Best Value Wines of 2018

The Best Value wine 2018
Yesterday celebrated it’s sixth anniversary and during the past year we posted more than 150 new wine reviews, but tasted about twice that number that didn’t get a written review. As a result the wines reviewed are the best quality and value of all we tasted. One of the highlights for us in 2018 was our discovery of many new California wines and vineyards. Just prior to going to California last year 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.

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 2018 and the purpose for compiling the list is so you can be on the watch for them as you buy wine in 2019. Our year end review format for the best value wines of 2018 includes: 1. An alphabetical listing of the wines we thought were the best value for the price. Within that list we have identified what we thought were truly OUTSTANDING VALUE WINES or the Best-of-the-Best1 (identified with bold type). It is from this list that we made the selection for THE BEST VALUE WINE OF 2018…Huber Gruner Veltliner 20172. 2. A second list includes wines we thought were truly memorable regardless of price; they are exceptional wines, but really don’t fit into everyone’s definition of “value wines”. Generally these tend to be the more expensive wines we reviewed and it is from this list we selected the single MOST MEMORABLE 2018 WINE…Thierry Germain Les Roches Saumur Champigny 20163. In addition this year we also selected the MOST UNDERVALUED WINE IN THIS LIST…Chotard Sancerre 20164. 3. Our pick for the single BEST VALUE LOCAL WINE we had in 2018…Hutton Vineyards Estate Cabernet Franc 20145.

As we compiled the 2018 lists of outstanding wines a couple of things jumped out. Our BEST VALUE list was composed of 39% French and 39% Italian wines and only one domestic wine. Does that tell you what section of the wine store to look for the best values? And, our MOST MEMORABLE list included 50% French wines and 27% California wines…a big change from previous years since Jon Bonné’s book, The New California Wine exposed us to some lesser known outstanding California wines.

The wines that had Outstanding Quality and were the Best Value in 2018:
(in alphabetical order)

Amido Cotes du Rhone Villages Signargues 2013 (Cotes du Rhone Villages, France; $12.60)
Au Bon Climat Pinot Gris\Pinot Blanc 2016 (Central Coast, California; $18.00).
Chauvin L’Argonnette Anjou 2014 (Loire Valley, France; $13.50).
Fattoria del Cerro Rosso di Montepulciano 2015 (Tuscany, Italy; $11.95).
Garcia Unculin Bierzo 2015 (Bierzo, Spain; $16.20).
Grange de Quatre Sous Garsinde 2015 (Languedoc-Rousillion, France; $16.20).
Huber Gruner Veltliner 20172 (Traisental, Austria; $13.50 1L bottle).
Kermit Lynch Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Blanc 2016 (Southern Rhône, France; $12.60).
La Casaccia Giuanin Barbera Del Monferrato 2016 (Piedmont, Italy; $16.20).
Majas Cotes Catalanes Blanc 2015(Languedoc Roussillon, France; $14.40)
Marco De Bartoli Vignaverde 2016 (Sicily, Italy; $21.60).
Nicolini Rosso 2014 (Istria, Italy; $11.70).
Paolo Betrilli Fortuita Vendemmia 2015 (Puglia, Italy; $16.20).
Pastini Antico Locorotondo 2016 (Puglia, Italy; $11.70).
Perret Languedoc Rouge 2016 (Languedoc, France; $11.70).
Petroni Corse Rouge 2015 (Corsica, France; $12.60)
Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme Le Telquel (NV) (Loire valley, France; $15.30).
Pra Otto Soave Classico 2016 (Veneto, Italy; $14.95).
Quinta do Infantado Tawny Port Non-Vintage (Douro, Portugal; $18.00).
Texier, Cotes du Rhone Chat Fou 2014 (Côtes du Rhône, France; $15.30
Tezza Brolo delle Giare Valpolicella Ripasso Valpantena Superiore 2014 (Veneto, Italy; $23.40).
Tua Rita Rosso del Notri 2015 ((Toscana, Italy; $19.95).
Valflaunes Pourquoi Pas Languedoc 2017 (Languedoc, France; $16.20).

The most MEMORABLE wines we reviewed in 2018, regardless of price:
(in alphabetical order)

Au Bon Climat Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 (Central Coast California; $35.00).
Bernhard Ott Gruner Veltliner Fass 4 2016 (Wagram Region, Austria; $23.95).
Bibei Lalama Ribeira Sacra 2012 (Ribeira Sacra; Spain; $29.70).
Brancaia Ilatraia Rosso 2010 (Tuscany, Italy; $39.99)
Breton Clos Senechal Bourgueil 2012 (Loire Valley, France; $33.30).
Breton Les Perrieres Bourgueil 2011 (Loire Valley, France; $46.80).
Caparsino Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 (Tuscany, Italy; $27.00).
Chotard Sancerre 20164 (Loire Valley, France; $22.50).
Didier Dagueneau Buisson Renard 2012 (Loire Valley, France; $90.00).
Domaine de la Cote Memorious Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2015 (Central Coast, California; $51.00).
Drew Family Cellars Mid-Elevation Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir 2016 (North Coast, California; $29.95).
El Maestro Sierra Amontillado 12 Years Old Sherry (Jerez, Spain; $25.20 375 ML bottle).
Foillard Fleurie 2013 (Villie Morgon, France; $41.40).
Fourrier Aux Echezeau and Vieille Vigne Gevrey-Chambertin 2015 (Burgundy, France; $82.80).
Francois Raveneau Chablis 2014 (Chablis, France; $99.00).
La Chablisienne Chablis Mont de Milieu 1er Cru 2014 (Burgundy, France; $28.95).
Monier Saint-Joseph Les Serves 2014 (Northern Rhône, France; $43.20).
Mongeard-Mugneret Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2015 (Côte de Nuits; Burgundy, France; $28.95).
Pillot Les Grands Champs Bourgogne 2015 (Burgundy, France; $27.00).
Praesidium Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva 2012 (Abruzzo, Italy; $29.95)
Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains 2014 (Nuits-Saint-Georges, France; $138.60).
Sandhi Bentrock Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 2014 (Central Coast, California; $69.95).
Sandhi Rinconada Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2015 (Central coast, California; $45.00).
Sandhi Sanford & Benedict Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 2014 Sta. Rita Hills; Central Coast, California; $52.95).
Sandhi Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2014 (Santa Barbara County; Central Coast, California; $24.95).
Tablas Creek Vineyard Roussanne 2014 (Central Coast California; $35.00).
Thierry Germain Domaine Des Roches Neuves Saumur Champigny 2016 (Saumur Champigny, France; $23.40).
Thierry Germain Les Roches Saumur Champigny 20163 (Loire Valley, France; $25.20).
Vallana Gattinara 2007 (Piedmont, Italy; $32.95).
Xavier Vins Cuvee Anonyme Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010 (Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France; $39.95).

The Best Value local wine of 2018

Hutton Vineyards Estate Cabernet Franc 20145 (Yadkin Valley, North Carolina; $15.00).

1. There are always a small number of wines that are extra special and we identify them as The-BEST-OF-THE-BEST. The wines that make this list have outstanding quality but are way under valued and we think are the best value wines we reviewed in 2018.
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.
3. The most MEMORABLE WINE OF 2018 totally blew us away. We like Cabernet Franc and drink many examples from around the world each year, but when we tasted the Thierry Germain Les Roches Saumur Champigny 2016 paired with Venison stir-fry it really was unsurpassed. Out of all the wines we drank in 2018 this is the most unforgettable!!!
4. This year we also identified a wine in the MOST MEMORABLE LIST that was priced way below it’s quality. The Chotard Sancerre 2016 was MEMORABLE wine at a BARGAIN PRICE!!!
5. The BEST VALUE LOCAL WINE. For us this means North Carolina. We have tasted a lot of North Carolina wines over the years and quite frankly we haven’t found many that were very drinkable, let alone good. So this listing in the year end review is VERY significant. We recommend both the Hutton Vineyards Estate Cabernet Franc 2014 and a visit to their tasting room.