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90+ point rated wines under $20

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2010 Anselmi San Vincenzo***
10AnselmiSanVincenzo.jpg Region Price Purchased Date
Veneto, Italy $15 Private Tasting 5/16/11
Blend of 80% Garganega, 15% Chardonnay and 5% Soave Trebbiano
Roberto Anselmi is one of the top white wine producers from this region, but he's working outside the traditions and trying to make more modern wines. While mostly Garganega, this wine cannot be called Soave since it is blended with Chardonnay, a no-no in this DOC, and thus is labeled as a simple IGT wine. It is anything but. It's pale, lemon-straw color belies the intensely aromatic nose filled with flowers, grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple and sweet spice. The palate is light-bodied with refreshing acidity and bright flavors that deliver all the intensity the nose promises with a lingering grpaefruit spice finish. A perfect summer wine that would be great by the pool or paired with citrus salads or seafood. Might be too in-your-face for some, but it was my favorite white of the tasting. Great QPR. (12.7% abv)

2009 Anselmi Capitel Croce**
08AnselmiCC.jpg Region Price Purchased Date
Veneto, Italy $22 Private Tasting 5/16/11
Though not able to call this Soave, the wine is 100% Garganega from within the Soave DOC, winemaker Roberto Anselmi just chooses to work outside the stringent structure of the DOC laws. The wine is a bright, lemon-gold color with a moderately aromatic nose of citrus, green fruit and flowers with notes of melon and yeast. The palate is medium-bodied with a creamy texture of ripe fruits that reflect the nose along with hints of sweet spice on the refreshing, smooth finish. The wine was aged for 8 months on its lees in used French barriques. It has lovely balance, clarity and a lushness that's not overly fruity, but gives the flavors more persistance. More interesting than most Soaves. Would be a better food wine, especially with spicy dishes, than an aperitif. I don't think it can age for 15 years as the winery claims, but it's still quite young and vibrant and could certainly be fine for another few years. Though not sure wine you would wait. Very Good QPR. (13% abv)

2008 Ermacora Friulano**
08ErmacoraFriulano.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy $15 K&L Wines 3/16/11
A water-white, lemon-colored wine with a lovely nose of flowers, citrus and green fruit with hints of herbs and minerals. The palate is light-medium-bodied with bright acidity and flavors of lemon, lime, pear, apple and notes of petrol and minerals on the medium-length finish. Well-balanced and elegant, this is a wine that broadens in complexity as it warms up, though is nothing that will be remembered. It held up well over several days in the bottle, so it has some time, but there's really no reason to wait. If more white wines in this price range were this well-crafted I think more people would jump on the white wine wagon. (13.5% abv)

2008 Carpineto Dogajolo Bianco**
carpinetobianco.jpg Region Price Purchased Date
Tuscany, Italy $14 Sample 4/4/10
Blend of 40% Chardonnay, 30% Grechetto, 27% Sauvignon Blanc & 3% Incrocio Manzoni – A water-white, lemon-colored wine with strong aromas of flowers, citrus and green fruit. Was expecting some grassiness from SB, but none of that came through on the nose or palate. The wine is light-bodied with bright acidity, though well-balanced and elegant with flavors of green apple, pear and lemon creme with notes of minerals and melon on the fairly long finish. None of the varietals poked out, delivering a truly harmonious, fruity, yet refreshing blend. Went perfectly with our Lobster and Corn Risotto with Tarragon. More than just a pretty label this delivers pretty good QPR. It's not a wine I'll overtly remember, but it is one that was quite enjoyable to quaff.

2008 Zaccagnini Tufo Casa Lisa Verdicchio**
TufoCasaLisaVerdicchio.jpg Region Price Purchased Date
Marche, Italy $14 Freeport Wine & Cheese 9/22/10
A water-white, straw-colored wine with bright aromas of citrus and green fruit along with hints of flowers and minerals. The palate is light-bodied, crisp and well-balanced with flavors of lemon, lime and apple with notes of apricot and a hint of almonds on the medium-length finish. An elegant and refreshing wine that was even better with our salad. A nice balance of fruit and acidity. Will be seeking out more Verdicchios.

2007 Ca'Montebello Pinot Nero Bianco*
camontebelloPNB.jpg Region Price Tasted Date
Lombardy, Italy $15 Silverlake Wine 1/31/10
Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes vinified into a white wine, this is a pale yellow-colored wine with a tinge of pink. The aromas are of citrus and green apple along with hints of yeast from being fermented on the lees. The palate is light-bodied with bright acidity and flavors that reflect those found on the nose. The finish is crisp and quick with the bready component and lemon taking precedent. Enjoyed the wine more with the Faro Vegetable salad it was paired with than by itself. Just too dry for my tastes, but will be appreciated by those who hate to taste fruit in their wine.

2007 Pra Soave Classico**
AV0892206F.jpg Region Price Purchased Date
Veneto, Italy $14 The Wine House 7/31/09
Made from 100% Garganega, this pale,lemon-green colored wine exhibits floral, citrus and crisp green apple aromas. The palate is round and light to medium-bodied with ripe apple, lemon, pear and melon with a touch of minerality on the bright finish. Clean and well-balanced, with good acidity. Without food it was like biting into a green apple. Held up well to our spinach and asiago pasta. Not a complex wine, but it's classy and flavorful and it was refreshing enough to keep me going back to the glass for more. It's a wine that rarely disappoints and delivers something different from the usual varietals.

2006 Azienda Agricola Grillo Colli Orientali Tocai Friulano**
GrilloTocaiFriulano.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy $14 The Wine House 6/25/09
A pale, bright lemon-colored wine with subtle aromas of citrus and green fruit with hints of minerals and almonds. The palate is light-bodied and well-balanced with a refeshing acidity that awakens the tastebuds and delivers lemon, apple, melon and pear flavors along with a creamy, nutty finish. This wine definitely showed better when it was warmer, so don't serve it too cold. Very elegant and subtle. A white wine that's meant to be sipped, not slurped. Good QPR. Would have been great with a bit more persistance of flavor. Producer has been around since the early 70s and is commmitted to using grapes indigenous to their region. Wines to seek out if you want to explore out of your comfort zone.

2006 Bucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico**
bucci.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Marches, Italy $18 Woodland Hills Wine 8/3/08
This used to be one of my favorite Italian whites until they started getting great reviews and doubled the price. They seem to have come to their senses and are now back under $20, which is where a wine like this belongs. It's not as crisp as it used to be, clearly using some oak and letting the wine go through malo to give it a bigger mouthfeel. The wine is a pale golden color with a moderate bouquet of citrus, minerals, almonds and green fruit, which carry over to the well-balanced palate with notes of pear, apple and lemon dominating. An elegant, well-crafted wine, but it won't knock your socks off. Certainly one of the best wines made from this varietal.

2006 Inama Soave Classico**
InamaSoave2006.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Veneto, Italy $12 The Wine House 8/22/08
A bright, pale lemon-colored wine that showed much better as it warmed. The initial nose was subdued with citrus and mineral notes that turned into floral, stone fruit, pear and sweet spice. The palate went through a similar transformation with the citrus and acidity dominating when cold, smoothing out into rounder, riper peach, pear, apple and minerals on the lengthy finish as it came to room temperature. Light-bodied, but with good flavor and balance. A consistently classy wine from year to year. Shows how enjoyable Soave can be. It doesn't get much better for the price.

2006 Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio/Verduzzo**
masi.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy $16 @ Dinner 6/12/08
This wine is a straw-yellow color with a floral and fruity (apple, pear, bananas) nose. On the palate, flavors of citrus and green fruit dominate. Medium bodied with a slight nutty finish. A unique wine with a distinct personality that balances the clean, white fruit and citric acidity of the Pinot Grigio with the complex, buttery, tropical fruit notes of the Verduzzo. More flavor and weight than most PGs, which makes it standout from the pack.

2006 Nova Serra Greco di Tufo**
nova.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Campania, Italy $16 @ Wine House 3/24/08
Made from the Greco grape this wine is almost water white with a straw-yellow colour. The nose is bright and prominent with stone and green fruit flavors and notes of cut hay and minerals. The mouthfeel is light yet flavorful filled with hints of apple, pear and peach. The finish is crisp and lively with notes of almond and minerals. A classic Italian wine that has nice complexity and elegance for the price.

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