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90+ point rated wines under $20
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2011 Maysara Winery Autees Pinot Blanc***
10MaysaraPB.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
McMinnville, OR $17 @ the Winery 4/28/12
This 100% pinot blanc was crafted from grapes from the family's estate vineyard called Momtazi. The wine is a pale, straw-yellow color with an bright and aromatic nose filled with citrus blossom, stone fruits and ripe apple with hints of grass and pineapple. The palate was light-bodied with crisp acidity and intense flavors of apple, pear, grapefruit, minerals and peach on the refreshing finish. This wine was just released so I expect it to settle down a bit, but it was still one of the most memorable PB's we tasted in Oregon. The vineyard is family-owned and biodynamically farmed and the wines are allowed to undergo native fermentation. There's a purity of fruit that shines through the steely core of this wine. Racked off the lees, to keep it fresh and crisp. At 12% abv, this is unlike many of the more creamy, medium-bodied versions I've encountered, which is perhaps why the fruit seemed so prominent. At $17 it's a steal for such an interesting wine. The family uses their origins in the naming of their wines. Autees is the ancient Persian Goddess that protects all the plants and trees on Earth. She is the protector of life and all things that grow. Just in case you were wondering.

2010 Erath Winery Quail Run Pinot Blanc**
10ErathPB.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Southern Oregon $22 @ the Winery 4/26/12
A pale, lemon-colored wine with a moderate nose of tropical fruit, citrus, melon and a hint of vanilla spice. The palate is medium-bodied with fairly low acidity and good balance. It underwent 100% barrel fermentation with sur lie aging in 40% new French oak for 8 months, which lends the wine a nice creaminess along with bright flavors of lemon zest, pineapple, green apple and melon with a note of almond and yeast on the medium-length finish. Has enough going on, but it never quite comes together. A pleasant enough wine, but not one that you'll remember in the morning. (13% abv)

2010 The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Blanc**
10EyriePB.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
McMinnville, OR $17 @ the Winery 4/28/12
A pale, watery, lemon-colored wine with youthful aromas of apple, melon, peach and minerals with hints of vanilla and bread. The palate was medium-bodied with supple, but well-balanced acidity and flavors that mirrored the nose with a long lemon-zest, peachy finish. A bright and refreshing wine that's got more going on than the aromas intially suggested and one that delivers for the money. (13.5% abv)

2010 Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Blanc***
10KenWrightPB.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Willamette Valley, OR $24 @ the Winery 4/27/12
A pale, lemon-yellow colored wine with a youthful and aromatic nose filled with citrus, green fruit, flowers, herbs and hints of fresh bread. I could have spent an hour smelling it. The palate is medium-bodied with fresh acidity and flavors of ripe pear, apple, lemon creme, minerals and a touch of grapefruit and yeast on the lengthy finish. The sources of this fruit are a two acre block of Meredith Mitchell Vineyard and a half acre block of Freedom Hill Vineyard. After pressing the fruit, the juice is fermented in neutral French barrels and remains in barrel with the original yeast and is not racked until bottling. Refreshing, elegant and complex, this was my favorite Pinot Blanc of the trip. This would be a more prominent varietal if they all tasted like this. Very Good QPR.

2009 Kabaj Winery Beli Pinot Blanc**
09KabajPB.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Goriska Brda, Slovenia $24 Blue Danube Wine Co. 5/2/12
A pale, yellow-colored wine with moderate aromas of pear, peach, flowers, minerals and a hint of yeasty biscuit. The grapes were hand harvested from the vineyards of Belo-Vhr, Grbunovo (average age of the vines is 30 years), de-stemmed, and fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel tank. The wine was then transferred to used, French barrique for malolactic fermentation, and 12 months on the lees. The palate is creamy with well-balanced acidity and more intense fruit – ripe apple, pear, peach – than the nose suggested though not in an overripe way. It finished pleasantly with hints of minerals and a tinge of yogurt. While not overly complex, this is a very well-crafted wine that showed better as it got warmer. Since I wasn't able to drink a full glass over time, I have a feeling it would have pleased me even more. If you've never had Slovenian wine, this is a good place to start. (13.5%)

2009 Noble Pig Winery Pinot Blanc**
09NoblePigPB.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
McMinnville, OR $18 @ the Winery 4/27/12
A pale, straw-yellow colored wine with moderate aromas of green fruit, citrus, flowers and minerals. The palate is medium-bodied with fresh acidity and lovely balance, creamy and elegant with bright flavors of apple and pear that mirror the nose along with grapefruit and lime on the moderate finish. A well-crafted wine that shows good varietal character and delivers Very Good QPR. Showed better with a bit of food. Just wish it had a bit more persistance on the finish and liveliness on the nose. A lovely first effort. (13.7% abv/278 cases)

2008 Donati Family Vineyards Pinot Blanc**
08DonatiPinotBlanc.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Paso Robles, CA $20 @ the Winery 12/15/11
A pale, straw-colored wine with a very aromatic nose of lemon creme, yellow apple, pear and minerals with hints of herbs and banana. The palate was medium-bodied and creamy, yet with bright acidity and a medium-length finish. The flavors reflect the nose with apple, melon, slate and notes of sweet spice taking center stage. Not a very complex wine, but it is very well-crafted and delivers a lot of flavor and balance for the price. Was equally good with food as without and was better when not too cold. All estate fruit from 40-year-old vines, stainless steel fermented and aged to preserve the bright fruit of the varietal. Though 3 years old, the wine was still quite fresh and lively. It could easily go another 6 months to a year. A wine I would buy again. Very good QPR. (14.5% abv)

2007 Venica & Venica Collio Pinot Bianco**
venicaPB.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy $18 Woodland Hills Wine Co. 1/9/09
A pale, clear, lemon-colored wine with bright aromatics of stone and tropical fruit, vanilla and blossom. The palate is light-bodied and well-balanced with bright acidity and intense flavors of pear, apricot, melon, vanilla with hints of lemon and banana on the finish. Well-crafted and fruity. A lengthier finish would have really made this a standout wine.

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc*
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Santa Barbara, CA $18 @ the Winery 11/24/07
Light-bodied, lean with not much aroma and green apple and citrus flavors. It's crisp and refreshing, but I didn't find a lot going on. Disappointing considering the quality of their other wines.

2006 Domaine Albert Mann Pinot Blanc**
albertmann.jpg Region Price Purchased Date
Alsace, France $17 @ Colorado Wine Co. 1/25/08
A nice, bright lemon color with aromas of ripe pear and hints of slate, which follow through nicely on the mildy acidic palate. The taste is round and fruity with notes of butter and kiwi on the finish. Pleasant and elegant.

2006 Tangent Winery Pinot Blanc**
tangentpb.jpg Region Price Tasted Date
Edna Valley, California $17 @ the Winery 12/26/07
Ripe pear, apple and pineapple are the foremost characteristics of this wine. It has good acid structure, but is still round, soft and full-bodied. More interesting then many I've tasted with a nice finish. Good, but not a wine I had to buy.

2005 Pierre Sparr Pinot Blanc Reserve**
pierresparr.jpg Region Price Tasted Date
Alsace, France $12 @ Larchmont Grill 1/10/07
Light-bodied with aromas of ripe appples and pears, which follow through on the palate. Gained more complexity as it warmed up. Elegant and refreshing with a hint of sweetness that's balanced by the acidity. A nice wine for the price and a good example of the varietal.

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