Wine thread

HuskyHawk

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Cabernet sauvignon recs for under $20?

Last week, I was at a friend's house and had my first cab in a few years and it was excellent. With cool, rainy weather this evening, I wanted to pick up a bottle for tonight.

Depends on what you have available to you.
I sometimes find this at $20, but it may be more. I like it a lot. Hess Allomi Cabernet | Top Selling Wine|The Hess Collection
I used to like the Simi Alexander Valley, but now it is "Sonoma County" and is not as good.
Alexander Valley Vineyards has a Cab that is about $18 and is quite nice
Franciscan Napa Valley Cab is good.

Sometimes you can find something browsing. For California, aside from big names, I will seek out anything that says Estate Grown. Beyond that, it should at least be grown and cellared by or produced and cellared by, and come from a AVA that is not "California", and preferably narrower than "Sonoma County" or "North Coast". California Wine Regions - View AVAs and Varietals By Region (cawineclub.com)
 
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Cabernet sauvignon recs for under $20?

Last week, I was at a friend's house and had my first cab in a few years and it was excellent. With cool, rainy weather this evening, I wanted to pick up a bottle for tonight.
I am hard to please with store-bought Cabs at that price range, which is why I stock up on deals when I find them. Usually inexpensive Bordeauxs from great vintages and hold them for a year or ten; or Ty Caton from Sonoma when they have it on Last Bottle for a deep discount. Neither of those will help you today.

For CA Cabs otherwise in that price range I would look for a Kendall Jackson reserve, which I have found to be reliable.

Your best value in store-bought Cabs in that range is probably going to be Chilean. Look for Cousino Macul Antiguas Reserva. That is one of our honeymoon wines (we went to Costa Rica) and I always buy it when I see it. It holds up pretty consistently across vintages. IIRC they use old vines that they transplanted from France before phylloxera hit and they therefore have some of the oldest vines.
 
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Went with a '18 Marietta Arme.

Bottled and grown on premises in the North Coast of Sonoma. Their grapes are grown over three locations in the area (Geyserville, McDowell, Yorkville).

Highly recommended by the owner: at $27, over what I wanted to spend but after 18 months of 500 ml mini-boxes of Bota and Black Box (we're both trying to drink less and both brands' Pinor Noir is shockingly decent) I felt the need to treat ourselves to something decent.

Looking forward to trying it later this evening along with some postin' and toastin'.
 
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HuskyHawk

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Went with a '18 Marietta Arme.

Bottled and grown on premises in the North Coast of Sonoma. Their grapes are grown over three locations in the area (Geyserville, McDowell, Yorkville).

Highly recommended by the owner: at $27, over what I wanted to spend but after 18 months of mini-boxes of Bota and Black Box (we're both trying to drink less and both brands' Pinor Noir is shockingly decent) I felt the need to treat ourselves to something decent.

Looking forward to trying it later this evening along with some postin' and toastin'.

The Botta Box and Black Box is not appreciably worse than most $8-10 stuff. Never had the Marietta, but it seems to fit the description I was going for. For U.S. wines: know who made it and know where the grapes come from. If you don't know, that's a big red flag. It may be decent, but it's luck of the draw. So much crap on the end of the aisle at the liquor store with a splashy label is just bulk produced from who knows where and bottled. Usually "on sale" from $24 to $16.99, when it's a $10 bottle.

Let us know how it is.
 
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Cabernet sauvignon recs for under $20?

Last week, I was at a friend's house and had my first cab in a few years and it was excellent. With cool, rainy weather this evening, I wanted to pick up a bottle for tonight.
Try Indian Wells should be around $17-18
 

HuskyHawk

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Not impressed. Pretty subdued and acidic. Taste the alcohol more than any other note (dark fruits, caramel, tobacco).

Disappointing. It is 14.6% which is slightly high.
 

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Not impressed. Pretty subdued and acidic. Taste the alcohol more than any other note (dark fruits, caramel, tobacco).
If you didn't finish the bottle I'd be interested to see how it tastes tonight. Sometimes the booze blows off with aeration; the Vinturi helps accelerate that.
 
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If you didn't finish the bottle I'd be interested to see how it tastes tonight. Sometimes the booze blows off with aeration; the Vinturi helps accelerate that.
Finished the bottle. The cab I had the other week was Joel Gott, which sells for around $15. Loved that wine.
 

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Finished the bottle. The cab I had the other week was Joel Gott, which sells for around $15. Loved that wine.
Yeah that's a pretty dependable one.
 

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Yeah that's a pretty dependable one.
I've never really given Gott a thought, due to a prejudice against consortiums like Trinchero. Then again, I buy a lot of Diageo and my current tequila for margaritas is Tres Agaves, so it's not like there's a little hypocrisy in my own liquor cabinet.
 

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I've never really given Gott a thought, due to a prejudice against consortiums like Trinchero. Then again, I buy a lot of Diageo and my current tequila for margaritas is Tres Agaves, so it's not like there's a little hypocrisy in my own liquor cabinet.
I don’t buy it. Friends of ours are fans and they usually bring it when they come over for dinner. Diageo is hard to avoid though. They own Guinness!
 

HuskyHawk

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I've never really given Gott a thought, due to a prejudice against consortiums like Trinchero. Then again, I buy a lot of Diageo and my current tequila for margaritas is Tres Agaves, so it's not like there's a little hypocrisy in my own liquor cabinet.
I don’t buy it. Friends of ours are fans and they usually bring it when they come over for dinner. Diageo is hard to avoid though. They own Guinness!

Diageo owns your favorite Scotch distillery too. And several others. As with spirits, I feel like you're going to get competently made stuff with the mega brand wines. It's just not likely to be as unique and interesting. Constellation has a ton in every category too.
 

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Diageo owns your favorite Scotch distillery too. And several others. As with spirits, I feel like you're going to get competently made stuff with the mega brand wines. It's just not likely to be as unique and interesting. Constellation has a ton in every category too.
I don't know if Diageo made significant or even noticable changes to the taste/formulations/recipes of the distillery brands they purchased. My issue with Trainchero is that they more or less "design" wines for consumption within a narrow price range and according to (more or less unrefined, to me) public tastes, rather than letting the grapes speak for themselves. Remember, these were the guys who created Sutter Home white zinfandel. Other wines they carry are probably perfectly quaffable, but as you sort of note, someone willing to look around for better/more unique within that price range will likely find it.
 
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Hnet.com-image.jpg

Had this the other night it was fantastic.
 

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The Montelena is going to have to wait. The restaurant we were going to called to tell us power was out and they're cancelling all reservations. I'd brought the bottle up from the cellar a few hours ago - first time it's been standing on end in 18 years. It's a hard reservation to come by but I'm hoping they do the right thing and get us in soon.

We're hoping we don't end up like Miles in Sideways.
 

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The Montelena is going to have to wait. The restaurant we were going to called to tell us power was out and they're cancelling all reservations. I'd brought the bottle up from the cellar a few hours ago - first time it's been standing on end in 18 years. It's a hard reservation to come by but I'm hoping they do the right thing and get us in soon.

We're hoping we don't end up like Miles in Sideways.
Did that Albariño ever open up to your liking, or do you regret the purchase?
 

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Did that Albariño ever open up to your liking, or do you regret the purchase?
For $15 a bottle it's hard to regret the purchase. It got better, and while I'm not in love with it, it'll all be consumed Wife likes it more than I do. Martin Codax is my baseline as a reliable example. This stuff is a bit more mineraly/flinty and I think it would better complementing dishes with a creamier/butterier sauce than the acidic stuff I often make with fish. Just my opinion though.
 

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For $15 a bottle it's hard to regret the purchase. It got better, and while I'm not in love with it, it'll all be consumed Wife likes it more than I do. Martin Codax is my baseline as a reliable example. This stuff is a bit more mineraly/flinty and I think it would better complementing dishes with a creamier/butterier sauce than the acidic stuff I often make with fish. Just my opinion though.
I’m constantly amazed at how much of a difference temperature makes with white wine. I feel like each one has its own perfect temp for the ideal expression of the wine, and it’s always some number of degrees less than fridge cold. When I am at a restaurant I always tell them I don’t want the chiller, and I’m surprised how often they are surprised by that.
 

HuskyHawk

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I’m constantly amazed at how much of a difference temperature makes with white wine. I feel like each one has its own perfect temp for the ideal expression of the wine, and it’s always some number of degrees less than fridge cold. When I am at a restaurant I always tell them I don’t want the chiller, and I’m surprised how often they are surprised by that.
I think many Americans drink white wine too cold, and red wine too warm. But I agree some whites need to be colder than others, for me that seems like the ones with the melon or lime profile.
 

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Did that Albariño ever open up to your liking, or do you regret the purchase?
FYI- I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Almost through bottle 1 and only 5 to go!
 

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I think many Americans drink white wine too cold, and red wine too warm. But I agree some whites need to be colder than others, for me that seems like the ones with the melon or lime profile.
I can't remember at which one of the countless vineyard tours or wine in-services I attended when lived and bartended in San Francisco for a year that I heard this (more than 30 years ago), but one of the sommelier people suggested that you should take whites out of the fridge ten to fifteen minutes before serving, and that you should put red wines in the fridge ten to fifteen minutes before serving.
 

HuskyHawk

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I can't remember at which one of the countless vineyard tours or wine in-services I attended when lived and bartended in San Francisco for a year that I heard this (more than 30 years ago), but one of the sommelier people suggested that you should take whites out of the fridge ten to fifteen minutes before serving, and that you should put red wines in the fridge ten to fifteen minutes before serving.

That aligns with what they told me in my wine class at UCSC. If you don't have dedicated red temp controlled storage that works. Hard for most restaurants to get it right though. Vast majority of reds will be room temp.
 

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Finally had that bottle of Montelena at our first "real" dinner out since 2019. Drinkable, but past peak, probably by two years or so. Took forever to open up, lots of saddle leather, licorice, pipe tobacco kinda smothered whatever berries and fruit were left in there. But the worst part was that we were really looking forward to this meal - hard reservation to get as it's a small byob place, only six tables, but highly regarded. And yet I honestly think that the two dishes we had, I could've done better at home. I had a 14oz thick pork chop, but the most interesting thing on my plate was a battered artichoke. Wife's veal was overcooked. The shared appetizer they offered was beets with a citrus glaze, which I expected to be a few roasted beets with some burrata, but what came out looked like a beet meatloaf... seriously like 2 lbs of beets and no citrus kick. I have no idea they were thinking with that presentation. Dessert was just OK, and it's 3:45am and I've already hit the crapper twice.
 

HuskyHawk

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Finally had that bottle of Montelena at our first "real" dinner out since 2019. Drinkable, but past peak, probably by two years or so. Took forever to open up, lots of saddle leather, licorice, pipe tobacco kinda smothered whatever berries and fruit were left in there. But the worst part was that we were really looking forward to this meal - hard reservation to get as it's a small byob place, only six tables, but highly regarded. And yet I honestly think that the two dishes we had, I could've done better at home. I had a 14oz thick pork chop, but the most interesting thing on my plate was a battered artichoke. Wife's veal was overcooked. The shared appetizer they offered was beets with a citrus glaze, which I expected to be a few roasted beets with some burrata, but what came out looked like a beet meatloaf... seriously like 2 lbs of beets and no citrus kick. I have no idea they were thinking with that presentation. Dessert was just OK, and it's 3:45am and I've already hit the crapper twice.

Sorry to hear that. Both the wine and the meal. I do like my Cabs with a lot of herbal, tobacco, and pencil lead though. I should have added “dining out is overrated” in the lessons from Covid thread. I always thought it was but I’m beyond convinced now. I make myself “street tacos” about 3 times a week now. Have become pretty good at it. Used a leftover pork tenderloin recently, with a Habererno Jamaican BBQ sauce and some ancho chili and cayenne.

Yet we got lucky. Wife‘s birthday meal on Tuesday at Davio’s was terrific. Best Calamari I’ve had. She had goat cheese tortelloni in some delicious sauce with fennel pollen and lemon. I had seared scallops with a lemon risotto that had Italian bacon and sugar snap peas. Their bread is amazing as well.

To stay on thread we tried three wines, all listed as Davio’s Reserve by Peter Merriam. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay were very good, the Sauvignon Blanc just ok. All were Russian River Valley. Peter Merriam is a native of Maine, lived in Boxford, MA. Bought a prime vineyard in 2000 that used to just supply other wineries and built a winery. Merriam Vineyards - About Us
 
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