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90+ point rated wines under $20

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2006 Bodegas Naia Las Brisas**
lasbrisas.jpg Region Price Purchased Date
Rueda, Spain $10 Red Carpet 10/6/09
Blend of 50% Verdejo, 25% Viura and 25% Sauvignon Blanc.
A medium-gold colored wine with a bright, lovely nose filled with notes of lemon creme, stone fruits, minerals and flowers. The palate is medium-bodied and creamy with a refreshing finish, but not as much impact as the nose would suggest. Starts strong and vibrant when cold with flavors of ripe apple, apricot, honey and a hint of citrus and minerals, but kind of dies as it warms up. Still enjoyable, but definitely on its way out. Probably would have been much better if I had drunk it when I bought it last year. A good aperitif wine or summer sipper. A unique wine for the price and one I will be seeking out to try the more recent vintage.

2006 Palmina Tocai Friulano, Honea Vineyard***
TocaiFriulano2006.gif Region Price Tasted Date
Santa Barbara, CA $24 @ Dinner 3/22/08
A bright, pale gold colored wine with subtle aromas of flowers, green fruits, herbs and a touch of mineralty. The crisp palate is well-balanced with flavors of apples and pears along with hints of almonds and spice. Elegant and flavorful with a pleasant and lingering finish. This is a well-crafted and lovely wine that brings New World touches to an Old World varietal.

2006 Bodega Pirineos Mesache Blanco*
mesache.jpg Region Price Purchased Date
Somontano, Spain $10 Mission Wines 6/15/08
Blend of Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Macabeo
This odd blend never quite comes together to create a balanced wine. The nose is floral (lychee) and fruity with citrus and banana aromas, which go on to also dominate the palate. The chardonnay gives it a nice creamy mouthfeel, but the finish is too short and medicinal, ruining the ripe fruit flavors and leaving only notes of acidity. Interesting but not fully enjoyable.

2005 Au Bon Climat Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc**
aubonclimatPG.jpg Region Price Tasted Date
Santa Barbara, CA $15 @ Pinot Bistro 2/17/08
This is a medium-bodied blend of 70% Pinot Gris and 30% Pinot Blanc, which gives the wine a lush mouthfeel and bigger body than most PG's. The nose is full of citrus, apple, melon and a hint of vanilla, which all follow through onto the palate. Though soft it still has a nice crisp finish that lingered more than I expected. There's nothing complex about this wine, but it's well-crafted and flavorful, especially for a wine dominated by Pinot Grigio.

2005 Las Reñas Blanco Macabeo*
lasrenas.jpg Region Price Purchased Date
Bullas, Spain $10 @ Mission Wines 8/4/08
A pale, straw-colored wine with bright aromas of green fruit, citrus and almond. With moderate acidity and body, the palate is filled with apple, pear and lemon flavors with hints of herbs and nuts on the finish. The alcohol was a bit apparent, but it doesn't completely unbalance the wine. A very dry wine that showcases why it's generally used to make Cava. Not my favorite Spanish white, but a decent bottle for the price.

1996 R. López de Heredia Rioja Viña Gravonia**
lopez96.jpg Region Price Tasted Date
Rioja, Spain $29 @ Mission Wines 4/19/08
A pale, lemon-colored wine with a well-developed, yet still fruity nose filled with vanilla, ripe apple, tropical fruit and hints of petrol. The palate still has quite a bit of acidity and is very flavorful with mostly apple, nuts, honey, melon and hints of citrus. The warmer this got the more it showed. Still quite lively and complex for a 12-year-old white wine. This is newly released and it still has time to go. Definitely more of a food than a sipping wine.

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