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90+ point rated wines under $20

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2007 Ortman Family Vineyards Sangiovese**
OrtmanSangiovese.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $22 @ the Winery 8/25/09
A clear, bright, ruby-colored wine with a big nose of red berries, cherry, herbs and a hint of sweet spice. The palate is medium-bodied and well-balanced with the ripeness of the fruit countered by the medium acidity. The flavors of cherry and strawberry dominate with the herbs and minerality coming through on the refreshing finish. They were going for a California version of Chianti Classico and it shows. The wine was aged in neutral oak to showcase the fruit and acidity. I liked that it wasn't as big and heavy as some California sangioveses, but not as bitter and over-acidic as Chianti. Was equally good with and without food, and even at 14.1% abv the alcochol was well-integrated. I just wish it had a deeper, lengthier finish. A lovely wine for the price, especially if you're interested in seeing what CA sangiovese is all about. (500 cases)

2006 Capezzana Conti Contini Sangiovese*
conti.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Tuscany, Italy $10 Wine.com 3/3/08
A bright, ruby colored wine with aromas of sour cherry, smoke and spice. The palate is quite tannic and acidic for such a light-bodied wine with flavors of earth and wood along with the bitter cherries on the short finish. Just not enough fruit in this one to balance the tannin and acid. Would definitely have fared better with some food.

2006 Imagery Estate Winery Sangiovese***
06Imagerysangiovese.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Sonoma, CA $29 @ the Winery 8/09/11
A deep, garnet colored wine with a mild nose that got stronger as the wine opened filled with cherry, plum, smoke, oak, herbs and sweet spice. The palate is medium-bodied with well-balanced acidity and a lingering vanilla-tinged finish. The flavors mirror the nose with bright round fruit and additional notes of coffee and pepper. While this wine had a similar texture as chianti, it didn't have the bitterness that can sometimes accompany this grape. The wine was aged in French Oak, which kept the ripeness in check and added elegance. Was surprised by how much I enjoyed this wine, especially as the night went on. The grapes are from the Dry Creek Valley. A very good interpretation of an Italian wine for California. Very Good QPR and one I would buy again. (14.5% abv/475 cases)

2006 Moris Farms Morellino di Scansano***
morismorellino.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Tuscany, Italy $22 @ the Wine House 3/3/08
A deeper ruby color than most sangioveses with a lively nose filled with bright red fruits and hints of spice. The palate is supple with the grapes usual blantant acidity held in balance by the cherry and earth flavors and the soft, pleasant finish. A lovely example of the varietal at a very reasonable price.

2006 Tenuta Caparzo Sangiovese Toscana IGT**
caparzo06sangio.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Tuscany, Italy $12 Private Event 5/6/08
An intense, ruby-colored wine with lovely aromas of blackberry and cherry along with earth and oak. The palate is medium-bodied with soft, ripe tannins, carrying through the flavors from the nose with additional notes of vanilla on the finish. Well-rounded and balanced for an Italian sangiovese in this price point. A nice, everyday sipper.

2005 Antinori Santa Christina*
92304l.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Tuscany, Italy $11 Wine.com 1/15/08
Aromas of sour cherry and dust dominate the nose and palate. Though the tannins are soft the acidity took awhile to calm down. Once the wine opened it became rounder and riper, but the lack of length and depth were disappointing.

2005 Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico*
borgo.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Tuscany, Italy $20 Private Event 5/6/08
A medium, ruby-colored wine with a pleasant nose of red berries, oak and vanilla which follow through onto the medium-bodied palate. Unfortunately, the bitter cherry and earth flavors are overwhelmed by the acidity and tannins anad the finish is just too short to help even it out. The wine was just opened when tasted, so it may have faired better with a little air, however, it was overall just too bitter and thin for me.

2005 Bruni Morellino di Scansano Marteto**
brunimartetto.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Tuscany, Italy $16 The Wine House 5/23/08
A pale, bright ruby-colored wine with aromas of red berries and hints of sweet spice and oak. The palate is not quite medium-bodied with flavors of red cherry, raspberry and spice with balanced acidity, light tannins and a slightly bitter, dusty finish. Fairly ripe for an Italian wine, though not very complex, this is a good everyday sipper.

2005 Castello di Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi**
farnetella.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Tuscany, Italy $11 K&L Wines 4/10/08
A medium-bodied, ruby/purple colored wine with a youthful nose with aromas of red fruit, minerals and spices. The palate is well-integrated with moderate amounts of acid and tannin and lots of strawberry and cherry flavors as well as sweet spice and smoke along with hints of vanilla and dust on the finish. A well-constructed Chianti that delivers quite a bit of flavor and class for the price. Not overly memorable, but more enjoyable than most in this range.

2005 Pianetta Winery Sangiovese**
pianettaSangiovese.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $26 @ the Winery 3/6/08
Bright ruby red, medium-bodied wine with moderate aromas of cherry and raspberry with a hint of smoke. The palate is soft and fruity filled with sour cherry, touches of meat and more raspberry with a smooth, lingering finish. The lack of tannin or acidity made it a bit flabby as the night wore on and left mostly alocohol on the palate when tasted with our pasta dinner. This is a pleasant wine, but slightly overpriced for the quality.

2005 Stolpman Vineyard La Coppa Sangiovese***
stolpLacoppaSangio.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $25 @ the Winery 6/23/09
A medium-bodied, bright ruby-colored wine with an aromatic nose filled with smoky black cherry, ripe strawberry and sweet spice that all carry over onto the round and well-balanced palate. Immediately accessible with very low tannins and proper acidity, we just unscrewed and poured. Well-integrated fruit, spice and minerals kept us coming back for more, along with cola and vanilla notes on the lengthy, lingering finish. A wine that tows the line between ripeness and earthiness quite well. More fruity than the Estate version, but just as classy. This won't be getting better, but still has a few years left to enjoy. Only available to wine club members or through their tasting room. Didn't exactly scream Sangiovese, but I didn't really care.

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