Wine Reviews Tasting Notes and Education for the Non-Snob, by Vino Joe, a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW)

Best Wine Deals Under $20

Forgive me if I sound like a shill for Wine.com this week, but it’s all in the name of helping you get good wine at good prices — and one-cent shippingis nothing to sneeze at in the quest for great values.

That said, this is the last day of one-cent shipping from Wine.com. So I’ve done a quick review of the wines available from the site, which I think give good bang for the buck — some call it “QPR” or great quality:price ratio (I call them “no-brainers”).

Click on the wine names to order directly from Wine.com — do it before midnight on September 10th, and you’ll get a case delivered for one penny.

Kanonkop Pinotageicon $19.99 sale price
Kanonkop is the king of Pinotage — the beginning, middle, and end of any and all conversations concerning the grape. The 2004 vintage was the first made without legendary winemaker Beyers Truter, but that shouldn’t preclude you from denying it. However, Pinotage is a wine with a distinct flavor profile, which includes an element some describe as “band aid”. It’s one of those wines that people either love or hate. If you love it, this wine at under twenty bucks is an incredible value.

Argiolas Costera 2007icon $17.99
Year in and year out, Argiolas consistently delivers great wines from “unknown” varietals — i.e., grapes with which the casual wine consumer aren’t familiar (I’ve reviewed their “Perdera” and “Costamolino” in the past). This wine is what I like to refer to as a “Super Sardinian”, a fabulous red for stews and steaks made from 100% Cannonau (you may know the grape better as Grenache). A perfect choice for the autumn season.

Statti Calabria Gaglioppo 2007icon $19.99
It’s wine “discoveries” like this that invigorate my passion for grape juice — the unknown jewels from regions and grapes that even geeks overlook. People generally know wines from the northern regions of Italy, and Sicily is gaining popularity, but Calabria? Gag-me-up-what? Truth is, Statti Gaglioppo is an open, ripe, distinctive red that would likely cost $35-40 if the label said “Tuscany” instead of “Calabria”. To me it’s something like a cross between a Chianti Classico Riserva and a Moulin-a-Vent. At under twenty bucks it’s a steal.

Clos de los Sieteicon $18.49
OK, this one isn’t on sale, but it’s an incredible value nonetheless. Made by flying winemaker extraordinaire Michel Rolland, this Argentine blend drinks like a wine twice its price. Great with ribeyes and skirt steaks.

Plantagenet Riesling 2006icon $17.49
The name of this wine reminds me of “Interplanet Janet“. Now that you have an idea of my age, I’ll tell you the taste of the wine reminds me more of a Riesling from Alsace than Australia — and that’s a good thing. It has that typical oily texture and flavors of fresh ripe apple, lemony citrus, and stony mineral that are common from Alsace, and also has the edge of tart acidity to hold everything together and make it a good food wine.

La Crema Chardonnay 2007icon$19.99
I’m generally wary of California Chardonnays, as many tend to be overoaked and unnaturally sweet. La Crema, though, is one brand that has always delivered good balance and pure, ripe fruit. I reviewed the 2005 and jotted similar notes for the 2006. There’s every reason to believe the 2007 is similarly scrumptious.

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