Wines for March: 10 wines from $10 to $25
CLEVELAND, Ohio — This month’s wine review covers eight varietals and a blend ranging from $10 to $25. Note: Our monthly reviews focus on wines $25 and under. All should be available on local store shelves. We list the flavors we detect and offer our favorites at the end.
Raeburn Pinot Noir
Raeburn Winery, California, Pinot Noir, 2019, $24.99
Lavender on the nose with dried cherry with subtle notes of coffee and light cinnamon spice. Goes well with salmon. It’s getting harder and harder to find good, cheap Pinots these days, so this price is becoming the norm. This wine comes from a kind of pinot noir capital, the Russian River Valley in California.
Citra Vini, Italy, Trebbiano, 2017, $10
Lime is dominant with lemon playing second fiddle in this extremely light wine. We found it a little jaded with a bit of gasoline in the nose. It was a little better with food. We’ve had some decent and equally inexpensive offers from Citra, but we’ll pass on this particular vintage. Ultimately, we might give a later bottle a shot at this price. This variety may seem less known; it’s often used in brandy and balsamic vinegar, says Wine Folly.
Josh North Coast Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Josh Cellars, California, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2019, $21.99
Certainly red fruits, red licorice and strawberry. A little menthol stands out with a hint of spice (the cellar says blackcurrant). The grapes come from Sonoma and Lake counties. Offerings from the cellar are a common menu find.
Bread and Butter Wines, Napa Valley, CA; Sauvignon Blanc, 2019 and 2020, $15-$16
We did a side-by-side tasting:
2019: Lime, saline, riper fruit, slight hint of oil, good fruit, no grass.
2020: Floral nose, lime, more acid, greener fruit, slightly grassy but not as cloying as an Australian or New Zealand Sauv Blanc.
pound for pound
Hard Working Wines, Paso Robles, CA; Zinfandel, 2020, $25
Intriguing, with a savory cacophony: Aromas of candied fruit, black cherry on the palate, no spice, and a concentrated, thick, almost Port-like mouthfeel. A rich strawberry flavor on the finish.
Mettler Family Vineyards, Lodi, CA; Petite Sirah, 2019, $24.99
Milk chocolate, a little smoke, dark fruits and an almost port taste. Some tannins float. Great mouthfeel – not as tannic as some examples from this varietal. Incredibly smooth, tastes more expensive. One of the best examples of this varietal we have tried.
Le Paring, California; red mix, 2017, $25 We detected smoke, tomato and chocolate. The estate says: Cassis, tobacco and chocolate. It has undergone extensive barrel aging, but the oak is subtle and well blended. It is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot.
Luke Wines, Columbia Valley, Washington; Merlot, 2018, $25
Sweet notes of black licorice and a bit of earth stand out. The winery touts it as having dark red fruit. It’s made from 96% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc for good measure.
Chardonnay from Wente Eric
Wente Vineyards, California, Chardonnay, 2014, $25
This particular vintage will be hard to find; we found it at the end of our Char shelf, where it had been sitting quietly for a while. But the winery is reliable, producing wines since the 19th century. This unoaked Chardonnay, tasted eight years after its vintage, has (unsurprisingly) flavors of baked and macerated apple. A little acid, with just a little butterscotch on the finish. Was better with food; it goes wonderfully with chicken braised in white wine and potatoes. The winery produces several Chardonnays and is always a good bet.
Favorites: Mettler Petite Sirah.
Wine reviews 2022
Wines for February: A dozen different wines from 4 countries
January wines: 9 different wines from $9 to $22
Filmed wine: The 2012 documentary “Somm” takes viewers through the process of being an aspiring sommelier. It is available for rental or purchase online.
Do you like wine? Options vary for purchasing wine. Online retailers provide the ability to choose what you want, manage cases, and find discounts. Here is a selection to consider:
brightcellars.com: The monthly club offers you wines after taking a “palate quiz”.
Cellierwineclub.com: Allows you to choose the number of bottles you want.
exoticwine.club.com: offers subscription wine boxes from wineries located in less accessible markets.
splashwines.com: choose a curated case or create your own.
winc.com: Four wines tailored to your tastes are shipped monthly. Has a review component.
wine.com: Large online sellers often offer discounts to new customers.
wineawesomeness.com: Organized shipments of three and six bottles.
wineenthusiast.com: Complete site for accessories – shelves, glasses, openers, storage, gifts.
wineonsale.com: Allows you to select by grape variety or by region.
zachys.com: Includes a variety of ways to search/buy, as well as auction information.
I am on cleveland.comfrom the Life and Culture team and covers topics related to food, beer, wine and sport. If you want to see my stories, here is a directory on cleveland.com. On Air: WTAM-1100’s Bill Wills and I talk food and drink usually at 8:20 a.m. Thursday mornings. Twitter: @mbona30.
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