Best value wines of 2019

Most memorable wine
The Best Value wine
Today is celebrating it’s seventh anniversary and again during the past year we posted more than 150 new wine reviews. This year we spent a few weeks in Paris and on a Rhone valley riverboat cruise (see Free wine on a river cruise: what you need to know) and there are many reviews of wines we purchased as we traveled. Also, we are drinking more California wines each year as we find more non-traditional California producers1.

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 2019 and the purpose for compiling the list is so you can be on the watch for them as you buy wine in 2020. Our year end review format for the best value wines of 2019 includes: 1. An alphabetical listing of the wines we thought were the best value and priced less than about $15. It is from this list that we made the selection for THE BEST VALUE WINE OF 2019…Barisel Monferrato Dolcetto 20162. 2. A second list includes wines we thought were exceptional values, but generally cost more than $20. 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 2019 WINE…Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 20163. It’s interesting to note that both of these wines became our “House” wines for 2019 and we bought them by the case!!!

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

Barisel Monferrato Dolcetto 2016 (Piedmont, Italy; $13,50).
Berto Ross da Travaj Red Vermouth NV (Piedmont, Italy; $17.10 1L bottle).
Caparsa Rosso NV (Tuscany, Italy; $15.30).
Centorame Scuderie Ducali Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 (Abruzzo; $11.70).
Chateau Haut-Mayne Graves Blanc 2016 (Bordeaux, France; $14.00).
Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Merlot 2015 (Columbia Valley, Washington; $9.27 ).
De Wetshof Estate Bon Vallon Chardonnay 2017 (Western Cape, South Africa; $16.20).
Massaya Le colombier 2016 (Beqaa Valley, Lebanon; $13.50).
Massiac Minervois 2014 (Languedoc-Roussillon, France; $14.40).
Pascal & Annick Quenard Vin de Savoie Chignin 2016 (Savoie, France; $16.20).
Piccinin Muni Bianco 2017 (Veneto, Italy; $15.30).
Strub Silvaner Feinherb 2016 (Rheinhessen, Germany; $13.50).
Stephen Maurice Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2017 (Burgundy, France; $16.20).

The most MEMORABLE best value wines we reviewed in 2019, regardless of price:
(in alphabetical order)

Adega Familiar Eladio Pineiro La Coartada 2009 (Alentejo region, Portugal; $26.10).
Altos de Inurrieta Reserva 2012 (Navarra, Spain; $18.00).
Aubert Wines Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 (North Coast, California; $150.00).
Auguste Clape Cornas 2015 (Northern Rhone, France; $66.35).
Benevelli Piero Ravera Di Monforte Barolo 2012 (Piedmont, Italy; $45.00).
Breuil Reserve des Seigneurs, 20 Ans d Age Calvados (Normandy, France; $79.46).
Caparsino Chianti Classico Riserva 2014 (Tuscany, Italy; $27.00).
Dog Point Section 94 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (Marlborough, New Zealand; $28.95).
Grosjean Vins Petite Arvine Vigna Rovettaz Valle d Aosta 2014 (Aosta Valley, Italy; $24.00).
Kalin Cellars Livermore Valley Cuvee W Chardonnay 1995 (Livermore Valley, California; $30.60).
Rajat Parr Wine Club Pais 2017 (Amador County, California; $28.00).
Sandhi Sanford & Benedict Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2015 (Central Coast, California; $45.00).
Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 2016 (Central Coast, California; $25.50).
Silvio Giamello Villa Gentiana 2017 (Piedmont, Italy; $19.80).
Ostertag Gewurztraminer Vignoble d’E 2015 (Alsace, France; $30.60).
Turley Napa Valley Library Vineyard Petite Syrah 2016 (North Coast, California; $75.00).
Vieux Telegraphe le Pigeoulet 2017 (Southern Rhône, France; $18.00).

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 house red during 2019.

3. The most MEMORABLE WINE OF 2019 totally blew us away. We love Chardonnay from Burgundy and pair it with seared salmon, sword fish and tuna that we frequently eat. However when we paired the Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 2016 with our fish it really all came together. It was a fantastic value and had the best characteristics of both the old and new world Chardonnay. Out of all the wines we drank in 2019 this is the one that had the biggest impact on our wine drinking and we bought it by the case…something we VERY, VERY, VERY seldom do!!!