Value Vino

2013 Sonoma-Loeb Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County

Bright pale straw color. The clean, enticing nose delivers aromas of Granny Smith apple, lemon-lime, honeyed flowers, and herbal notes. It is crisp in the mouth, with a juicy, sweet-tart palate impression, which then leads to a melony roundness at the finish. This is a versatile white that is perfect on its own as an aperitif, or can be enjoyed as a complement to entrees of fish and fowl.
MSRP: $18 (December 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 90

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2012 Vina Robles ‘Red4,’ Paso Robles

This GSM comes with a P.S. Translation: This is a Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blend that also includes Petite Sirah. More accurately, this is a Petite Sirah (50%) that includes smaller portions of Grenache (20%), Syrah (20%) and Mourvedre (10%). With such expressive varietals involved, you’d expect this to be a complex cuvee, and it is. Briary red raspberry, perfumed flowers, earth, black pepper and a hint of blue fruit waft from the glass. The wine is quite smooth in the mouth, picking up a black licorice note. Moderate fine-grained tannins and a hint of petroleum emerge in the finish, which lingers. This is a lot of wine for the money.

MSRP: $17 (November 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 89

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2013 Kendall-Jackson ‘Vintner’s Reserve’ Riesling, Monterey County

A pear blossom perfume gives way to effusive ripe peach and apricot in the nose. In the mouth, sweet orange emerges. In the past, many California Rieslings have been overblown, flabby and not particularly distinctive. Could this party in a glass mark a new chapter in the variety’s evolution in California? Enjoy as an aperitif, or with fruit salads, white meats, spicy Asian foods, or fruit-based desserts.

MSRP: $13 (November 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2012 Pedroncelli ‘Bushnell Vineyard’ Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

When first opened, this wine shows menthol/eucalyptus, a touch of shoe polish, root beer and paraffin. After aeration, additional notes of red berry fruit, white pepper and vanilla emerge. The finish has a lot of silty, medium-grained, earthy tannins. Young and tight, the wine needs a good deal of sloshing around in the glass to open up… and once it does, any kind of barbecue would be an ideal pairing partner. A Wine Lines Value Vino.

MSRP: $20 (November 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 89

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2012 Murphy-Goode ‘Homefront Red,’ California

Nearly opaque dark ruby in color, this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cuvee is brimming with spicy fruit. An effusive nose full of briary raspberry, black pepper, mint/eucalyptus and a pleasant earthiness leads to dusty earthiness in the mouth. The initial entry is more sedate, even Claret-like — echoing the Bordeaux varietals in the blend. For the record, the blend consists of 34% Zinfandel, 27% Merlot, 16% Petite Sirah, 13% Petit Verdot, 6% Syrah and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. An engaging quaffer, food friendly and a Wine Lines Value Vino.

MSRP (November 2014): $15

Wine Lines rating: 88

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2013 Paul Dolan Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino County

Floral and fruit forward, this wine presents good acidity in the mouth with a touch of rosewater viscosity. Notes of lime, white peach, banana and lemongrass entice the nose, refresh the palate and invite another sip. A real gem from the little known Potter Valley area of Mendocino County, and a Wine Lines Value Vino.

MSRP: $18 (October 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2013 J. Lohr ‘Flume Crossing’ Sauvignon Blanc, Arroyo Seco, Monterey

Light straw color. This is an eminently likeable, fruit-forward style of Sauvignon Blanc, showing zesty lime, white grapefruit, passionfruit, a hint of banana, and fresh snap pea. It has a juicy vibrancy on the palate, a note of creaminess from partial barrel fermentation in Acacia barrels, and the juicy fruit lingers at the end. A Value Vino.
MSRP: $14 (August 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 88

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2013 Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc, Sonoma County

At its inception 30 years ago, Ferrari-Carano quickly established a reputation as a producer of world-class Chardonnay. Those of us who visited the winery back then found the Sauvignon Blanc bottlings to be similarly outstanding. Today, the yearly output of Fumé Blanc is 85,000+ cases.
Clear straw color. The nose offers up sweet, sun-drenched fruit with a kiss of vanilla cream. On the palate, the wine shows as quite lively, with the fruit flavors separating out to show honeydew melon, sweet lemon, ripe apple, and tropical fruit. Partial barrel fermentation adds a supple creaminess. This is a versatile white that stands on its own, or it can be enjoyed paired with lighter white meat dishes and entrees with a white sauce.
MSRP: $14 (August 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 89

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2013 J Vineyards, Pinot Gris, California

A vibrant nose of white flowers, honey, lime, banana and papaya — tropical fruit, in general — leads to a plush, juicy mouthfeel that invites sip after refreshing sip. California’s Clarksburg, Lodi, North Coast and Monterey AVAs all contributed fruit to the cuvee, which is perfect for poolside sipping.

MSRP: $16 (June 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 88

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2010 Matchbook ‘Tinto Rey,’ Dunnigan Hills

Match Book Tinto Rey

Match Book Tinto Rey

This disparate blend of five red varietals — Tempranillo, Syrah, Graciano, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat — is nicely refined, with just a hint of earthiness. Its aroma and flavor spectrum includes cherries, blackberry, briary raspberry and a hint of espresso, all framed by medium-grained tannins. “Tinto Rey” would make an ideal companion to a Santa Maria-style tri-tip steak dinner with all the trimmings.

MSRP: $17 (June 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 88

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