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90+ point rated wines under $20

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2006 Creta Roble Tempranillo**
06CretaTempranillo.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Ribera del Duero, Spain $14 The Wine House 10/14/09
A 100% tempranillo that is a deep, ruby-purple color with a stong nose filled with black fruit, minerals, earth and sweet spice. The palate is full-bodied and tannic, but rounded out quite pleasantly after we aerated the wine. It is filled with blackberry, plum, minerals with notes of earth, vanilla and maple syrup on the lingering finish. Made from 70-year-old vines and aged for 4-5 months in neutral barrels, this is a well-crafted if a bit rustic wine that really delivers for the price. Needs another year or two in the bottle to soften and unite, but is quite enjoyable right now. A good entry wine for those seeking to discover what Spanish wines are all about. Other Ratings: RP & Tanzer: 90

2006 Minassian-Young Vineyards Tempranillo***
myTemp06.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Paso Robles, CA $22 @ the Winery 1/26/09
A pale, ruby-garnet colored wine with a lovely nose of strawberry, cherry and herbs with hints of leather and spice. The palate is soft with intense flavors of red fruit, herbs, sweet spice with notes of coffee and strawberry on the round finish. With smidges of Grenache and Mourvedre add brightness and earthiness to the mix. One of the best new world versions I've had. A nice first effort. A wine to watch out for and one I had to get another bottle of.

2006 Palacios Remondo La Vendimia**
laVendimia06.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Rioja, Spain $12 Cost Plus Imports 11/2/08
A blend of Garnacha and Tempranillo. A medium-bodied, ruby-colored wine full of bright brambly fruit aromas with hints of leather and spice. The palate is rustic with ripe strawberry, plums and blackberry flavors with notes of chalk and oak. It's a fairly one-note wine with a moderate finish, but it delivers good flavor for the price, showing much better after it was open for about a half hour. Held up well to our spicy food.

2006 Telmo Rodriguez Dehasa Gago G Tempranillo*
dehasaG.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Toro, Spain $12 The Wine House 1/11/10
An intense, ruby-colored wine with a moderate nose of earth, red fruit, spice and smoke. The palate was medium-bodied, round and earthy with black cherry, herbs, meat and spice on the rather quick finish. Usually one of my go-to inexpenisive Spanish numbers, but this vintage didn't wow me like it normally does. There was nothing actually wrong with this wine, it was just fairly one-dimensional tasting like a generic red wine. No varietal or regional traits to grab onto. Didn't get better or worse as the night went on. According to the label, this was not a great vintage, so the fact that they made something drinkable shows Telmo's skill. Will still give the 07 a try, especially for this price. Drink it if you've got it. Preferably with food. (14.5% abv)

2005 Bodegas Arrocal**
arrocal.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Ribera del Duero, Spain $15 The Wine House 4/4/08
Deep ruby/purple colored wine with a lovely nose of black fruit (blueberry & blackberry), cedar and sweet spices that follow through on the full-bodied, ripe and soft palate. The big flavors make this quite drinkable right out of the bottle, but some time in a decanter will settle the tannins and allow the fruit to come forward. Not a great deal of complexity, but the clarity of the flavors kept me going back for more. A tremendous value and a great showcase of the quality of the wines of Spain. A little more depth and it would have got 3 stars. Seek this one out.


2005 Dominio de Eguren Protocolo Tinto**
protocolo.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
La Mancha, Spain $7 Private Event 5/31/08
I've been drinking this wine since the 2000 vintage and you won't find many better at this price point. It's a table wine that consistently delivers an enjoyable experience from year to year and shows what Spanish wines are capable of...especially on the low end. It's medium-bodied, ruby-red with ripe, spicy red fruit flavors that follow through on the palate. Though smooth and filled with bright cherry and berry flavors, the acidity keeps it from being flabby and gives it a nice, fairly long finish. It's not super complex, but it is well-balanced and flavorful. A great everyday wine.

2005 Mano a Mano Tempranillo**
mano.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
La Mancha, Spain $12 At Dinner 9/4/08
An inky/purple colored wine along with a ripe, deep nose offers cherry liqueur, earth, coffee and dark chocolate. Rich, weighty and thick, with impressive power to the cherry and blackberry flavors. The sweetness carries through the broad, long finish which has hints of the coffee and chocolate. This is the second time I've had this wine this year and I wish I could find it to buy a few bottles. It's soft and supple and packed with flavor at a price that can't be beat. It's utter lack of tannin may make it too "sweet" for some, but makes it eminently drinkable the minute the cork is popped.

2004 Cenit Vino de la Tierra***
cenit.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Zamora, Spain $40 The Wine House 3/3/08
Rich, smoky aromas of cherry, cassis, cola, espresso and licorice. Deep and silky, with excellent concentration, sweetness and purity to the dark fruit flavors. The finish is an endless display of sweet, lush blackcurrant and blackberry fruit, with fine, dusty tannins adding focus. Worth it's price tag.

OTHER RATINGS: Robert Parker: 92 | WS:91

2004 Deobriga Selection Familiar**
deobriga.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Rioja, Spain $15 The Wine House 3/3/08
Ruby-red. Vanilla-accented raspberry and cherry on the nose, with whiffs of vanilla and mint. Medium-bodied, the warm red fruit flavors are distinctly ripe and fleshy but are nicely invigorated by bright mineral and floral qualities. Finishes juicy and long, but with vegetal notes I didn't quite care for. A great value if you're curious about Rioja. Could age but certainly ready to go right now.

2004 Vina Solorca Zarus Barrica**
zarusbarrica.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Ribera del Duero, Spain $15 K&L Wines 4/2/09
A deep ruby-colored wine with mild aromas of red fruit, herbs, earth and sweet spice that carry through onto the medium-bodied and well-balanced palate. A bit acidic at first, so we aerated the wine which really rounded out the wine and brought out the red cherry and blackberry flavors along with floral notes on the dusty finish. More earthy than fruity this wine is definitely at its peak and will most likely be more enjoyed with food than without. A nice, basic tempranillo, though nothing to remember.

2003 Bodegas Aalto**
aalto.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Ribera del Duero, Spain $40 The Wine House 4/7/08
Ruby red with a developing nose of blackfruits, sweet spice, liquorice and vanilla which are joined on the full-bodied palate by additional flavors of blackberry, cinnamon, and oak on the medium, vanilla-tinged finish. The heat of the Ribera helps gives this wine more power and lushness than most Tempranillos. If you like big wines and you're tired of the same old cabs, this is one to try. Though there are certainly better ones out there for less money.


2001 Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo Crianza***
cubillo.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Rioja, Spain $25 The Wine House 4/7/08
A pale, garnet-hued wine with a delicate nose filled with strawberry and dried cherries accented with herbs, cedar and sweet spice, The palate is medium-bodied with integrates tannins and notes of cedar, leather, dried fruits and smoke on the medium finish. A wine that still has quite a lot of flavor despite its' age, though it is definitely at its' peak right now. A quality wine that showcases what Rioja is all about.

2001 Marques de Caceras Reserva***
marques2001rioja.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Rioja, Spain $25 Private Event 5/6/08
Bright, vivid dark ruby color. Intense bouquet that brings to mind berries, plum, earth and sweet spice. Good concentration in the mouth with delicious tannins that highlight the wine's rich fruit that has become more complex following aging in barrel. On the whole, an unctuous wine with a pleasant fullness that lingers on the palate with a depth of refined toasted notes and hints of minerals and spice on the finish. Medium-bodied, complex and what aged Riojas are all about.


2001 Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Reserva*
valdemarrioja.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Rioja, Spain $17 Vendome 6/27/08
A medium-bodied, brick//ruby colored wine with a subtle nose of red berries, earth and spice. The palate was thinner than expected with bitter cherry, plum and dustiness along with a good bit of acidity and a fairly short finish. The mouthfeel and ripeness seemed to decline as the night went on. Defintely on it's way out.

1999 Bodegas Navarra-Lopez Old Vines Tempranillo*
lopez99temp.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Valdepenas, Spain $18 K&L Wines 5/6/08
What's great about Spanish wines is that they age them for you, many of their current releases being at least 2-3 years olders than those from other regions. I was excited about this wine, to taste something this old, but it just didn't hold up. The color was a medium, brick red with a nose filled with earth and red fruit aromas mainly cherry. Unfortunately, the palate was filled with bitter cherry and minerals that never smoothed out enough to be even enjoyable. Just too acidic and one-dimensional. Was slightly better with food. A wine definitely in decline.

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