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90+ point rated wines under $20









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2008 Charles Smith "Kungfu Girl" Riesling**
kungfugirl.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Columbia Valley, WA $14 Private Event 6/26/09
An almost water white, straw-colored wine with bright aromatics of blossom, stone fruit and citrus with hints of minerality, which carry over onto the crisp and well-balanced palate. The refreshing acidity allows the flavors to linger and keeps the sweetness of the fruit from being cloying. This isn't an overly complex wine, but it is one that will keep you coming back for more. The wine actually delivers more quality than the name and label may lead you to believe. Smith is a winemaker at the forefront of WA wines for a reason. A perfect summer sipper for a great price.

2008 Willi Schaefer Estate Riesling***
09WilliSchaferRiesling.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Mosel-Saar-Ruwar, Germany $23 @DomaineLA 11/12/10
A pale, straw colored wine with an aromatic nose of green apple, pear, stone fruit, citrus and chalk along with a hint of petrol. The palate is light-bodied, bright, clean and refreshing with just the right amount of acidity to balance the residual sugar. The flavors reflect the nose with the apple, pear and peach taking center stage with notes of slate, petrol and ruby red grapefruit lingering on the fairly long finish. This is a complex and elegant wine that kept me returning to the glass for more. While technically a Kabinett, its' 9.5% abv says otherwise, though the acidity kept it in perfect balance and from being too ripe. At least for my palate. Great QPR and a wine that has me back on the Riesling wagon. Drink now before the petrol takes over and ruins it.

2007 Lengs & Cooter Riesling*
lengsRiesling.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Clare Valley, Australia $20 Private Event 5/2/09
A straw-colored, water-white wine with moderate aromas of minerals, petrol, citrus and flowers. The palate was light-bodied and fairly acidic with tart lemon-lime flavors dominating and notes of petrol and mineral on the crisp finish. I just don't understand the Aussie mentality when it comes to Riesling. I get that they want them to be fully dry, but for me, that takes away from the fruity joy of this grape. Rieslings need some RS to balance all the acid. In the case of this wine, it would have helped a lot.

2007 Dr. Loosen "Dr. L" Riesling**
drLRiesling.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Mosel-Saar-Ruwar, Germany $16 BevMo 3/28/09
Light and crisp, the aroma leaps out of the glass with floral, citrus and peach notes with a hint of cinammon. The nose follows through on the palate with a medium body, ripe fruit flavors and a long, spritzy finish that cleanses yet allows the flavors to linger. A lovely example that shows what riesling is all about.

2006 Dr. Heyden Oppenheimer Sacktrager Spätlese**
oppenheimerriesling.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Rheinhessen, Germany $16 K&L Wines 1/17/08
Floral and stone fruit aromas float from the glass. Ripe peach and mango flavors play off the rich texture and snappy acidity in this elegant white. Orange and mineral accents emerge on the finish. Nice juicy aftertaste hinting of ripe green apple and a touch of vanilla. The sweetness is nicely cut by the acidity, keeping the wine in balance, if still a bit brazen. Held it's own against my orange chicken.

OTHER RATINGS: WS: 91

2006 Leitz Rudesheimer Drachenstein Riesling**
leitz.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Rheingau, Germany $19 @ Mission Wines 4/19/08
A very pale, lemon-colored, light-bodied wine with a youthful nose of citrus, apple, peaches and minerals. Medium-dry on the palate showing intense, slightly sweet flavors of peach, citrus and ripe apple over minerals with enough acidity to balance the sweetness. The finish was long and with just the right amount of juicy fruit to make you ready for more. This is not very complex stuff, but a good value and a wine that would be great with spicy food.

2006 Koehler Winery Riesling**
koehlerriesling.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $14 @ dinner 8/24/08
Lemon yellow in color, this Riesling has a nose of lemons, grapefruit and honeysuckle. Off-dry, with notes of lemon merangue, grapefruit, Granny Smith apples, and a hint of petrol. Got better as it warmed, with the petrol notes almost completely disapating. Wasn't really sweet enough for our dessert, but held up well enough. More a food wine or a good aperitif. Could find European versions with more complexity for the same price, but not bad for a domestic attempt.

2006 Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett**
loosenerdener.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Mosel-Saar-Ruwar, Germany $20 The Wine House 6/2/09
A pale, almost water white, straw-colored wine with bright aromas of citrus, slate, stone fruit and hints of petrol. The palate is crisply acidic and light-bodied with the petrol hitting the tongue first then moving into lemon, lime and green apple flavors on the brisk, slightly fizzy finish. At 7.5% abv this wine was not as fruity as I anticipated, but had enough to counter the petrol/mineral notes, I don't always care for. Think I would have liked this more a year ago. Sort of all over the place right now, without any unity of flavor. Enjoyable, just not memorable or as well-crafted as one expects from Loosen.

2006 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett***
drloosen.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Mosel-Saar-Ruwar, Germany $23 The Wine House 9/10/07
Light and crisp, the aroma leaps out of the glass with floral, citrus and peach notes with a hint of cinammon. The nose follows through on the palate with a medium body, ripe fruit flavors and a long, spritzy finish that cleanses yet allows the flavors to linger. A lovely example that shows what riesling is all about.

2006 Pyramid Valley Riesling Lebecca Vineyard**
pyramidvvriesling.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Canterbury, New Zealand $22 Woodland Hills Wine Co. 7/26/08
Water white, gold-tinged wine with an overwhelming petrol, briny nose with some notes of pear, minerals and spice as the wine warmed. The palate is off-dry with the salty, petrol notes the most immediate flavor with the ripe green fruit, apricot and spice coming through on the mid-palate and lingering on the medium finish. Needed a bit more acid to balance the other flavors. Pleasant enough, but not very complex. Fans of petrol will like this, otherwise I'd skip, especially for the price.

2005 Fess Parker Winery**
05fessriesling.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $12 @ the Winery 9/29/07
An off-dry, medium-bodied wine that has a ripe nose of apples, melon and peaches that comes through wonderfully on the palate. A little more acidity would have knocked down the obvious sweetness and made a more elegant wine. However, if you like your whites packed with luscious fruit flavors you'll find this one hard to resist.

2005 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling*
leeuwin.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Margaret River, Australia $18 K&L Wines 8/29/08
Only one thing comes to mind when I think of this wine: petrol, petrol, petrol. It's light-bodied and racy, but even as it warmed there was no fruit left. Sea spray and gasoline with hints of citrus, but none that followed through to the palate. Not what I was expecting at all. Couldn't drink a glass of it. I know this style is prized by some, but don't think I will ever acquire a taste for wines likes this. Crisp and bitter in a white wine is not for me. Apparently, this is what the Aussies are going for, so buyer beware.




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