the year’s best northwest wine bargains (quality and value)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bargain hunting seems to be on everyone’s to do list these days, especially right after the holiday gift giving frenzy. I took a look back through all my reviews for Wine Enthusiast during the past year to see what would turn up with certain parameters. The parameters: the wine received either a Best Buy or an Editors’ Choice designation, and carried a suggested retail of $30 or less. (Don’t pound on me; I know that for many people that is no bargain). For me, for this list, under $30 and scoring 93 points or better is hereby defined as a bargain.

So, here are the wines that rank as the best quality for the price wines of the year.

Number one, by a two point margin, is Efesté’s 2009 Lola Chardonnay ($30). It received 96 points, and led a list that was heavy in white wines (no surprise, as white wines are generally cheaper than red wines). The second tier (all 94 point wines) was led by Dunham’s outstanding Lewis Estate riesling, and included five whites and a pair of reds.

The 94 point bargains (by price):

Dunham 2009 Lewis Estate Vineyard Riesling ($20)
Ch. Ste. Michelle/Dr. Loosen 2009 Eroica Riesling ($24)
Maison Bleue 2009 Soleil Roussanne ($25)
ArborBrook 2008 Sydney Sémillon ($28 – 375ml)
Mark Ryan 2009 Chardonnay ($28)
Tulpen Cellars 2007 Merlot ($28)
Kontos Cellars 2008 Syrah ($30)

At 93 points Mark Ryan and Dunham both scored again, the only repeaters. White wines were dominant, especially rieslings and chardonnays. The entire list includes just one merlot, one cabernet, two red blends, and four syrahs. I’ll let you make of that what you will.

The 93 point bargains (by price):

Ch. Ste. Michelle 2010 Cold Creek Riesling ($15)
David Hill 2010 Estate Pinot Gris ($16)
Rulo 2009 Sundance Vineyard Chardonnay ($20)
Pacific Rim 2009 Solstice Vineyard Riesling ($22)
Angel Vine 2009 The Hellion ($22)
Trisaetum 2010 Coast Range Dry Riesling ($24)
Januik 2009 Cold Creek Vineyards Chardonnay ($25)
Buty 2009 Sémillon/Sauvignon/Muscadelle ($25)
Woodward Canyon 2010 Estate Sauvignon Blanc ($26)
Hard Row To Hoe 2008 Syrah ($28)
Mark Ryan 2009 Viognier ($28)
Dunham 2008 Syrah ($28)
Syncline 2009 McKinley Springs Vineyard Syrah ($30)
Pamplin 2008 JRG Red ($30)
Nefarious Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon ($30)

Not all of these wines are still available, but they give you a starting point for finding those producers who are still making top tier wines and pricing them below market value. Happy hunting!


Anonymous said...

The Pamplin 2008 JRG Red is a beautifully made wine and a great value. Worth the effort to seek out in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I think Cameron's Dundee Hills Pinot is a good value year-in and year-out. It still has legs on day three and costs about $23 a bottle.

Radio said...

We love the list...Happy New Year !!!!

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