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90+ point rated wines under $20













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2011 Brooks Winery Pinot Noir Rosé***
11BrooksRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Willamette Valley, OR $22 @ the Winery 4/26/12
The wine was made with 100% pinot grapes, 50% each from Momtazi Vineyard and Temperance Hill Vineyard. It is a pale, salmon color with bright aromatics featuring strong notes of red berries, grapefruit, herbs and melon. The palate is dry, crisp and light-bodied with lovely balance between fruit and acidity, which is medium-high. The flavors were intense yet delicate dominated by strawberry, cranberry and grapefruit with a creamy, lengthy, melon-mineral finish. While certainly not cheap, this wine delivers for the price. I am not usually a big fan of Pinot rosé's but this one kept me going back to the glass for more. And at a mere 11.9% abv you can enjoy drinking it all day long. (270 cases)

2011 Domaine Drouhin Edition Pinot Noir Rosé**
11DDrouhinRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Willamette Valley, OR $20 @ the Winery 4/25/12
A pale, salmon-colored wine with bright aromatics of flowers, stone fruit, grapefruit and herbs. The palate was light-bodied with crisp acidity and less intensity of fruit than I expected from the nose. The flavors were of watermelon, strawberry, cranberry, minerals and a hint of pepper on the slightly tart, moderately long finish. The grapes were handpicked from all estate fruit, left on the skins for 12 hours then moved to stainless steel tank for wild-yeast fermentation. Made in a very French style, with great elegance, but just not enough fruit for me. Those who like their rosés bone dry will love this wine. (575 cases)

2011 Domaine Sainte Lucie MiP Rosé***
10MIPRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Provence, France $18 domaineLA 5/2/12
A blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah.
A pale, apricot colored wine with a vibrantly aromatic nose of flowers, grapefruit, stone fruit and ripe berries along with hints of herbs and earth. The palate is light-bodied with fresh acidity to counter-balance the flavors of cherry, strawberry, peach, grapefruit and fresh herbs. The finish is refreshing and long with notes of minerals and strawberry creme. Very similar to the 2010 vintage with perhaps a tinge more tartness and acidity, but that's what makes it so ephemeral and appealing. Intense yet light, it's a lovely rosé that should please almost every palate, even those people who claim to hate rosés. Great QPR considering the quality. My favorite rosé of 20111, hands down. (12.5%)

2011 Bodegas Ochoa Garnache Rosado**
11OchoaRose.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Navarra, Spain $10 Private Event 5/2/12
A pale, watermelon-pink colored wine with bright aromas of raspberry, strawberry, herbs and citrus. The palate is light-bodied with good balance between the ripe fruit flavors (same as those found on the nose) and the wine's refreshing acidity. The finish was moderate with notes of tangerine and minerals. A intersting wine for the price that will go down quite easily on a hot summer day.

2010 Brundlmayer Zweigelt Rosé***
10BrundlemeyerRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Niederosterreich, Austria $18 Private Event 5/2/11
A pale, onion skin colored rosé with a highly aromatic nose of ripe strawberries, cherries and raspberry with hints of herbs, spice and stone fruit. The palate is light-bodied with medium acidity, intense, yet elegant fruit flavors that are well-balanced with the earthy, mineral notes and a lush, refreshing, lingering finish. My first rosé from Zweigelt and it was one of my favorite wines of the event. Deeply complex yet still delicate, the bulk of this wine is from grapes that are picked a bit early to retain their acidity and then treated like a white wine (gently pressed with no skin contact). Then a bit of free run juice from their highest quality grapes that go into their main Zweigelt bottling are added in before allowing some of the wine to undergo malolactic fermentation, which adds a creaminess to the mid-palate and keeps the acidity in check. You can taste the care that went into this bottle and I only wish that could have brought one home with me. Very Good QPR. If you can find it, buy it. (11.7% abv)

2010 Charles & Charles Syrah Rosé**
10CharlesRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Columbia Valley, WA $12 Whole Foods 7/1/11
A 100% Syrah rosé made by Charles Smith (of K Vintners fame) in collaboration with Charles Bieler. The vintage difference is immediately apparent from the pale watermelon, color of this wine compared to the deep, hot raspberry pink of the 09. The nose was fairly aromatic with mostly ripe berries, herbs, cherry vanilla, melon and a hint of peach. The palate is light-bodied, crisp and refreshing with a hint of spritziness and some minerality along with the same fruit flavors promised by the nose. The finish was medium-length with notes of watermelon candy. Much more restrained and well-balanced than last year's though it still delivers good intensity. Was even better the second day which is uncommon for rosé. Loved the lower abv (13%) as well. Not extremely complex, but it has enough going on to keep your interest. Great QPR for a domestic rosé and one that definitely gives the French versions in this price point a run for their money. Will be getting more.

2010 L'Aventure Winery Cotes-a-Cote Rosé****
10LAventureRose.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Paso Robles, CA $25 @ the Winery 3/15/08
A blend of 64% Mourvedre, 26% Grenache and 10% Syrah
A very pale, salmon-colored wine with a vibrant and aromatic nose of red grapefruit, watermelon, herbs, roses and hints of strawberry and vanilla. A wine I could smell all night, it's that enticing. The palate is light-bodied with crisp acidity and flavors of melon, strawberries, cranberry and citrus with a mineral, mouthwatering, vanilla-tinged, lengthy finish. An intense and elegant wine that shows great restraint and balance considering it comes from Paso. Reminds me of versions from Provence and Bandol, with a bit more alcohol (14.3%) of course. It would be almost too acidic if not for the ripe fruit flavors, which leave your mouth watering for more. A wine they make depending on vintage. The last version was 2007. Drink it now before all the lovely fruit dies away.

2010 Domaine Sainte Lucie MiP Rosé***
10MIPRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Provence, France $18 domaineLA 6/24/11
A blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah.
A pale, apricot colored wine with a vibrantly aromatic nose of flowers, grapefruit, stone fruit, melon and ripe berries along with hints of herbs and earth. The palate is light-bodied with crisp acidity to counter-balance the flavors of berries, watermelon, grapefruit, fresh herbs and minerals. The finish is refreshing and long with notes of canteloupe and strawberry creme. A delicate yet intense wine that kept me rushing back to the glass for more. Despite it's light color, there's nothing boring or weak about this wine. It's everything I love about rosé and is really turning me into a lover of Provencal wines. I only wish I had more. Great QPR. (12.5%)

2010 Don Jacobo Rosado**
10DonJacoboRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Rioja, Spain $10 Private Event 5/16/11
A 50/50 blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha
A clear, bright watermelon colored wine with a moderately aromatic nose of ripe red and tropical fruits, earth and a hint of spice. The palate is medium-bodied with well-balanced, refreshing acidity and fruit flavors of strawberry, cherry and melon with notes of chalk and white pepper on the lengthy finish. It's a great blend of grapes with the grenache delivering the ripe fruit and the tempranillo adding depth through earth and spice notes. One of my favorite wines of the tasting. This winery was established in 1898 (with a "new" facility built in 1974) and is still in the same family today, which is pretty impressive. A great wine for those who don't like overly fruity rosés, though one that still has interesting flavors. Very good QPR. (13.5% abv)

2010 Kogl "Mea Culpa" Pinot Noir Rosé**
10KoglRose.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Podravje, Slovenia $23 @Pourtal 6/30/11
A bright, watermelon pink colored wine with a very aromatic nose of citrus, strawberry, raspberry, melon and a hint of sweet spice. The palate is light-medium-bodied with well-balanced acidity and a vanilla-tinged lengthy finish. While clean and refreshing with a lovely mix of ripe fruit and earthy spice, it has a touch of creaminess from a touch of oak ageing (20 percent in used barrels). The pinot noir grapes are all estate grown, specifically to make sparkling wine and this ros&ecute;, which really shows in the elegance of the finished product. Owned by the Cvetko family since the 90s, there is historical evidence that grapes have been grown in this spot, a hillside outside the town of Velika Nedelja, since 1542. Slovenians tend to drink all their home country juice, so this may be hard to find, but give it a chance if you do. It's a very well-crafted, interesting wine, if a bit pricey for a rosé but they don't make a lot so you're clearly paying for a bit of rarity as well. (11.5% abv)

2009 Ampelos Cellars Rosé of Syrah**
09AmpelosRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $16 @ the Winery 4/14/11
Blend of 91% Syrah and 9% Riesling
An intense, watermelon-colored wine with a bright nose of red berries, melon, apple, stone fruit and ginger with a hint of wet stone. The palate is medium-bodied with well-balanced acidity and ripe flavors of strawberry creme, cherry, apple, apricot, watermelon and minerals on the lingering, fruity finish. While not the most complex rosé out there, it's quite enjoyable and refreshing for the price. It's unusual, to say the least, to blend Riesling with Syrah, but it works quite well here, giving the red fruit lift. The wine was stainless steel fermented and aged and did not go through malolactic fermention in an effort to retain the bright fruitiness. Very Good QPR and a wine that would go well with Mexican food or by the pool. Ampelos is quickly becoming one of my fav SB producers. Looking forward to the new vintage. (14.1% abv)

2009 Cass Winery Oasis Rosé**
Cass09Rose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $22 @ the Winery 3/22/10
A blend of grenache and syrah, this medium, salmon/pink-colored wine has a bright nose of red berries, watermelon and citrus. The palate is light-bodied and smooth filled with flavors of strawberry, watermelon, sweet spice and tropical fruit on the medium-length finish. This year's version of Oasis is a bit more acidic and less alcoholic (the wine is off-dry) than the 08 which was a giant fruit bomb. Granted 15.1% abv is still high, but this version is more well-balanced, the acidity countering the overt fruitiness. This is not a wine for those who like their rosé's dry and subtle, but it's one that will go down easily on a warm summer day for the rest of us.

2009 Charles & Charles Syrah Rosé**
charles2Rose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Columbia Valley, WA $9 Woodland Hills Wine Co. 6/25/10
A 100% Syrah rosé made by Charles Smith (of K Vintners fame) in collaboration with Charles Bieler from grapes from the Talcott Vineyard in the Columbia Valley. A vibrant, watermelon color with a bright nose of red berries, watermelon, herbs and sweet spice. The palate is round, yet with great acidity to counter the upfront ripe flavors of strawberry, raspberry and watermelon candy with notes of minerals and peach on the lush and lengthy finish. Drier than expected from the nose and more expressive when a bit warmer. This wine is right up my alley and you'll be hard pressed to find a better rosé at this price. What it lacks in complexity it makes up for in intensity and at 14.1% abv you don't have to worry too much when it goes down quick.

2009 Chateau de Trinquevedel Traditional Cuvée Rosé***
ChTrinquevedelTavel.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Tavel, France $15 The Wine House 8/25/10
A blend of Grenache (44%), Cinsault (28%), Clairette (15%) and the balance a mixture of Syrah, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc and Mourvedre.
A bright, watermelon-colored wine with a subtle nose of red berries, minerals and roses. The palate was light bodied and crisp with a brisk acidty that tempers the ripe raspberry, strawberry and melon flavors. The finish is strong with notes of herbs, minerals and apricot. An elegant and well-balanced wine that is more subtle than its intense color suggests. Was equally good with and without food. At 13.5% abv I could drink this all day long. On the pricey side for French rosé's but worth the extra pennies.




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