Value Vino

2014 Murphy-Goode Pinot Grigio, California

In the glass, it is a pale straw color, with some effervescence present. The pretty nose delivers plenty of sweet white flowers, honeysuckle, apple, pear, orange, and tropical fruits. This cornucopia of aromatics likely comes from the addition of a few percent each of Viognier, Semillon, Marsanne, and Roussanne. It has a medium body, with a glycerine oiliness reminiscent of Viognier. Whether served at lunch, on a picnic, or as a poolside sipper, this white is sure to please. Value Vino.
MSRP: $12.50 (March 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 88

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2015 Wakefield Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia

This is that most rare of wines: a Wine Lines Featured Wine (meaning it has earned a score of at least 90 points on our 100-point grading scale) and a Wine Lines Value Vino (meaning it has earned a score of at least 88 points and is priced at $20 or lower). You may want to buy it by the case after experiencing its apple blossom, sweet orange, honey and warm tropical fruit notes. It’s quite juicy in the mouth, where a tart apple flavor is joined by a hint of spearmint. Pair it with shellfish or schnitzel, or simply savor it solo with a good book and a warm fireplace.

MSRP: $16.99 (February 2016)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2014 Wakefield ‘Promised Land Unwooded’ Chardonnay, South Australia

Ever been to apple country during the harvest season? If so, you’ll never forget the sweet perfumed aroma in the air. This wine’s nose replicates that experience. In the mouth, a bit of slatiness and lemon zest lead to a sun-drenched apple quality in the finish. Pour this wine alongside a pork chop and a cup of applesauce, and it’ll be the apple of your eye.

MSRP: $12.99 (February 2016)

Wine Lines rating: 89

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2015 Wakefield ‘Promised Land Unwooded’ Chardonnay, South Australia

When some wine drinkers hear the term “unwood,” they fear the acidity of the wine may be through the roof. That is true in some cases — but not this one. The wine is medium in body, exhibiting apple-marshmallow and citrus notes. A beautiful aperitif wine, and an outstanding value.

MSRP: $12.99 (February 2016)

Wine Lines rating: 88

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2015 Wakefield Chardonnay, Clare Valley, Australia

This full-bodied wine offers a pure expression of fruit flavors — spiced apple, passion fruit and a hint of peach — joined by a note of cashew. Perfect for sipping before grilling the shrimp on the barbie, and priced so you can plan a lot of barbecues.

MSRP: $16.99 (February 2016)

Wine Lines rating: 89

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2013 Pedroncelli ‘Bench Vineyards’ Merlot, Dry Creek Valley

This wine has an inviting nose of dark flower perfume, vanilla, clove, fleshy black and red fruits, and a sense of volcanic minerality. More one-dimensional in the mouth, a black licorice impression emerges and carries through to the finish, joined by a hint of smoky oak. All in all, a very pleasant wine, and a good value.

MSRP: $17 (January 2016)

Wine Lines rating: 89

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2013 Pedroncelli ‘Mother Clone’ Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

This has been a consistently good wine through the years, garnering a rating of 88 for the 2011 vintage and 89 for the 2012. For 2013, it moves up to Featured Wine status, as its briary raspberry, melted vanilla bean ice cream and cranberry notes are easy to love. There’s also a dash of pepper that you’ll appreciate once barbecue season rolls around. Drink it now to warm your heart on a cold winter night, or save it until summer and enjoy it in the great outdoors with your favorite grilled dishes.

MSRP: $18 (January 2016)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2006 Godwin Merlot, Sonoma Valley

One of the best things about the beginning of a new year is searching the local wine retailers for quality wines bought on closeout deals. I have had good luck here in my home town of Las Vegas. Often, these wines have a bit of age on them –perfect for those who like a mature wine.
Wine writer Gil Lempert-Schwarz featured this wine in his column on 1/13/16. Since this red originally sold in the $40 range, a blowout price of $6.99 would be a steal. If… well, if the wine was still sound.
There is only one way to find out…
From first pop of the pristine, long cork, aromas of crushed berries waft from the glass and fill the room. The color is that of a mature claret – a nearly opaque, crimson hue, lightening towards the rim. The opulent fruit scents are joined by secondary bottle aromas of freshly turned earth, cellar/mushroom, light oak and cedar impressions, and a hint of minerality.
Now for the real test – the first sip. Wow! Ultra smooth with no tannic bite, the wine shows great refinement. The fruit is still going strong, but all other aromas and flavors are blended together to create a pleasurable mouthful of red. The fruit and earthy wood finish lingers for 15 to 20 seconds.
The bottle states that the winery was trying to produce a Merlot that would “rival the very best Pomerol chateaus.” While not Petrus, this is a very enjoyable Merlot that is in full maturity. The original retail price of $40 was reasonable – at this special price of $6.99 it is an absolute steal.
Sale price: $6.99 (Lee’s Discount Liquors in Las Vegas)
Wine Lines rating: 89

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2013 Kendall-Jackson ‘Vintner’s Reserve’ Syrah, California

Although the AVA on the label reads “California,” this cuvee comes entirely from Santa Barbara County. Mild smoke and spice notes frame fruit impressions of blackberry and plum, joined by a hint of sweet root beer. Serve with rich stews, or as a Chianti alternative with lasagna.

MSRP: $17 (December 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 88

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2013 Kendall-Jackson ‘Vintner’s Reserve’ Zinfandel, Mendocino County

Raspberry is one of the flavors normally associated with Zinfandel, and there’s an abundance of that fruit flavor in this wine. Other red and dark berry impressions also are in evidence, joined by just a hint of black pepper. Serve it with a thick, juicy steak, or hold it until barbecue season rolls around again.

MSRP: $17

Wine Lines rating: 88

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