27 June, 2008

2007 Sineann Pinot Gris - Oregon

Since I saw that a friend is in Oregon this week, I thought we'd start with a recent find from the PNW.

I first ran into this nice Pinot Gris at my local wine shop, HMB Wine & Cheese at a "Look Ma, No Cork" themed tasting. No, not a screwtop or silly pseudo-cork, but a glass stopper known as a "vino-lok selection" tops this Alsace-style green bottle. Retailing at around $18, this is a fine value for an Oregon Pinot Gris.

Sourced from the Wy'east Vineyard in Hood River Valley, the fruit provides a structured, but not overloaded base for the clean high notes of green apple, citrus and pear to stand out. I'd hesitate to call this Peter Rosback produced wine understated, but it's certainly not the typical Oregon Pinot Gris we've been accustomed to in recent times. I'd argue it's more similar to a Southern Hemisphere Sauvignon Blanc with its solid base, but certainly brings the Pinot notes forward.

I enjoyed a bottle of this with a little linguini & prawns fra diavolo with an heirloom tomato & avocado salad. Its high notes were a great balance for both the creaminess of the avocado and the heat of the pasta dish.

Retail: $18
Grade: B+

24 June, 2008

..and On With The Show. Wine for the Rest of Us.

Before getting too into the wine discussion, I wanted to chat briefly about what I'm trying to do with the wine blog. I've found, thru several years of my interest in wine, that there's a gap, that is, a place that retailers, and many wineries, have neglected to address.

Sure, it's really easy to go to Bev-Mo or your local bottleshop/grocery store and pick up some mass produced, mediocre at-best wine. Also easy is to pop into your local wineshop and pick up a >$50 bottle of Cabernet or Pinot. It will be great and if your "Wine Monger" has done their job, then you'll have a great meal.

...but what about the rest of us? There seems to be an obvious hole there between mediocre at-best and a bottle of Grand Cru Burgundy, and that's what we'll try to share. REALLY good wine for a really reasonable price...around 20 Dollars

Remember, we're not talking cheap here, but if your budget is in the gap, then you're looking for wine for the rest of us.


23 June, 2008

So, Jase.... What are the Rules and Grades?

As we started down this path and thought about what we wanted to do, that is, what's the goal of the 20 Dollar Wine Blog, it became obvious that we wanted to do things differently.

It's not about the wine, or a review, or how many points, blah, blah, blah. Let's leave that to the wine geeks (not that there's anything wrong with them, of course), but for our purposes, it's about a find, a great experience and a reasonable price....all at the same time!

Rather than do a 85-95 point schedule (yes, no wines really get below 85 and not many above 95), we'll do things much more simply. It goes like this:

A+ Awesome! Outstanding! A great wine and a great value! The best for the money!
A Great. Something that's special and you should seek out! Great value, great wine!
A- Excellent. A fine wine that brings excellent taste, quality and value
B+ Very Good. Something to seek out and enjoy with a quality meal with friends.
B Good. A quality bottle with good value for an weeknight or quiet weekend meal.

The grade is a subjective assessment of the wine's overall value, that is, how tasty is it, how well does it "fit" the style it's purporting to be and how much does it cost. A great wine that's $15 will do better than a similar tasting wine retailing for $22. Oh, and a bit about that. While we do everything we can to limit our reviews to bottles that retail for about $20, we will of course, do some that are a bit less expensive (~$13) and some that are a bit more expensive (~$27) That's +/- $7 either way. Cool?

We'll do a weekly wine review/suggestion and will also disclose other we tasted but did not merit a review. They will not be graded if they don't merit a grade of "B" or higher, for whatever reason.

Rules - We don't take payola for reviews, but sometimes we do review wine that is given to us for the purpose of reviewing. Hey, remember, this blog is free. Don't like the rules, then send us some wine to review. Or not :-)

...and, if there's anything you'd like to ask us, like an opinion, tip, or something you'd like to share, please do comment. We'll review all comments!


Jase - The 20 Dollar Wine Guy