Value Vino

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

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

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

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

2012 Pedroncelli Winery ‘Mother Clone’ Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

The nose of this wine is not complex, but it’s certainly inviting. It has a sweet edge, with a note of black raspberry, a prickle of black pepper, and hints of cherry and root beer. As the wine opens up, a perfumed high note emerges. Smoother in the mouth than most Zins, this is a perfect companion to pizza or grilled meats.

MSRP: $17 (June 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 89

2012 J. Lohr Estates ‘Falcon’s Perch’ Pinot Noir, Monterey County

For people of a certain age, the aroma of this value-priced Pinot Noir may be reminiscent of Delaware Punch. A surprisingly complex wine from one of California’s venerable Pinot Noir growing regions, it offers up a basketful of berries, a squeeze of citrus and a sachet of herbs. With time in the glass, cumin, rhubarb and dark cherry notes emerge, and the wine exhibits a chalky grip. All in all, it’s a lot of wine for the money.

MSRP: $17 (June 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 88

2013 Avant Sauvignon Blanc, California

Brilliant light straw color. Fresh and vibrant in the nose, delivering zesty lime, tangerine blossom, passion fruit, a note of banana, and cool minerality. Some light chalkiness appears towards the finish. This is a perfect wine for lighter fare during the coming heat of summer. A Value Vino.
MSRP: $13 (ay 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 88

2011 Salentein Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina

Opaque dark ruby color. Scents of crushed black pepper intermingle with briary dark berry fruit. This red shows some fleshiness in the mouth, picking up licorice root flavors and showing soft, furry tannins. The bottle states that this is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, but the aromas and flavors scream California Zinfandel. Balanced and clean, this is a thoroughly likeable red that is a delight on its own, but can also pair well with all manner of charred red meats, barbecue, luncheon fare, and Italian red sauce dishes.
MSRP: $19.99 (March 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 89

2012 Salentein Reserve Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina

The wine sports a brilliant pale yellow color with glints of green. Initial whiffs of light butter and vanilla cream pave the way to delicate white flowers, a note of citrus, and moderate apple fruit. Medium in body, it has a gentle mouth entry followed by a natural juicy acidity and touch of saline minerality. At the finish, the wine ends with a sweet honeybutter flavor that lingers. Perfectly clean and balanced. A great example of the coming-of-age in Chardonnay production in Argentina.
MSRP: $19.99 (March 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 89

2012 Pedroncelli ‘friends.red’ Red Wine, Sonoma County

Looking for your next “house red” — that dependable, yet affordable, bottle that you can stock up on and pour with confidence when unexpected company arrives? This blend of Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah has a floral nose that underscores perfumed red cherry, raspberry, licorice, black plum and pepper notes. The wine has a smooth palate entry, is medium-full in body, and exhibits unobtrusive tannins in the back end — all in all, a tasty, versatile red that’s ideal for everyday drinking.

MSRP: $12 (March 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 88