March 2010

Blue's Best Buys

By: Anthony Dias Blue
Anthony Dias Blue's "Blue Reviews" are one of the most popular features of THE TASTING PANEL's print edition. Here are some extra reviews of Andy's favorite wines and spirits tasted over the past month. Mid-priced or wallet-friendly, each of these selections deserves its "Best Buy" rating because of its outstanding value-to-price ratio.

The twisty icon indicates bottles with screwcap or other non-cork closure.
89 Kenwood 2007 Merlot, Sonoma County ($16)
Dense and juicy with ripe plum and black raspberry fruit; supple, smooth and showing a long, soft finish.

90 X Winery 2007 Red X, North Coast ($15)
Explosive and juicy certified organic blend with lush berry fruit and vanilla oak; fresh and showing bright acidity and lovely texture.

88 Bodegas Navarro Lopez 2007 Granrojo Rojo, Castilla ($12)
Crisp and juicy with clean flavors of plum, raspberry and racy acidity; supple, smooth and an excellent accompaniment to food. 90% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

88 King Estate Winery 2008 next Riesling, Washington ($15)
Juicy, dry and bright with tangy peach and lime; fresh and tangy with balance and good length.

90 Clayhouse Wines 2007 Adobe Red Central Coast ($15)
Six varieties combine to make a fresh, juicy wine with gobs of berry fruit and excellent balance; smooth and frisky with lots of charm and a long finish. 44% Zinfandel, 32% Petite Sirah, 16% Syrah, 5% Malbec, 4% Grenache, 2% Mouvèdre.

89 Robert Mondavi 2007 Private Selection Meritage, California ($11)
Bright, tangy and juicy with red plum and soft herbs; lively, fresh and nervy, supple and long with good balance; a remarkable value. 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, 2% Cab Franc.

90 Chateau St. Jean 2007 Fumé Blanc, Le Petit Etoile Vineyard, Russian River Valley ($20)
Fresh and juicy with bright fruit, minerals and lively acidity; some oak nuance but a crisp, tangy core dominates.

90 Domaine Vincent Delaporte 2008 Sancerre, France ($30)
Smooth and elegant with bright, pure citrus and spice; long, lush and juicy with lovely balance.


Candor NV Merlot, Lot 2, Central Coast ($20)
A stylish multi-vintage wine that is skillfully crafted; smooth and fresh plum and blackberry fruit are balanced by mature flavors of chocolate, spice and oak.

90 Joseph Drouhin 2007 Chablis Premier Cru, France ($38)
Smooth texture and crisp, lively fruit with flinty minerals; clean, pure and juicy with good length and classic style.


Buehler Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($28)
Bright and smooth with ripe plum and black raspberry fruit; supple and balanced with lovely pure varietal identity; fresh, balanced and long.


Columbia Crest 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Columbia Valley ($27)
Fragrant and smooth with sweet oak, ripe plum and clean, fresh flavors; supple and long with plenty of charm and style.

90 Cambria Winery 2008 Pinot Noir, Julia's Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley ($25)
Crisp and bright with black raspberry and cherry fruit; fresh and graceful with supple texture and a long, juicy finish; balanced and stylish.

93 Shafer Vineyards 2007 Merlot, Stags Leap District ($48)
Rich and showing lovely plum and black raspberry fruit; smooth and ripe with excellent acidity and balance; long and balanced with great charm and depth.

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