Value Vino

2015 Wakefield Estate Pinot Gris, Clare Valley, Australia

In the glass, a pale straw hue. The perfumed nose evokes memories of orchards in the Fall, laden with ripe apples and pears ready for the market or press. Crystalline minerality adds a note of complexity. The fruit flavors follow through on the palate, showing a juicy acidity with just a hint of fleshy melon to plump out the body. Bright and light, this white will pair well with Cobb salads and chicken entrees.
MSRP: $16.99 (September 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 88

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2015 Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley, Australia

This red presents as an opaque dark purple, with crimson hues at the rim. Eucalyptus-tinged aromas lead to scents of tobacco and tomato leaf, black berries, minerality, and milk chocolate. Good acidity stimulates the palate, and classic cassis and wood spice carry through to the finish. There, youthful, fine-grained tannins poke through. While ready to enjoy now, this wine will continue to provide drinking pleasure for seven more years. Pair it with all manner of red meats, from grilled sirloin to lamb shank.
MSRP: $16.99 (September 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 89

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2015 Wakefield Estate Shiraz, Clare Valley

A deep purple/crimson in the glass. Initial scents of menthol and eucalyptus lead to deeper aromas and flavors of blackberries, pectin, earth, fleshy black plum, black licorice, and a note of cocoa powder. Medium-full in body, with sweet, dusty tannins and a supple mouthfeel. This is a solid, everyday red, well-suited to lamb chops on the barbecue. A value vino.
MSRP: $16.99 (September 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 88

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2015 Barrymore by Carmel Road Pinot Grigio, California

Pinot Grigio – it’s not just from Italy anymore. Movie star Drew Barrymore is a fan of this crisp white wine, and has partnered with Carmel Road winery to produce a delicious rendition. A mélange of aromas and flavors delight the senses – perfumed honeydew, lemon curd, banana, and apple fruit join together with a thin thread of minerality and juicy acidity that make this a delightful bistro wine or poolside sipper. True to its California origin, there is more upfront fruit and palate presence than is usually found in its weaker Italian sisters. Enjoy this at your next soiree, and watch the crowd come alive.
MSRP: $18 (September 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 89

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2015 La Crema Pinot Gris, Monterey

La Crema winery has been on a tear as of late. The 2013 and 2014 vintages were uniformly outstanding. It looks like the 2015 vintage will continue their hot streak.
This wine shows a brilliant pale straw color in the glass. The alluring nose seduces, with perfumed scents of honeysuckle, ripe nectarine, green melon, and citrus. It’s fresh and juicy in the mouth, showing a lemony acidity that stimulates the salivary glands. Like a cool breeze in July, the fresh fruit finish delivers plenty of pleasure. This is the perfect summer sipper/aperitif/party wine. Outstanding value.
MSRP: $20 (July 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 90

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2015 Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc, Sonoma County

For over four decades, Dry Creek Vineyard has produced a Fumé Blanc bottling – one of only a handful of California wineries that can claim such a long track record with the Sauvignon Blanc varietal. The use of the term Fumé, first coined in America by Mondavi in 1968, is a nod to the style of Sauvignon Blanc produced in the Loire Valley of France. Crisper, less ripe and alcoholic, it is a perfect foil for fresh oysters on the half shell.
Light straw in color, this white offers up a mélange of lime, tangerine, lemon, banana apple, peach, crystal minerality, and a light dusting of marshmallow. There is an initial sense of creaminess upon first sip, followed by an explosion of salivating juiciness spreads across the palate.
This humble, inexpensive white is a textbook example of the Fumé Blanc style, ready to serve as an aperitif or paired with freshly shucked oysters. A Value Vino.
MSRP: $14 (June 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 89

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2013 Kendall-Jackson ‘Vintner’s Reserve’ Red Wine Blend, California

Many people turn up their noses at multi-variety wines made from grapes grown in multiple areas. Not us. All we at Wine Lines care about is what’s in the glass, and when this Red Wine Blend is in our glass, we’re very happy. Syrah is the primary varietal at 44% of the cuvee, joined by Zinfandel (25%) and Merlot (20%). There also are smaller amounts of Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and other varieties from Mendocino County (40%), Sonoma County (39%), Santa Barbara County (10%), Lake County (7%) and Napa County (4%). Now that you have the stats, let’s check out the aromas and flavors: currants, blueberries, assorted red and black berries, vanilla, chocolate and allspice. In a word: Yum. Better still, it’s a steal at $17, making it a Wine Lines Value Vino in addition to a Featured Wine Selection.

MSRP: $17

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2015 Liberated Sauvignon Blanc, North Coast

A clear pale straw color in the glass. One sniff and – WOW! Heady aromas of fresh lime, quince and gooseberry are upfront, followed by a backdrop of perfumed flowers, steel, and chalky minerality. It’s medium-bodied, with a juicy acidity that invites the next sip. Notes of crisp pear add to the exotic fruit basket of flavors. It would be easy to dismiss this as another pretty label meant to catch the eye on a supermarket shelf, but the juice in the bottle is the Real Deal.
MSRP: $17 (May 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 89

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2013 Liberated Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast

Opaque purple-black color. Well-defined aromas of sweet blackberry, black currant, fleshy black cherry, plum, and fresh dill are rounded out by shadings of butter, cream, and milk chocolate. These flavors continue on the palate, leaving an impression of a chocolate covered cherry with a cream center. The tannins are soft and rounded, making this a pleasure to drink right now. This red is equally enjoyable as a sipper or paired with your favorite grilled red meat. Incredible value at this pricepoint.
MSRP: $17 (May 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 89

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2014 La Crema Chardonnay, Monterey

A surprisingly deep, clear, yellow straw color in the glass. Butter and baking spices cloak ample ripe scents of orange and cream (think Dreamsickle), honeydew, baked apple, and ripe stone fruit. Despite the richness of the nose and the buttered fruit viscosity that spreads across the palate, there is a solid thread of juicy acidity that balances the wine. This is the best La Crema Chardonnay from Monterey that I’ve tasted in the past decade.
MSRP: $20 (May 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 91

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