February 2011 Wine Bargains White Wines: Casa alla Terra Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy $12 Reputed to be the favorite wine of Michelangelo, he received part of his payment for painting the Sistine chapel in wine. This crisp, fresh zippy white from the walled town of San Gimignano has elegant notes of grapefruit, mineral and lemon zest. Pampano Verdejo/Viura, Rueda, Spain $12 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate says, “…a blend of 60% Verdejo and 40% Viura fermented with native yeasts and aged on its lees with batonnage. Light straw colored, it displays a fragrant nose of mineral, white flowers, baking spices, and melon. Crisp, vibrant, and spicy, this nicely balanced effort displays reflects the excellence of the 2009 vintage in Rueda. Drink this excellent value over the next 12-18 months. “ Yellow & Blue Torrontes, Salta, Cafayate Valley, Argentina $12 / liter Yellow and Blue make…..green. This organically farmed wine is also packaged in environment friendly tetra packs. Add to that the fact that you get a full liter of wine (as opposed to a 750ml), and it adds up to a spectacular value! Fresh and lively with flavors of peach, melon and pineapple and a hint of lime. James Oatley “Tic Tok” Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Australia $12 This Sauvignon Blanc is primarily from western Australia, so it has more in common with a New Zealand Sauvignon than a south eastern Australian version. Flavors of lemon/lime, gooseberry, & freshly mown grass with a crisp finish that is perfect for flaky fish and roast chicken. Crème de Lys Chardonnay, California $11 This is full bodied, luscious California chardonnay at its best. Absolutely delicious baked apple, butterscotch and toasty oak. Ideal for pork chops and grilled chicken. Red Wines: Black Ridge Pinot Noir, California $12 This is a delicious bottle of Pinot Noir….sort of. It most certainly has 25% Zinfandel and/or Merlot in it, but that is par for the course with California Pinots under $15. It still is a great value bottle of wine. Spicy dark cherry fruit, a hint of forest floor and a medium bodied, fragrant personality. Erik Banti “Carato”, Tuscany, Italy Normally $17 Sale $12 A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Syrah, the blog at mustwine.com said it best, “If Baby Tuscan Carato had an eHarmony profile it would say something like… I’m bold but easy to get along with and well liked. I have a dry personality that most find deliciously intoxicating but I have been told that I have my immature moments. I should also mention I am a full-bodied Italian and I am looking for a nice juicy piece of meat to make dinner with. In fact if we hit it off, you may just be my perfect match leading to a perfect marriage.” Tenacion Monastrell, Alicante, Spain $9 Monastrell AKA mourvedre is usually a blending grape with Grenache and Syrah. This varietal offering shows tell tale notes of blueberry, asian spices, a roasted character and a touch of earthiness. A great match for game. Matchbook “Tinto Rey”, Dunnigan Hills, California $12 Here’s an interesting blend from the guys who started (and later sold) RH Phillips. blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah & Petite Sirah, Tinto Rey means “Red King” as Tempranillo is the King of Spanish wines. The wine is rich and fruit driven with notes of spicy blackberry and cherry with nice depth and structure. Les Hauts de Montfort “Les Magalithes” Minervois, Languedoc, France $12 Made from old vine Grenache, the wine fashions a deep ruby/purple color, plenty of pure, sweet, black raspberry and berry fruit, medium body, and a lush, silky-textured, opulent finish. Viña El Aromo Carmenere, Maule Valley, Chile $12 When done correctly, Carmenere is a really interesting glass of wine. With a structure and flavor profile somewhere between Malbec and Cabernet Franc, the flavors in the glass are blueberry, spice box, black currant, lavender and smoke. It’s wonderful with pot roast and burgers. Armador Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile $12 Wine Enthusiast Magazine gave it 90 points and said, "A top-notch value Cabernet with no flaws. The fruit on the nose is pretty and stylish but doesn't force the issue, while the palate is juicy and fresh with flavors of cola, cassis and wild berry. Not a complicated wine, but one that pushes all the right buttons. Ripe and friendly to the last drop. A lot of wine for the money. Best Buy."