Value Vino

2014 Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc, Sonoma County

Looking for a “house white” for your house? You could do far worse than this dependable bottling from Dry Creek Vineyard, now in its 42nd vintage. While the nose is a bit closed when the bottle is first opened, gentle swirling during the salad course reveals notes of citrus and minerals. By the time the seared scallops, grilled shrimp or lemon chicken is served, the wine is revealing a bright lemon note, along with a hint of melon and varietal grass. Refreshing and lively, it’s another in a long line of satisfying Fumés from Dry Creek Vineyard.

MSRP: $14 (October 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 88

Please like & share:

2014 Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc, Sonoma County

Grilled shrimp? Check. Seared scallops? Double check. Lemon-herb chicken? Triple check. This is the wine to open with lighter, mildly seasoned dishes because the wine itself is light and mildly seasoned — think: sage, thyme and Sauvignon Blanc’s varietal grassy quality. There’s plenty of fruit flavor, too, including green apple, lime and a hint of lemon. A refreshing summertime treat, but a sublime food companion throughout the year.

MSRP: $14 (August 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 89

Please like & share:

2014 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg, California

You could scan the thousands of wines reviewed by Wine Lines over the years, and you would find only a handful that are both Featured Wines (earning a rating of 90 points or higher) and a Value Vino (earning a rating of 88 or higher while priced at $20 or less). Add this one to the list — and considering the suggested price of $12, it should probably be considered a “Super Value Vino.” Fresh, juicy and vibrant, it’s an inviting wine from its floral aroma to its mineral-tinged finish. Along the way, flavors of peach, apple and melon cascade across the palate. Sushi would be a good companion, but we’d suggest chilling it down slightly and savoring it solo with a significant other or a good book.

MSRP: $12 (August 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 90

Please like & share:

2014 Dry Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley

A Sauvignon Blanc with a Chardonnay-like mouthfeel, this is the first Dry Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc release that incorporates estate-grown Sauvignon Gris in the blend. Sauvignon Gris is a natural genetic variant of Sauvignon Blanc, and we suspect this seemingly inconsequential 4 percent component is what gives this wine its elegant and rich texture. Bonus: The wine smells and tastes good, too, offering impressions of honeysuckle, lime, pear and cream.

MSRP: $18 (August 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 91

Please like & share:

2014 Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley, Australia

If you’ve ever tasted the French liquor cassis, you’ll recognize the primary flavor of this wine, which also shows a mild minty note and a hint of dark chocolate. Not extremely complex, but drinking quite nicely now — no additional aging necessary, and an excellent value.

MSRP: $16.99 (August 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 88

Please like & share:

2014 Wakefield Estate Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills

Like so many Down Under wines, this Pinot is all about the fruit — specifically, sweet red cherry and red berries. There’s also a hint of spice, and although the finish is a tad warm, the mouthfeel is silky and satisfying.

MSRP: $16.99 (August 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 88

Please like & share:

2014 Girl & Dragon Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

When you feel like having a quality glass of Malbec, look for “Mendoza” on the label. Just as Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley is dependably good, Malbec from Argentina’s Mendoza region offers plenty of drinking pleasure. Girl & Dragon’s 2014 vintage shows off black berries and a hint of cedar in the nose, joined by a black pepper impression in the mouth, which lingers in the finish. It’s also priced right, making it a Wine Lines Value Vino.

MSRP: $14 (July 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 88

Please like & share:

NV Cockburn’s Special Reserve, Portugal

In 2015, Cockburn’s will be celebrating 200 years of distinguished winemaking and proud history of innovative vineyard practices. To celebrate this momentous occasion, bottles of Cockburn’s port released this year will have a commemorative seal on the label.
This year’s iteration of the Special Reserve is a user-friendly winner. It sports an opaque, dusty garnet color, with orange glints towards the rim. Heady scents of alcohol quickly lead to overtly sweet raisins, cola, salted plums, candied cherries, black licorice, cashew nuts, and clove spice. It’s light in the mouth for port, with honeyed red fruit flavors and licorice. It is oh-so-smooth and ready to savor now. Serve after dinner with a plate of sharp cheeses, dried fruits, and roasted nuts.
MSRP: $19 (May 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90

Please like & share:

2014 Decoy Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County

If you like the pungent herbal character of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, this wine may not be up your alley. On the other hand, if you appreciate floral wines with lots of sweet fruit flavor and plump juiciness, crack open this wine from Sonoma County and enjoy its white flower aroma, and vibrant flavors of mango, pear and banana, underscored by a sense of minerality. It’s good juice at a good price — a Wine Lines Value Vino.

MSRP: $20 (May 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 89

Please like & share:

2013 Hess Select Chardonnay, Monterey County

Looking for a “house white” for your house? It would be hard to beat this easy-drinking Chardonnay from Monterey County. Vivid medium-straw in color, it has alluring aromas of sweet lemon, butter, vanilla and baking spices. Tropical fruit notes emerge in the mouth, where the wine is medium-full in body, and the fruit and wood components meld nicely. The finish is medium in length and invites another sip.

MSRP: $12 (May 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 88

Please like & share: