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90+ point rated wines under $20

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2004 Kilikanoon "Killerman's Run" Shiraz***
kilikanoon04.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
South Australia $18 Out @ Dinner 5/14/09
A deep, almost opaque, mostly purple-colored wine with aromas of black fruit, smokey oak, sweet spice and hints of mint and mocha that carry through onto the lush and full-bodied palate. The fruit flavors of blackberry, black cherry and plum are ripe, but well-balanced and well-integrated with the smoke, mint and pepper notes on the lingering finish. Was just looking for something enjoyable to quaff and was surprised by the elegance and depth of flavor. Thankfully, got a big pour and I savored every drop. Might be too fruity for some, but has more class than many Aussie Shiraz's in its price range. Will be seeking out the 06 version. OTHER RATINGS: Robert Parker: 90

2004 Halter Ranch Vineyard Syrah***
halterranch.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $28 @ the Winery 12/9/07
Displays aromas of ripe black plum, blackberry and currant fruit with hints of violets, pepper spice, vanilla cream and a subtle roasted meat tone. Its' extracted black fruit flavors are complemented by savory spice and black licorice tones on the wine's long, rich finish. Glad I have another bottle.

2004 Penman Springs Vineyards Syrah**
penmansyrah.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Paso Robles, CA $18 Table 8 3/15/08
A deep ruby wine with bright aromas of spicy berry, plum, light oak and minerals. The palate is soft and full-bodied with ripe boysen-blackberry, hints of raspberry, blueberry and a soft cocoa note. Not exactly an elegant or complex wine, but it's ripe flavors make it quite enjoyable nonetheless.

2004 Stolpman Vineyards Estate Syrah***
Stolpman04Syrah.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $25 @ the Winery 4/7/10
A deep, ruby-colored wine with a strong nose of black fruit, garrigue and smoke along with notes of mint and sweet spice. The palate is full-bodied and smooth with well-integrated acid and tannins along with flavors of blackberry, black cherry, mint and earth with hints of leather, oak and vanilla on the lengthy finish, which showed a bit of heat in the beginning but dissipated quickly. (The abv is 15.2%) I have been a club member of this winery for about six years and their Syrahs always need at least 5 to truly come together. This wine has great depth of flavor from front to back. A great example of CA Syrah for the price. Am glad I waited and wish I had more.

2004 Thacher Winery Monterey County Syrah**
04thacherSyrah.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $28 @ the Winery 3/24/10
A deep, ruby-colored wine with subtle aromas of black fruit and earth with hints of cedar and minerals. The palate shows ripe fruit upfront with moderate acidity and tannins with a bit of heat on the medium, chalky finish. The flavors showed blackberry, currant, leather and cedar with noted of mint, the upfront fruit giving way to the earthier flavors on the midpalate and finish. Aerated it after the first half hour to see if it would open the wine up a bit, which brought out more fruit and a touch of vanilla. I preferred it unaerated as I liked the minerality of the wine. The Man liked it more after. The cooler climate of Monterey keeps this from being a fruit bomb (even with a 15.3% abv), so that's something in its' favor. While a nice first effort, I don't think it's going to be getting better, as it doesn't really have enough depth of flavor, despite being fairly full-bodied.

2003 Anglim Best Barrel Syrah***
anglim03BBSyrah.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $32 @ the Winery 10/27/09
A deep, almost opaque, ruby/purple colored wine with a strong nose of black cherry, blackberry, currant, earth and notes of sweet spice. We popped and poured this wine figuring 6 years of bottle aging would be fine. We were right. The palate is round and fully integrated with good acidity and a lengthy, lingering finish. The flavors favor cool climate Syrah with all the notes of the nose coming through on the palate along with additional hints of herbs and a touch of minerality. The Syrah grapes were sourced from both the French Camp and Fralich vineyards and the wine has 2% Roussanne added as well. Spent 18mos in 90% new French oak which gives the wine a savory complexity that balances out the ripe fruit. Glad I hung onto my bottle and that I have 2 more. Worth the price. While this wine still has time left, it is drinking perfectly now. Held up beautifully with our Sausage Mushroom Truffle Mac & Cheese. Felt the effects of the alcohol, but couldn't discern any heat. (350 cases/15.4% ABV)

2003 Beckmen Vineyards PMV Block 6 Syrah***
04BeckemenBlock6Syrah.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $48 @ the Winery 2/1/11
A deep, still ruby-colored wine with a fairly intense nose of black fruit, earth, tar, cloves and cedar. The palate is full-bodied with medium acidity and fine tannins, round and intense with a long finish. This is the first bottling of this wine, crafted from the highest section (1275ft) of the Purisma Mountain Vineyard. The flavors are of blackberry, blackcurrant, chalk, mint, mocha, cedar and sweet spice, which reflect this cooler climate and the aging of the wine, which was in 75% new Remond French Oak/25% 1 and 2-year-old barrels for 16 months. A powerful wine that still showed finesse. While it certainly has some life left, I think it is past its prime. Though I enjoyed it quite a bit. Unfined and unfiltered, so might be best to decant to get rid the sediment, but doesn't need to sit for long. Popped and poured. (250 cases/14.5% ABV)

2003 Beckmen Vineyards PMV Clone #1 Syrah***
beck_clone_1.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $42 @ the Winery 2/17/10
A deep, ruby-colored wine with complex aromas of blackberry, blueberry and earth with hints of cedar and mocha. The palate is round and intense, with well-integrated tannins and moderate acidity, showing the same fruits as found on the nose with additional notes of minerals, vanilla and mint on the lengthy finish. Grown on a limestone hill using only the UC Davis Shiraz clone originally sourced from Victoria, Australia and barrel-aged for 16 months in new and 1-2 year old French barrels, this is a powerful, structured and complex wine that is more savory than fruity. Beckmen usually gets high marks for their Syrahs and this wine is one of the reasons why. Popped and poured due to its' age, this wine is ready to go. (300 cases/14.5% ABV)

2003 Bernard Faurie St. Joseph**

Region Price Purchased Drank
Rhone Valley, France $40 The Wine House 10/1/07
Deep ruby-red. Full-blown aromas of blackberry, flint, smoke, pepper, black olive and garrigue Fat, dense, very ripe and dry; at once creamy and powerful in the middle. Firmly tannic and persistent on the finish.

OTHER RATINGS: Stephen Tanzer: 89

2003 Garretson Wine Co. Mon Amie Syrah***
monamie.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $45 @ the Winery 11/17/07
Dark, opaque, unfiltered purple in the glass with strong aromas of blackberry, earth and meat. Big and slighty wild on the palate, which was filled with dark, brambly fruit and earth with notes of tar, cinammon and vanilla on the lingering finish. Not quite as integrated as I'd hoped. Needs another few years to settle down. Like all Garretson syrahs, there's nothing subtle about this wine. Chewy and teethcoating, it's a wine that makes its' presence known.

2003 Rio Seco Vineyards Syrah***
rioseco.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $20 @ the Winery 11/17/07
Ripe and earthy aromas are followed through on the palate with soft tannins, dried fruits and a bit of smokiness. The mouthfeel is lush and the finish long. More French in tone, color and alcohol than most Paso Syrahs. Flavorful without being over the top. A good wine for the price though not one to age. Would drink within the next year.

2003 Saxon-Brown Parmalee Hill Vineyard Syrah***
saxonbrownsyrah.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Sonoma, CA $30 Wades Wines 6/14/09
A deep, ruby-colored wine with lovely aromatics of black fruit, sweet spice, earth and hints of smoke and tobacco. The palate was lush with soft tannins and just the right amount of acidity to keep the ripe fruits in check. The flavors were blackberry and black cherry, meat and minerals with notes of mocha and caramel on the lingering finish. This wine is in its sweet spot right now with the perfect mix of sweet fruit and savory elements, yet with enough restraint and balance to drink with or without food. Hated to share the bottle. Wish I had another. Can still taste its smoky, meaty, fruity goodness. A great wine in its price range.

2003 Tin House Winery Syrah**
tinhousesyrah.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Edna Valley, CA $23 @ Fermentations 3/23/08
Medium-bodied ruby wine with aromas of raspberry, ripe plum, cherry, herbs, and hints of black pepper which follow through on the palate. The spice and fruit were well-integrated with the oak and tannins, on a smooth, yet still bright finish. More subtle than many of the recent central coast offerings. Ready to drink now.

2002 Baileyana Firepeak Vineyard Syrah**
baileanasyrah.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Edna Valley, CA $18 @ the Winery 12/26/07
Deep and concentratd, this wine is full of spice, plum, blueberry and lavender flavors and aromas. Fruity without being overripe with elegance and earthiness on the palate and finish. Very good example of a cool climate syrah for a great price.

2002 Beckmen Vineyards PMV Clone #1 Syrah***
beck_clone_1.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $42 @ the Winery 8/1/09
An opaque, ruby-colored wine with deep aromas of black fruit, smoke, cedar and earth. The palate is full-bodied and dense with flavors of blackberry, black cherry and blackcurrant leaf with notes of oak, licorice and minerals on the long finish. Even at this age, it took some time to open up and the acidity to settle. Didn't want to decant in case was past prime. The tannins are well-integrated and dusty. This 100% syrah is made from one single clone at a density of 1.5 tons per acre and is barrel-aged in new French oak. The flavors are intense with still plenty of fruit to counter the earthiness. Since this was my first and only bottle I have nothing to compare it too, but I don't think it's going to be getting much better. Though I think it still has some time left in the bottle. An intriguing wine that kept me going back to the glass for more. I was hoping to be wowed, but I'll settle for delicious. (300 cases/14.5% ABV)

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