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90+ point rated wines under $20

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2009 Domaine du Gros Noré Bandol Rosé****
GrosNoreRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Provence, France $26 K&L Wine 7/24/10
Blend of 40% Mourvèdre, 20% Grenache, 40% Cinsault.
A very pale, coral-colored wine with an aromatic nose filled with red berries, stone fruit, herbs, spice and wet stones. The palate is light-bodied, lush and elegant, yet intensely flavored with flavors of strawberry, raspberry, herbs, minerals and a hint of pepper on the lengthy finish. A wine that makes you stand up and take notice. Incredibly well-crafted and balanced, has to be the best rose I've ever had. Don't let the color fool you, this wine has great depth of flavor, the Mourvedre and Cinsault giving it an earthy/spicy quality I had never encountered in a rosé and just loved. Tasted alongside Domaine Ott (long-considered the region's best) and I liked this one alot better. Sure, it's expensive for a pink wine, but considering the quality it's well worth it.

2009 Domaine Saint Peyre Syrah Rosé**
09SaintPeyreSyrahRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Languedoc, France $9 Atkins Farm Market 9/25/10
A pale to medium, salmon-colored wine with bright aromas of ripe red berries, stone fruit and minerals. The palate is medium-bodied with well-balanced acidity and flavors of cherry, strawberry and melon along with notes of peach and earth on the lengthy finish. Its 12.5% abv. keeps the ripeness in check with refreshing acidity. While still being very French in style, it was fruity enough to please my New World-trained palate. A lovely wine for the price. Wish I could find it on the West Coast.

2009 Grey Stack Cellars Rosé***
2009Greystack-Rose-of-Syrah.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Sonoma, CA $18 @ the Winery 4/1/10
Blend of 55% Grenache, 35% Syrah & 10% Viognier
A medium, salmon-colored wine with ripe red fruit, floral, grapefruit and earth notes on the nose. The palate is light-bodied with dominating ripe strawberry and red cherry flavors along with notes of grapefruit, peach and melon on the lengthy, refreshing finish. Lovely balance between the fruit and the acidity, along with depth of flavor from the first sip to the last. The addition of Viognier seemed a bit odd to me, but it adds a smidge of ripeness to the finish that keeps the acidity in check. Created using the saignée method and fermented in stainless steel. (110 cases/14.1% abv)

2009 Mas Carlot Tradition Rosé**
mascarlotrose.gif Region Price Purchased Drank
Costières-de-Nimes, France $10 Woodland Hills Wine 7/31/10
Blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre.
A medium, watermelon-colored wine with a nose that shows ripe berries, cherries, minerals and hints of stone fruit. The palate is light-medium-bodied with bright acidity, intense flavors of strawberry, raspberry, watermelon and spice with notes of apricot and cherry candy on the medium-length finish. This isn't an overly complex wine, but it has a lovely intensity that got deeper the second night and was more apparent when warmer. A well-crafted wine that delivers really great QPR from year to year and is easy to drink at 13.5% abv. One I seek out every year.

2009 Tercero Wines Rosé***
07TerceroRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $15 @ the Winery 7/12/10
Blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre
A medium, watermelon-colored wine with a bright nose of red berries, cherry, watermelon and herbs. The palate is light-medium-bodied with bright acidity and ripe fruit flavors that mirror the nose along with notes of citrus, minerals and earth along with a lingering cherry vanilla finish. It took some time in the glass for the flavors to open up, so don't chill this one too much. There's a wonderful balance between the fruit and the herbal/earthy flavors that make this wine more intriguing than many CA roses. Must be the Mourvedre. Am sure the 13.5% abv helps a great deal too, keeping it from being more than just a fruit bomb. Have tried every vintage to date and this is definitely Larry's best version so far. Was even better the 2nd night. Great QPR.

2008 Anglim Winery Rosé***
08anglimrose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $15 @ the Winery 2/16/10
Blend of 67% Grenache,19% Mourvedre,10% Syrah and 4% Viognier
A medium, salmon-colored wine with bright aromatics of ripe strawberries, red cherry, sweet spice and minerals that follow through on the medium-bodied palate. Refreshing and creamy (the wine was aged on the lees in neutral French oak), yet with enough bright acidity to keep the fruit in check. Don't cool this down too much as it was more expressive as it warmed with the strawberry and vanilla flavors lingering for a long time on the finish. At 14.2% alcohol, this is a wine that can be sipped on the porch or served with tomato salad or charcuterie. We bought a case and it's already half gone. A well-balanced delight that will give French versions a run for their money.

2008 Beckmen Vineyards Grenache Rosé**
2008_Beckmen_Rose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $16 @ The Winery 6/20/09
A pale, cranberry-colored wine with a subtle nose of red fruits, melon and sweet spice that gains aroma as the wine warms, as do the flavors. This is not a rosé to drink ice cold as it mutes the wine considerably. Once it warmed the red fruit flavors came out showing strawberry and red cherry with notes of spice and minerals and a surprising creaminess despite the acidity. Not as bold and fruity as I like my rosés, but very well-crafted for the price and one for those who like their pink very dry.

2008 Cass Winery Oasis Rosé**
CassRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $24 @ the Winery 2/25/09
A deep, salmon-colored wine with a bright nose of red berries, melon and sweet spice that carry through to the roundly ripe strawberry-filled palate which has a bit of grapefruit and minerality on the decent finish. Mostly Syrah with a touch of several other red grapes, this wine could use a bit more acidity to counter the ripeness of the fruit, but is eminently enjoyable and intense, if you like this style. Will be considered too sweet for some, but is right up my alley. Couldn't give it 3 stars because I've had wines as good for half the price.

2008 Chateau d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé*
09WhisperingAngelRose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Provence, France $17 The Green Spot 9/18/10
A water-white, salmon-colored wine with moderate aromas of fresh red berries, citrus, herbs and minerals. The palate was light-boded, well-balanced and elegant with flavors of strawberry cream, tart raspberries, herbs and a hint of almonds on the medium-length finish. Made from a blend of Grenache (73%), Rolle (4%), Cinsault (9%), Syrah (8.5%) and Mourvedre (5.5%) and aged in stainless steel. This is the entry level rosé from this Chateau. They make 3 others that progressively get more expensive with better grapes and aging techniques as one goes up the scale. While I understood what they were trying to do with this wine, I can't say I enjoyed it. Thus, the one star. It's is very well-crafted and has terroir, it just didn't pack enough of a flavor punch for me. It was, however, intriguing enough that if I see one of the Chateau's higher end versions, I will give it a spin.

2008 Chateau de Campuget Rosé**
campugetrose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Costières-de-Nimes, France $10 K&L Wines 4/2/10
Blend of 30% Grenache & 70% Syrah
A bright, watermelon-pink colored wine with aromas of raspberry, starwberry, roses and herbs. The palate is medium-bodied with bright acidity and ripe berry, melon, bitter cherry and white pepper flavors. The finish was medium-length with hints of green apple and minerals. Not as robust in flavor as many versions from this up-and-coming region, but it's hard to find many rosé's this well-crafted at this price. Great QPR and at only 13% abv a nice summer sipper. Will be looking out for the 09.

2008 Chateau Guiot Rosé**
08chguiotrose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Costières-de-Nimes, France $10 K&L Wines 12/20/09
Blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah & 10% Mourvedre. A bright watermelon-colored wine with a nose of ripe berries, cherry and melon with notes of roses and minerals. The palate is light-bodied and well-balanced with good acidity and ripe flavors of stramberry, raspberry, melon and hints of grapefruit, herbs and minerals on the refreshing finish. Well-crafted and elegant, it held together quite well both cold and as it warmed. A better finish would have raised it to three stars. Just love rosés from this region and this one is my favorite of the 08 vintage. Wish I had another bottle.

2008 Domaine Houchart Rosé**
domhouchartrose.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Cotes de Provence, France $11 Brix Wine Shop 7/5/09
Blend of 35% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon & 5% Mourvedre. A pale salmon-colored wine with a nose of ripe red berries, cherry, flowers and minerals. The palate is light-bodied and well-balanced with crisp acidity and a good finish. The flavors are more subtle than most roses with strawberry, minerals and melon with notes of vanilla and cherry on the finish. I usually like my versions in your face, but though this wine was drier than I prefer, it still had plenty of fruitiness and depth to please me. A classy wine for a very good price.

2008 Domaine Sainte-Eugenie Rosé**
SteEugenieRose.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Corbières, France $11 @ K&L Wines 7/7/10
A blend of 75% Cinsault, 15% Syrah and 10% Grenache.
A medium, salmon-colored wine with a bright nose of red berries, herbs, minerals and hints of citrus. The palate is light-bodied with crisp acidity and flavors of strawberry shortcake, raspberry, cranberry and notes of melon and lemon on the lingering finish. While not very complex the flavors are intense and toe the line between crisp and fruity quite well. Made from vines that are between 30-50 years old and was bottled within 6mos of the harvest. Not my favorite in this price point, but well-made and very quaffable. (13% abv)

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