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Copyright © 2015
Forkmedia LLC

by Fred McMillin
for February 2000


Highbred Reds

Cinsaut, Frick,  


Williams-Sonoma's Sarah Pratt and I were discussing a problem we have in common...finding good red wines costing no more than $20. That pretty much eliminates Napa Valley Cabs or Carneros Pinot Noir, except when they are on sale. Anyhow, here are some others that did meet the $20 cap in my tastings.


Cabernet Sauvignon
2nd - '98 Monterra Monterey-Promise, $9
1st - '96 Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve, Cal., $20

3rd - '97 Chateau Julien, Monterey, $10
2nd - '97 Markham, Napa Valley, $19
1st - '94 Belvedere, Dry Creek Valley, $16

Pinot Noir
2nd - Lorane Valley (King Estate), Oregon, $10
1st - '97 La Crema, Sonoma Coast, $20

3rd - '97 Rosenblum Millenium(sic), Vintners Cuvee, $10
2nd - '95 Cline, California, $9.50
1st - '97, Sobon, Amador County, $12

Others (excellent values)
5th - '97 Shiraz, Clos du Bois, Alexander Valley, $16
4th - '97 Cinsaut, Frick, Dry Creek Valley, $16 (pictured)
3rd - '97 Syrah, Renaissance, No. Yuba, $20
2nd - '97 GSM Rhone Blend, Rosemount, Australia, $18
1st - '96 Shiraz, Presidents Selection, Wolf Blass, Australia, $18


The above are the best from blind tastings of about 200 reds. There were plenty of other good wines that didn't make the finals, including Rioja, Sangiovese, Chianti, affordable Bordeaux clarets imported by Seagram, etc. It's very suprising to see so many Syrah (alias, Shiraz) bottles make the list.

At this writing, the most wine for the buck in this price range according to my panel is made from the Zinfandel and the Syrah/Shiraz.


This page created February 2000