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90+ point rated wines under $20

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2006 Tangent Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Paragon Vineyard**
tangentpb.jpg Region Price Tasted Date
Edna Valley, CA $13 @ the Winery 12/26/07
The aroma of this wine jumps out of the glass in the pungent, green, citrusy style of this varietal's French and New Zealand versions. It highlights grapefruit, passion fruit, green apple and lemon, and has a good grassy structure of minerals and lively acidity. There's nothing subtle about this wine, showing true SB character from its' bracing start to lingering, peachy finish. A little too rambunctious to get 3 stars – it needs a touch more finesse and structure – but very close. Great wine for the price.

Re-tasted 5/20/09: This wine is going strong and is a bit rounder than previous tasting, showing more tropical fruit flavors on the nose and finish. Still crisp and refreshing.

2006 Tolosa Winery Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Paragon Vineyard**
tolosaSB.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Edna Valley, CA $14 @ the Winery 8/5/08
A pale gold-colored wine, this SB is made in a much richer New World style with a bright nose of citrus and tropical fruits with a mere hint of minerality. The texture is fairly soft for a wine made of this varietal, but there's enough acidity to keep the ripeness in check. The flavors of peach, melon, apple and lemon unite pleasantly, but not exactly memorably. Diehard SB fans beware. This wine will be far too round and ripe for you. No grass or gooseberry to be found.

2006 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc***
villamariacellar.jpg Region Price Tasted Date
Marlborough, New Zealand $17 Private Event 5/6/08
Everything you look for in an SB, this wine has great flavor, crisp acidity and well-balanced elegance. The regional characteristics of gooseberry, lychees, apple and citrus predominate the nose and palate with a richness of fruit and a bright, lingering finish that is hard to come by at this price. This is one of the most well-known brands in New Zealand for a reason. If I could have bought a bottle I would have.

2006 Wild Rock Wine Co. "The Infamous Goose" Sauvignon Blanc**
wildrockSB.jpg Region Price Tasted Date
Marlborough, New Zealand $13 The Wine House 4/14/08
This water white wine has almost no color but packs a real punch like most NZ SBs. The nose is pronounced with citrus and green fruit aromas, as well as grass, flowers and the typical gooseberries. The palate is intense with the same flavors found on the nose with enough ripeness to balance the acidity, making it fruity and refreshing on the finish. While certainly not as elegant as some, it's more zippy and enjoyable than many of the more bracingly classy versions. One to try to see what this region is all about without breaking the bank.

2005 Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc*
cakebread.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Napa Valley, CA $26 A Gift 7/6/08
I had high hopes for this wine given the reputation of the winery, but it really showed quite poorly. It was a pale, lemon-gold with barely discernible aromas of citrus and green fruit with a hint of butter. The palate was the same with very little acidity or obvious flavors. This tasted like a neutral white wine. If I didn't know it was SB I would not have guessed it was. The oak influence was all that was left. Definitely past it's peak, unless this is what the winery intended. It was drinkable and pleasant but not a good version of the varietal.

2005 Moraga Vineyards White***
moragawhite.jpg Region Price Purchased Date
Bel Air, CA $65 Beverly Hills Wine & Cheese 3/24/09
I bought this wine because it was made in Bel Air, which is smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles, which is crazy...and because I wasn't told the price until I paid for it. That being said, I expected a lot since I've never paid that much money (I got it for $50) for a bottle of white wine and rarely do for a red. I figured since it was SB I was pushing my luck waiting this long to drink it, but I was wrong. The first night it was fairly muted, but the second brought more traditional SB flavors to the nose and palate. Because they age the wine on its lees, it has a rounder more lush mouthfeel than most SBs, but still retains a nice bit of acidity. The nose was filled with melon, minerals, tropical fruit and hints of minerals and grass as it opened. The palate was light-medium-bodied, creamy with mostly tropical fruits and honey with hints of lemon, ripe apple and minerals on the lengthy finish. Made in a Bordeaux style, that took me awhile to appreciate. I won't be buying this again (the Man would kill me if he knew), but if you've got the cash, it's classy, well-crafted and doesn't disappoint. (RP: 92)

2005 Neveu "Clos du Bouffants" Sancerre***

Region Price Tasted Date
Loire Valley, France $24 The Wine House 10/18/07
A pale lemon, light bodied wine with clear SB aromas of gooseberry, pear and green fruits. The taste is one of bright acidity with a complex mixture of ripe citrus and tropical fruits combined with grassy notes that linger on the palate. Elegant and refreshing.

2005 Jean Reverdy Sancerre La Reine Blanche**
reverdysancerre.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Loire Valley, France $25 The Wine House 4/29/08
A pale, yellow green-colored wine with an aromatic nose filled with citrus, green fruit, grass and mineral nuances. On the palate the mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing with flavors of apple, pear and lime with notes of herbs and slate dominating the finish. Not as much fruit as I'd hoped. More earthy and smokey than versions from other regions.

2005 Vavasour Sauvignon Blanc***
vavasourSB.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Marlborough, New Zealand $19 Wine.com 5/24/07
This wine shows pronounced gooseberry, melon and citrus aromas with grassy notes. The palate is not as acidic as many SBs and exhibits the same fruit flavors as on the nose with an underlying flinty note. The finish is crisp and dry.

OTHER RATINGS: Wine Spectator: 91

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