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90+ point rated wines under $20

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2006 Domaine Daniel et Denis Alary La Gerbaude**
alaryCDR.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Rhone Valley, France $13 Woodland Hills Wine Co. 2/18/09
A deep ruby colored wine that's a blend of Syrah, Grenace and Carignan. The nose was filled with red fruit, earth and sweet spice with hints of tea leafs. The palate is medium-bodied with good balance, low tannins and a nice mixture of cherry and strawberry flavors with notes of garrigue, sweet spice and cigar wrapper on the finish. A good solid wine that shows why CDRs are great everyday values.

2006 Domaine de La Mordoree Cotes-du-Rhone*
mordoree.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Rhone Valley, France $14 The Wine House 9/10/07
Am usually a fan of their wines, but this one may just have been tasted too soon. It's dark ruby color belies the medium palate which was filled with vegetal fruit and smokey almost tar-like flavors. This is a very earthy wine with a medium finish that wasn't quite fully integrated. Could show better in 6mos or with an hour of aeration.

2006 Domaine de la Janesse Cotes-du-Rhone**
janesse.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Rhone Valley, France $13 The Wine House 10/1/07
A medium-bodied, ruby-colored wine with a spicy, vegetal nose with hints of vanilla. The mouthfeel is soft, the palate filled with red fruits, white pepper and a hint of chocolate. A very intesting wine for the price and a good example of the region. Would have received 3 stars if the finish was longer and the mid-palate a bit fuller.

2006 Edward Sellers Vineyards Vertigo**
EdVertigo06.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $30 @ the Winery 4/3/09
A blend of 70% Grenache, 18% Mourvedre and 12% Syrah.
A dark, ruby-colored wine with deep plum and red berry aromas with notes of smoke, earth and spice. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied and filled with ripe flavors of cherry and strawberry with some sweet spice, plum, earth and minerality showing in the midpalate and on the finish. The wine is still showing some heat (15.6% abv) on the palate, which subsided with food and time in the glass. Definitely, needs some additional time in the bottle to integrate the alcohol and acids. A well-constructed wine, but it's not currently living up to its' price tag.

2006 Halter Ranch Pioneer House Red**
06HalterPioneerRed.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $24 @ the Winery 1/14/11
A blend of 35% Counoise, 27% Mourvedre, 15% Syrah, 15% Grenache, 6% Viognier and 2% Cinsault. – A pale, ruby/garnet colored wine with an aromatic nose of red berries, herbs, earth and sweet spice. The palate is light-medium-bodied, bright and fruity with moderate acidity and a bit of heat on the medium-length finish. The dominant flavors are of baked cherry, raspberry, earth and meat ending with notes of sweet spice and mocha. The flavors were well-integrated and interesting, the wine is just lacking a bit of finesse and more of a finish. Popped and poured, the alcohol (14.8% abv) became more and more apparent as the night went on. It's still quite enjoyable, but with only 15% Syrah in the mix, this wine doesn't have the structure/tannins to age much longer. A well-made wine for the price.

2006 Mas Foulaquier l'Orphee Pic Saint-Loup**
foulaquier.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Languedoc, France $20 @ Mission Wines 4/18/08
A deep purple/ruby-colored wine with a big nose full of red fruit (strawberry and cherry), sweet spice and pepper aromas. The palate was well-balanced and filled with the same flavors as the nose with some additional notes of earth and smoke. The finish was soft and dusty, but not especially long. A nice rustic blend of Syrah and Grenache that is ready to drink.

2006 Morgan Winery Cotes du Crow's**
morgancotes.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Monterey, CA $20 Party 2/1/09
A medium-bodied, ruby-colored wine with a nice nose of red and black fruits, savory spice and initially more than a hint of barnyard, which eventually settled into notes of earth and leather. Palate was round and smooth right out of the gate with blueberry and blackberry fruits, plum, pepper and more earth and some oak on the decent finish. The Syrah (55%) domianted the palate, the Grenache (45%) the nose. Very French Cotes du Rhone in style – showing off its cool weather locale – though still with enough fruit to balance the gamey aspects. A real surprise. Others in the group were initially put off by the "stinky" bouquet, but liked the wine once it settled down. For this price, I'll be on the lookout to get myself a bottle. Not a complex wine, but interesting and well-crafted.

2006 Tercero Wines Cuvée Christie***
tercero2006CuveeChristie.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $28 @ the Winery 1/15/10
A blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre.
A medium, ruby-colored wine with an aromatic nose of red berries, cherry, sweet spice and violets. Popped and poured, the palate was round and medium-bodied with bright acidity to counterbalance the ripeness of the fruit. The flavors were well-integrated and featured blackberry, raspberry, tobacco and minerals along with a hint of vanilla on the lush, lingering finish. The structure of the Syrah and earthiness of the Mourvedre, tame the overt fruitiness of the Grenache, creating a delicious, deeply flavored wine. There's a bit of heat on the finish – it comes in at 15.1% abv – but it blew off as it opened up. 06 was one of winemaker Larry Tercero's first vintages and I'm excited to see how his wines progress. This vintage should age nicely for another year or two, but it's ready to go now. Will be holding onto my second bottle to see how it evolves. This blend is named after his wife. Wish my husband made a wine like this for me.

2006 Terry Hoage Vineyards 5 Blocks Cuvée***
06TH5Blocks.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $45 @ the Winery 3/20/11
A blend of 57% Syrah, 29% Grenache, 7% Mourvedre and 7% Cinsault
A deep, almost opaque, ruby/purple colored wine with a moderate nose of black berry fruits, violets, wet leaves, spice and hints of licorice and smoke. The palate is full-bodied and lush with fine tannins and well-balanced acidity along with flavors of black raspberry, blackberry and earth, as well as notes of mocha and cedar on the lengthy finish. This is a powerful blend that really shows how good Paso fruit can be, but it is moving past it's peak. The fruit is beginning to fade and there's a bit of heat poking thru. If you've got any, drink up. (15.5% abv)

2006 Terry Hoage Vineyards "The 46" Grenache-Syrah**
06Thoage46.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $38 @ the Winery 2/20/11
A blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah
A pale, garnet-colored wine with a bright, ripe nose of red berries, herbs and earth with hints of smoke and spice. The palate was medium-bodied with bright acidity and round fruit flavors of blackberry, black cherry and raspberry with notes of earth, licorice and leather on the medium-length finish. While this is well-integrated and very pleasant, it's not as complex as the nose suggested and is showing a bit of heat along the palate. Not a surprise for a wine that's half grenache and has an abv of 15.4%. Would drink sooner rather than later. Wish I had drunk it last year. At this stage not really worth it's price, but was better when I bought it two years ago at the tasting room.

2006 Vines on the Marycrest Heart of Glass***
VinesMaryHeartGlass.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $22 @ the Winery 8/2/09
A blend of 72% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 13% Syrah. A light, ruby-colored wine with bright aromas of cherry, candy and strawberry with notes of sweet spice and earth. The palate is light-medium bodied with no noticeable tannins and good acidity to counter the ripe and round red fruit flavors found on the nose. The finish was lengthy with notes of vanilla, smoke and candy apple and in the first half hour noticeable alcohol. Not a surprise considering the wine comes in at a hefty 15.7% abv. Once it aired a bit it gained some weight in the glass and the heat disappeared leaving lush fruit and spice behind. The grenache definitely dominates this blend, though the S & M certainly give it more depth of flavor and structure than it would have had on its own. A wine we popped and poured with no regrets...except that we don't have more. Grapes were sourced from local Paso growers. Will eventually be estate grown.

2006 Vines on the Marycrest Round Midnight***
06VinesMRoundMidnight.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $28 @ the Winery 8/15/10
A blend of 44% Syrah, 28% Grenache and 28% Mourvedre. A medium, ruby-colored wine with a ripe nose of black fruit, earth, black cherry and hints of sweet spice and garrigue. The palate is round and medium-bodied with just the right amount of acidity to keep the fruit in check. The flavors were well-integrated and mirrored the nose with additional notes of pepper, vanilla and leather on the lingering finish. There was a bit of heat to start, but it blew off quickly, leaving a smooth, intensely fruity wine that was actually even better with food. Popped and poured, this wine is in its wheelhouse right now. Could go another 6mos to a year, but there's no reason to wait. Won't be getting any better. (14.9% abv)

2005 Adelaida Cellars Schoolhouse Crush Rhone Blend**
schoolhousecrush.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $15 @ the Winery 3/7/09
A blend of 42% Mourvedre, 31% Syrah, 15% Counoise, 8% Cinsault and 8% Grenache. A medium, ruby-colored wine with savory aromatics of red fruit, game, spice and herbs. The palate was medium-bodied and immediately approachable with nice balance between the ripe tannins and mild acidity. Round, but not overly ripe with flavors of cranberry, cherry, game and earth with hints of herbs and mocha on the smooth finish. Fairly complex for the price and ready to drink now. Had it with a variety of cheeses and it held its own nicely with all of the different flavors. Almost gave it 3 stars. A lovely wine for everyday drinking. Want more.

2005 Alexander Valley Vineyards Alexander School Alluvia***
avvAlluvia.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Sonoma, CA $35 @ the Winery 9/11/10
Blend of 32% Grenache, 32% Mourvedre, 32% Cinsault and 4% Syrah
A medium, ruby-colored wine with ripe aromas of red berries, earth and herbs along with hints of leather and pepper. The palate is light-to-medium bodied, well-balanced with bright acidity to temper the lush fruit. The flavors are of strawberry, cherry, earth and minerals with leather, pepper and vanilla notes on the lengthy finish. It was aged for 16 months is neutral French barrels and delivers a round and vibrant wine that tastes lusher than its' 14% abv. Popped and poured, this wine is still bright and lively with at least a year left to go in the bottle, but I'm glad I didn't wait. In the zone.

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