Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The real bargains: Best wine values of 2007


What are the best wine bargains for 2007? Well, let's start by defining "wine value". We'll define wine value as occurring when the perceived quality of the wine exceeds its cost. To assess this on Spirit of Wine, we simply compare the number of ***'s in each rating to the number of $$$'s.

When the ***'s meet or exceed the $$$'s, that is good value. When the ***'s exceed the $$$'s by two or more, that is exceptional value - a real bargain. So that is what we are hunting for... cases where the Spirit of Wine quality rating for the wine exceeds the cost level by two or more categories.

Keep in mind that virtually every wine reviewed in Spirit of Wine is one that was pre-selected based on a positive reputation. In fact, in most cases where one of our reviewed wines has a traditional rating (eg, Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, etc), that rating is 90 or better. So high values within Spirit of Wine already represent the "best of the best". We're tough graders.

Based on Spirit of Wine ratings for almost 300 wines reviewed in 2007, and based on the definitions above, below are the real bargains for 2007 wines (with links to reviews). They're sorted from highest ratings first. Scan the list below for wines in a style you like - you'll be assured of outstanding value .


Five star best values:

Review and Rating: ***** $$$ Oliverhill Winery "Jimmy Section" Shiraz, 2005, McLaren Vale, Australia


Rating: ***** $$ 2006 Mollydooker The Boxer Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia


Rating: ***** $$$ 2005 John Duval Entity Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia


Rating: ***** $$ NV Yalumba Winery Museum Muscat Barossa


Four star best values:

Review and Rating: ****+ $$ Coriole Shiraz, 2004, McLaren Vale, Australia


Review and Rating: **** $$ Napa Cellars Zinfandel, 2004, Napa, CA


Review and Rating: **** $$ The Black Chook, Shiraz/Viognier, 2005, McLaren Vale, Australia


Rating: **** $ Root: 1 Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile


Rating: **** $ Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley, Chile


Rating: **** $$ 2005 Clayhouse Vineyard Adobe Red, Paso Robles CA


Rating: **** $ 2004 Finnegan's Lake "Fin" Cabernet Sauvignon, CA


Rating: **** $ 2004 "1919" Syrah, Mendoza, Argentina


Rating:**** $$ 2005 The Hermit Crab, Viognier Marsanne, McLaren Vale, Australia


Rating: **** $$ 2001 Waterstone Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa, CA


Rating: **** $$ 2004 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, CA


Review and Rating: **** $ 2006 Henry's Drive Pillar Box Red, Padthaway, Australia


Rating: ****- $$ 2001 Lucas & Lewellen Cabernet Sauvignon, Valley View Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, CA


Rating: **** $$ 2005 Presidio Pinot Noir, Estate Bottled, Santa Barbara County, CA


Rating: **** $ 2004 Avila Merlot, Santa Barbara County, CA


Rating: **** $$ 2004 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot, Jackson Estates, Sonoma, Napa CA


Rating: **** $$ 2005 Boroli Madonna di Como Dolcetto d'Alba, Piedmont, Italy


Rating: ****- $ 2005 Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino di Sardegna, Italy


Rating:**** $$ 2004 Marquis Philips Merlot, South Eastern Australia


Rating: ****- $$ 2004 Michael-David Incognito Rouge, Lodi CA


Rating: ****+ $$ 1997 Qupe Syrah, Central Coast CA


Rating: **** $ 2004 Bodegas Antonio Candela Carro Tinto, Spain


Rating: **** $$ 2002 St. Francis Sonoma County Merlot - Sonoma, CA


Rating: **** $$ 2004 Charles Underwood Farleigh Zinfandel - CA


Rating: ****+ $$ 2004 Marquis Philips Shiraz - Southeastern Australia


Rating: **** $$ Alvear Solera 1927 NV Pedro Ximenez - Montilla, Spain


Rating: **** $$ Chambers Rosewood Vineyards NV Rutherglen Muscat - Australia


Three star best values:

Review and Rating: *** $ Cannery Row Chardonnay, 2005, CA


Rating: *** $ 2005 Chateau Andrea Cabernet Sauvignon - Paso Robles, CA


Rating and Review: *** $ Oakton Lane Chardonnay, 2006, Obispo County, CA


Rating: *** $ Beringer Founders' Estate Pinot Noir, 2005, CA


Rating: ***+ $ Hogue Late Harvest White Riesling, 2005, Columbia Valley, WA


Rating: *** $ 2005 Nederburg Shiraz, Western Cape, South Africa


Rating: *** $ 2004 French Rabbit Chardonnay, Vin de Pays D'Oc, France


Rating: *** $ 2006 Ruca Malen Yauquen, Cabernet/Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina


Rating: *** $ 2005 Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon, CA


Rating: *** $ 2003 Napa Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, CA


Rating: ***+ $ 2004 Ruca Malen Yauquen, Cabernet/Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina


Rating: *** $ 2003 Mirassou Merlot, CA


Rating: *** $ 2004 "2 Up" Shiraz, South Australia


Rating: *** $ 2003 Covey Run Syrah, Columbia Valley, WA


Rating: ***+ $ 2002 Cartlidge & Browne Syrah, CA


Rating: ***+ $ 2004 The Turk, Barossa Valley, Australia


Rating: *** $ 2001 Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, WA


Rating: *** $ 2004 Epicuro Aglianico, Beneventano, Italy


Rating: *** $ 2004 Las Rocas (de San Alejandro) Garnacha, Calatayud, Spain


Rating: ***+ $ 2001 Starry Night Syrah, Terra Alta Vineyard, Lodi CA


Rating: ***+ $ 2004 Fritz Windisch Alsheimer Fruhmesse Riesling Spatlese


Rating: *** $ 2004 RED Wine, St. Francis WInery, Sonoma, CA


Rating: ***- $ 2005 Chez Ray (Wine Kit) Woodbridge Ranch 11 Cabernet Sauvignon - Central Valley, CA


Rating: ***+ $ 2003 Santa Ema Syrah, Cachapoal Valley, Chile


Rating: *** $ 2005 Di Majo Norante Sangiovese, Italy


Rating: ***- $ 2002 "Two Buck Chuck" Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon, CA


Rating: ***- $ 2004 Hardys Chardonnay, South Eastern Australia


Rating: ***- $ 2002 Walter Stamp Merlot, Sonoma CA


Rating: *** $ 2003 Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap Red, Western Cape, South Africa


Rating: *** $ 2003 Boolaroo Shiraz - Victoria, Australia


Rating: ***+ $ 2004 Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon - South Africa


Reminder:
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars.
Think of them this way:
* (ONE STAR): What is this?!! - I can't finish the glass!.
** (TWO STARS): Interesting experience, but I'm ok if this is the last glass I ever drink.
*** (THREE STARS): I really enjoyed this and I'd like it again sometime; but I'll try another wine tonight too.
**** (FOUR STARS): I would refuse to drink anything else tonight.
***** (FIVE STARS): Get between me and this wine bottle at your own risk!!
+
(PLUS): A plus may be added to any level at my discretion.

Reminder: Prices mean the following:
$: Practically Free. (generally <$11 U.S.)
$$
: Value Priced. (around $12-20 U.S.)
$$$
: Moderately Priced. (around $20-35 U.S.)
$$$$
: A Splurge. (around $35-50 U.S.)
$$$$$
: Connoisseurs Unite! (generally >$50 U.S.)

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