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90+ point rated wines under $20

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NV Mitchella Vineyards Red Table Wine**
mitchellared.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $18 @ the Winery 6/18/08
Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from 2004 and 2003 vintages
A medium-bodied ruby-colored wine with bright aromas of ripe berries, herbs, sweet spice and vanilla. With medium tannins and low acidity, this was sort of soft from the start though initially predominated by the Cab with blackberry, cherry and a hint of herbs. Then as it opened the flavors became more brambly with bluberry and sweet spice on the lengthy finish. A bit more time is needed to marry the flavors. Nothing overly complex but it was quite enjoyable, especially for the price.

2004 Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses**
laterrasses.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Priorat, Spain $28 Wine Discount Center 8/18/08
Blend of 40% Garnacha, 40% Carinena and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
Even though we decanted this wine the initial aromas were still quite closed with blackberry, dark cherry fruit and hints of spice.¬ÝThe wine is a deep ruby purple with a body to match with more black fruit, oak and mineral notes. The length was fairly long with a bit of heat and notes of herbs and cherry liquer on the finish. More one note and rustic than I expected. I thought it would be more complex, but it was mostly a big, black, tannic, fruit bomb. This vintage is supposed to be a good one so maybe with a few more years in the bottle to settle down, this wine will show more.

2004 Castell del Remei Gotim Bru*
gottimbru.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Costers del Segre, Spain $12 The Wine House 8/5/08
Blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Grenache
Medium-body, fairly deep, ruby-colored wine with a subtle nose of cherries, dark berries, oak and mocha with a bit of heat as well. Though four years old, it's still not very integrated with oak, tannin and cherry predominating the palate with some plum, mocha and spice notes. The mid-palate is pretty thin and the finish quick. Might be better with food. Not a bad wine, but I've had much better from Spain for the price. Merely one-dimensional and not as interesting as expected.

2004 Ranchita Canyon Serenata**
ranchita.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $24 @ the Winery 6/24/08
Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Petit Sirah
This medium-colored ruby wine has a bright nose filled with ripe fruit, sweet spice and vanilla cookie. The palate is well-balanced with the sangiovese giving lift to the dark fruit with notes of plum and black cherry and the Petit giving the blend a ton of earthiness and spice. The finish is fairly long and lingering with oak and vanilla prevailing. It's not overly complex, but is a well-crafted wine that delivers a pleasant experience.

2004 Stolpman Vineyards Poetry in Red***
Poetryinred.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $22 @ the Winery 2/13/08
Blend of Syrah, Sangiovese and Grenache
Lovely aromas of plum, raspberry, and tobacco on the nose. Deep ruby with a medium body and crisp acidity that smooths out as the wine opens. Bright red fruit flavors with black cherry, smoke and vanilla on the medium length finish. Definitely one to decant at least an hour before drinking. Paired quite well with our Beef and Sun-Dried Tomato stew. A lot of wine for the price.

2004 Veramonte Primus**
primus.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Casablanca Valley, Chile $18 Wine.com 1/25/08
Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère
A deep ruby wine with aromas ripe black fruits. The palate begins soft and supple with black cherry, fig and blueberry flavors with hints of smoke and chocolate. The cab gives it backbone and structure, which lead to a nice, big finish. Ready to drink right out of the bottle. Might get better with some more time, but certainly doesn't need it. Not complex enough for another star, but still quite enjoyable.

2003 Rio Seco Grand Slam**
riosecoGS02.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $18 @ the Winery 3/25/09
Blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Syrah
A deep ruby wine with aromas of blackberry, cherry, earth, plum and licorice that follow through on the medium-bodied, ripe and soft palate. The finish was dusty with notes of earth and blackcurrant leaf. The licorice was fairly dominant the first night, which is a trend in their 03 vintage, but it was much more integrated the second, showing more unity of flavors and giving a more pleasant experience. A fruity and flavorful wine that's a bit rustic, but still a good value. Has some life left, but at this price there's really no reason to wait.

2003 Brian Benson Shop Truck Red**
shoptruck.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $25 @ the Winery 8/30/08
Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel
This full-bodied, ruby colored wine has a nose of ripe red berries, plum, herbs and vanilla. The palate was a bit acidic with fruit flavors of blackberry, sweet spice, mint and cherry cola on the slightly tannic finish. A bit all over the place in the beginning, it did settle down and smooth out over the night, but despite a lot of ripe fruit flavors, there's not a lot of complexity or balance. Enjoyable if you like fruit bombs.

2002 Rio Seco Grand Slam**
riosecoGS02.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $18 @ the Winery 5/21/08
Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah
A deep ruby wine with aromas of blackberry, cherry, herbs and sweet spice that follow through on the medium-bodied, ripe and soft palate. Additional notes of cedar and dried fruit, along with a slight stewed componant on the finish. A decent blend that's definitely hit its' peak, but is still enjoyable.

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