2011 (Second Tasting) (Piedmont, Italy; $31.50).
Vigneti Vecchio Sicilia Sciare Vive 2017 (Sicily, Italy; $32.00).

1. Just prior to going to California in 2017 we read Jon Bonné’s book, The New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines behind a Revolution in Taste. Then during our winter stay in California we began using the book as a guide to purchase wines from producers described in the book and found them to be truly unconventional and memorable compared to traditional California wines. As a result the percent of California wine we review is getting larger and as predominately “Old World” wine drinkers, we were really happy to find these “less traditional” California wines.

2. Annually we identify one wine as the BEST VALUE WINE from all those we reviewed over the past year. It’s usually an inexpensive wine (around $12 to $15) that drinks like a wine that costs many times that price. These are wines that literally give you the biggest bang for the buck compared to all the wines we review each year…and this years selection does that in spades and it became our California house red during 2020 and we bought it by the case.

3. The most MEMORABLE WINE OF 2020 totally blew us away. We love Merlot from Bordeaux and cherish it paired with Vicky’s venison meatloaf Roulade. However, when we tasted the Familia Deicas Cru d Exception Merlot 2009 and paired it with the venison it really set off the fireworks. It was simply fantastic and had the best characteristics of both the old and new world Merlot. Out of all the wines we drank in 2020 this is the one that had the biggest impact and made the most lasting impression.