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90+ point rated wines under $20

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2008 Summerland Pinot Gris**
summerlandPG.jpg Region Price Purchased Date
Santa Barbara, CA $17 @ the Winery 1/5/10
A pale, lemon-colored wine with bright aromas of citrus and green fruit with notes of flowers and minerals. The palate was medium-bodied with crisp acidity, good balance and flavors of lemon, pear, lime, green apple and minerals on the moderate finish. Tasted less tropical and fruit forward as it did at the winery, but still a well-crafted wine that will go well with light salads or as an apperitif. Fairly dry for a California central coast wine with a 14.1% abv, which is high when compared to versions from other regions, but well-incorpated here. A good first effort, using grapes from the Los Alamos Vineyard, that has at least a year of two of life left.

2008 Tiamo Pinot Grigio**
tiamoPG.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Veneto, Italy $10 Whole Foods 3/29/09
A pale, lemon-yellow colored wine with a bright nose of ripe apple and pear, hints of citrus, tropical fruit and a touch of minerality. The palate is light to medium-bodied with a ripe green fruitiness and a medium finish with flavors of lemon creme and hints of tropical fruit and minerals. A well-balanced, crisp wine with nice fruit flavors that will make a nice summer sipper or a good match for salads or pasta. At this price I would buy this wine again.

2007 Derby Wine Estates Pinot Gris***
derbyPG.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $18 @ The Winery 7/21/09
I first tried this wine at the LA Wine Fest and was so impressed I visited the winery to see if it was as good as I thought or just the heat. With grapes grown by the ocean in San Simeon, CA at the cool climate Derbyshire Vineyard, this is not your everyday Pinot Gris. The wine is a bright, pale gold with stong aromas of citrus and flowers with hints of honey and minerals. The palate is medium-bodied, round and intense with flavors of lime, pear, apricot, ripe apple and honey on a lengthy and surprisingly refreshing finish. Clean and well-balanced this wine will be too ripe for some, but I loved it. Was lovely with our dinner (Shrimp alla Checca with Parmesan and Ricotto Cheese) and lost nothing as it warmed. Though 14% abv the alcohol was never apparent. Made with 100% stainless steel. Wished I had bought two bottles before the first was gone. (188 cases)

2007 Ermacora Colli dei Orientali Pinot Grigio***
ermacoraPG.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Friuli, Italy $15 K&L Wines 4/12/10
A pale, straw-colored wine with bright aromatics of citrus, ripe apple, pear, melon and hints of vanilla and tropical fruit. The palate is light-medium-bodied and is creamy, yet still has refreshing acidity and a lengthy mineral and melon finish. The flavors are well-integrated and mirror the nose with lemon and apple taking center stage. This is an elegant wine that shows a more complex side to this usually mediocre variety. It was just as good cold as it was when it warmed. There's just something about the Colli region that makes this grape sing. Not only is this a lovely wine, but you can't beat the QPR. Buy it if you find it. I know I'll be getting more. (13.5% abv)

2007 King Estate Pinot Gris**
kingestatePG.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Willamette Valley, OR $15 The Wine House 3/10/09
A pale, lemon/green colored wine with bright aromatics of citrus and tropical fruits along with hints of flowers and a touch of minerality. All of those components come together on the palate which is light-bodied with brisk acidity and a crisp finish with notes of pear, lemon and minerals. A well-crafted wine with good flavors and more ripeness than its Italian counterparts. Would fare well as an aperitif or with light pasta dishes.

2007 O'Reilly's Pinot Gris**
OReillysPG.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Columbia Valley, OR $12 K&L Wines 8/7/10
One of the second label wines produced by renowned Washington winery Owen Roe that uses grapes that don't quite make the grade into the main label, though they come from the same vineyards. This wine is a very pale, straw color with a moderate nose of citrus and green fruit with notes of peach and minerals. The palate is light-bodied but lush with well-balanced acidity and flavors of lemon creme, apple, pear and minerals that became more developed as it warmed. The finish lingered quite long for a PG with notes of honeysuckle and peach. Was even better with our Chanterelle ristotto than alone. Really great QPR and definitely a wine I will be seeking out from vintage to vintage, along with Owen Roe's main brand. Can only imagine how good their single vineyard PG is.

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Grigio**
PG05SBC.jpg Region Price Tasted Date
Santa Barbara, CA $16 @ the Winery 10/13/07
The aroma of this lemon colored wine jumps out of the glass, being both floral and fruity in the same breath. The palate is bright and crisp with ripe tropical and stone fruit flavors, which are more like Alsation or Oregon versions than those from Italy. Though light-bodied, the mouthfeel is as full as the flavors. Not your run of the mill Pinot Grigio, but still not complex enough to get 3 stars.

2006 Perfecta Pinot Grigio**
perfectaPG.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Northern California $12 Silverlake Wine 4/20/09
I have to admit I had three reasons for buying this wine: 1 was drawn in by the label (I know a chick thing), it was a good price and it was really hot out so PG sounded good. Thankfully, the wine is good, so my impulse buy was not a waste. It's a pale, lemon-colored wine with citrus, minerals and green fruit on the lively nose. The palate is round and light-medium bodied with lemon, ripe apple and pear flavors along with notes of minerals, pineapple and peach on the crisp finish. A well-balanced wine that matched well with our spicy tomato, basil and goat cheese pasta. Was concerned by its age, but it's still lively and fresh. Would buy again.

2006 Terlato Vineyards Pinot Grigio**
terlatoPG.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Russian River Valley, CA $16 BevMo 1/19/09
A water-white, lemon-colored wine with bright aromatics of tropical and citrus fruits, blossom and a bit of spice. The palate is light-bodied and was fairly acidic at first, but became fruitier and softer as the wine warmed. The flavors were intense with lemon, melon, pear, vanilla and some toastiness on the moderate finish. Fairly complex for the varietal with well-balanced acidity and a pleasant mouthfeel; however, it still didn't make me yearn for a second bottle.

2006 Zenato Pinot Grigio Venezie IGT**
ZenatoPG.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Veneto, Italy $9 BevMo 2/17/09
A pale, lemon-yellow colored wine with a moderate nose of citrus, ripe apple, pear, hints of spice and a touch of minerality. The palate is medium-bodied with a round mouthfeel and a crisp finish with flavors of lemon, pear, apricot and notes of almond. Has more intensity of flavor than many Italian PGs and is pleasant if not very exciting. A good value and a nice food wine.

2005 Clay Station Pinot Grigio**
claystationPG.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Lodi, California $15 The Wine House 12/3/07
Very pale straw in color with a slight tinge of green. Floral aromas balanced with fresh aromas of crushed ginger and lemon-lime. The palate exhibits tart, bright flavors of ripe orange and tangerine with a hint of vanilla.

2005 Tangent Winery Pinot Gris, Paragon Vineyard**
tangentpb.jpg Region Price Tasted Date
Edna Valley, CA $17 @ the Winery 12/26/07
This wine shows vibrant minerality and traditional hints of a pine-resin character. Tropical and stone fruits jump from the glass, but are well balanced by a bit of lemon and a nice acid backbone.

2005 Viarte Pinot Grigio*
31789.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Fruili, Italy $13 The Wine House 10/1/07
A light-bodied, crisp wine with citrus and green fruit flavors on the nose and palate. It's what you expect and is a perfectly servicible version of PG, however, there are better bottles of Italian PG at this price point.

2001 Bedford Thompson Vineyards**
pinotgris_01.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $13 @ the Winery 11/8/07
For a 6-year-old white, this wine still shows considerable crispness with a clean nose of apple and pear notes. The body is light and fresh filled with flavors of citrus, apple and melon. Notes of bread and honey appeared as the wine got warmer. More interesting than many others of this varietal.

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**** Outstanding | *** Delicious | ** Enjoyable | * Drinkable
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