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Affordable Chairman's Selection Wines

Dear friends, Let me offer you a new post with my wine reviews. This post is very long because I have been accumulating reviews but had not had the time to create it. I have confirmed in the store that the wines are still available. This time we will be covering 9 wines from each France and US, 8 Italy, 6 from Chile, 4 from Spain, 3 from Argentina, 2 from New Zealand and 1 each from Portugal and South Africa.

I hope you enjoy them and please send me your thoughts about the wines, whether you agree or disagree. This is partly experience, technique, art, science and subjective preference. Also don't hesitate to subscribe or to send it you your friends.

Ricardo Llovet

Château de Nalys 2018, Grenache, Syrah, Mourdèvre, Counoise, Vacarése - Châteauneuf du Pape, France

This wine was the star of our May 13th American Wine Society City of Pittsburgh Chapter blind tasting. It delivered all one would expect from a Chateauneuf du Pape including bright red fruits, licorice and pepper from the Grenache, blueberry, violets and clove from the Syrah, blackberry from the Mourdèvre and more from those other unknown to me varietals in the blend. The palate was mouth filling but also fresh with felt-like tannins and medium to big body. Elegant and long-lasting finish that left a feeling of happiness on me.

BTW, the team composed our new member Ryan, Lindsay, Allen, Nicolas and guessed the 6 wines that we tasted. Congratulations!

Apologies for recommending a wine with such a price, very much out of my usual range, but it delivers and we are fortunate to be able to have it available at the price offered by Chairman’s. It can be kept for a special occasion.

97 pts. WE, 94 pts. JS and 95 pts WS, #10 of 2021 Top 100 WS.

$65.99 My Rating: 95 pts.


Piedra Negra 2020, Malbec, Los Chacayes IG (within Valle de Uco), Argentina

Delicious aromas of blackberry and fruit paste including ripe nectarine, violets and dark chocolate. Dense with felt like tannins and good acidity level. Full body in a bold structure. Better the second day. 14.5% alcohol.

It could be a great one to cellar for a good 5 years but very good to enjoy now.

This is a Francois Lurton, the traveler winemaker originally from a famed French family. Organic grapes. I have liked all his wines I have tasted except one.

95 pts. JS


$16.99 My Rating: 93 pts

Vinha da Coutada Velha 2020, Aragonez (Tempranillo) 30%, Trincadeira 30%, Syrah (30%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal

This wine is the best bargain in this review. It delivers amazing fruit aromas in a supple structure with just a touch of oak aging. Fig marmalade, nectarine, blueberry and milk chocolate in the aroma. Licorice, coffee and pepper come up after a while. Lots of tannins but all very pleasant (pasty but silky) filling your mouth. The international varietals have a significant influence, larger than their proportion in the blend in my opinion. The legs were plentiful and persistent which suggested a buttery wine for its modest 13% alcohol content. Pleasant finish dense, soft and clean with no defects. Just a round relatively young wine not to be taken lightly. I am having great experiences with wines from Alentejo. They are humble and affordable but they are reaching a quality level that can compete with Northern Portugal wines. I love Heredade de Esporao’s wine (that Helen, Patty’s daughter shared with us as a reward from spending some time with her delightful daughters) and olive oil (you can get it in Penn Mac). 92 pts and Best Buy WE


$9.99 My Rating: 92 pts.

SIGNÆ 2015, Sagrantino, Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, Italy

Intense aroma of plum with Mediterranean herbs, hyacinth, and subtle notes of roasted chestnuts.

Very acidic in the attack, silky and rusty tannins in a dense but smooth structure. Full body wine with balsamic evolution towards the upper palate and medium to long finish. It improved the second day with the tannins becoming milder and the bouquet deeper, including notes of apricot pit and toffee. 15% alcohol.

A very good wine in my opinion deserving a beef steak with the acidity as it’s only defect but you will get used to it after the third sip.

91 pts. WS


$19.99 My Rating: 92 pts.

Château Haut Prieur La Croix 2020, Malbec, Merlot - Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux, France

I opened this wine for Jerry on June 24th for his and Kim’s visit to watch their nephew Jeff, and his group Illiterate Light at the WYEP Summer Festival.

It held to the challenge – A solid affordable Bordeaux from an excellent vintage. The aromas of black fruits and blueberry reminded me of Cahors wine, the home of Malbec before Argentina kidnapped it. Jerry detected camphor. Bold body with some powdery tannins that evolved into bouquet with time. We loved it right after pouring but it kept getting better with time. A wine to decant and let aerate for a couple of hours before degustation.

91 pts WE and Cellar Selection.


$11.99 My Rating: 91 pts.

Caprasia 2020, Bobal - Utiel-Requena DOP, Spain

Aromas of blackberry and dark chocolate. In mouth it was acidic with tannins between dusty and silky, big body and a bold structure. Slightly bitter in the aftertaste probably from over extraction. Next day the tannins were very silky and dense, the flavors had opened up and the bitterness was reduced. One of those wines that you should open the day before, as it often happens with South-eastern Spanish ones. Great aging potential. Possibly a treasure in 5-10 years. 14.5% alcohol.

Clay and limestone soil. Clay amphora used before oak barrel in the aging to try tom resemble the ancient wines made by Iberians that used amphoras inserted in holes carved in the rock that can still be seen at the ruins of the ancient town of Caprasia. Centuries old vines from two plots.

Made with organic Bobal grapes. This is the varietal indigenous of the area between Valencia and Cuenca provinces and unseen anywhere else in the World as far as I know. Years ago WS or WE called it the next great varietal. It sells very well in Europe but I hardly see it in PA. Be selective because you can bump into authentic jewels but also into mass-consumption wines. One of the wines Jerry and I appreciated more in our lives was a small production Bobal called 6th Elemento – bottle wrapped in cardboard with very interesting writings. If you find it get it!


$11.99 My Rating: 91 pts.

Il Burchino 2016, Sangiovese 85%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%, Merlot 5% - Toscana IGT, Italy

This wine seems to have been in Chairman’s forever. They probably purchased a lot of it. And that may have been a problem because people looking for the latest Chairman’s hit leave this one untouched in the shelf. However, I can tell you that I keep revisiting it and it has become a staple wine at home.

Aromas of cherries, licorice, vanilla and some leather on the nose. Medium to full-bodied with some hints in the taste of milk chocolate. Pleasant and smooth finish with the vanilla from the oak aging coming up again that leaves your throat soothed.

This wine could be referred to as a Super-Tuscan since it incorporates French varietals in the blend. This trend became in fashion a few decades ago with wineries deciding to get out of the Chianti denomination restrictions to experiment and actually give their wines a bit more body, more complexity and, above all, more conformance with the international palate.

91 pts. JS


$12.99 My Rating: 91

Infinito 2018, Monastrell - Jumilla, Spain

Intense aroma of blackberry, dry strawberry and chocolate with nutmeg notes. Full body with thick but soft tannins and alcohol evaporation towards the palate. 15% alcohol. The dry strawberry reverberates in the finish and the retronasal aroma for a long time. You need to rest and cleanse your mouth with water or have a big bite a wild bore before taking the next sip. A powerful wine saying “here I am!”.

This vintage is made with 100% Monastrell (Mourdèvre in France and Mataro in Australia). I evaluated a previous vintage in an older post that had a 15% of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. It was better, in my opinion –rounder.

I remember Ellen told me one afternoon in her lovely backyard that it was one of her favorite stapple wines.


$16.99 My Rating: 91

Artesa 2017, Chardonnay - Los Carneros, Napa, CA

Aroma of grapefruit skin, baked apple, fresh celery and oregano. A very veggie Chardonnay absent of the overpacking pine needle resin and honey that usually comes with it in CA.

In mouth it is a bit bitter, as expected from its vegetable characteristics, dense and oily. Very lubricating. Clean finish. 14.3% alcohol.

This wine is made by Codorniu, the large and old Cava winery in Penedés.

92 pts. WS, 90 pts. WE

$18.99 My Rating: 91 pts.

DeLoach 2021, Chardonnay - Edna Valley, CA

We also tasted this wine in the AWS CoP May 13th meeting. It was a blind tasting but we had the reviews available. All of our 5 teams guessed all three white wines right, and in addition to our skill, this review really helped, since it nailed it. Therefore, I am just reproducing it here: Aromas of orange blossom are layered with notes of juicy ripe fruits. White peach and butterscotch flavors are complemented by nuances of crème brûlée and chamomile. Balanced acidity and a lingering finish that is clean and crisp.

This wine is from Edna Valley, a place I visited it several times on business that offered the possibility to taste amazing strawberries in its farmer’s market, see real cowboys, have great steak, and spend a night in the unforgettable Madonna Inn, decorated for Christmas all year long with each room in a different theme with lots of mirrors, rocks and bright colors.We returned in a private trip to visit Hearst Castle, another unforgettable experience.I want to move there in my next incarnation!


$19.99 My Rating: 91 pts.

Nicolis Ambrosan 2011, Corvina, Rondinella, Croatina - Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Italy

This wine was undeniably an Amarone crafted with the appassimento method of drying the grapes on wooden trays till they become raisins before their vinification. Aromas of raisins were all over the place accompanied by bouquet of coffee, mocha and dark tobacco. The taste, however, seemed overripe to me. Silky tannins from the long aging with medium body in a creamy structure.

Although I liked it, I was expecting more for the price. Although Amarone is special, unique and great, its high price is pushing ripe wine lovers to wines from Southern Italy, South Eastern Spain and some CA denominations such as Lodi that achieve the ripeness just letting the grapes bake under the unforgiving sun in extremely dry terroir without the expensive appassimento method and at far lower price.

96 pts, VM


$49.99 My Rating: 91

Château Brun Despagne Querre 2019, Merlot 80%, Cabernet Sauvignon 20% - Bordeaux Superieur, France

Intense aromas of plum, cassis and dark cherry. Fruity, robust, full-bodied with velvety tannins. Tasty finish. 14% alcohol.

Great vintage. Time to taste a lot of Bordeaux from 2019 and 2020 at very affordable price. In this case the price was incredible! Go for it before it disappears.


$8.99 My Rating: 90

MAS 2020, Vermentino - Pays d'Oc, France

This wine was a surprise from the very beginning. What a bottle! Almost hypnotizing! And the crystal cup was so difficult to open? I ended up using my teeth but don’t do that. For my second bottle I used a big knife. The bottle was number 2038.

The wine has a strong herbal perfume - I’d say something between oregano and sandal - also lots of grapefruit peel. Other aromas were green apple candy, hey,rock rose, fennel, preserved green figs and … tell me what else you see in there. And, as per Sally’s recently recovered tasting clairvoyance: Heno de Pravia soap. Probably only Spanish readers will know how it smells. In mouth it was refreshing and very tasty with medium and unctuous body. Sort of soothing. 13% alcohol.

I have had few vermentinos and therefore cannot be trusted in terms of rating but the characteristics of this wine were original and expanded my horizons. Hence my generous rating for this low cost non-denomination wine.


$9.99 My Rating: 90 pts.

Juli 2019, Malbec 70%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30% - Mendoza, Argentina

Very high color intensity. You may notice in the picture how intensely colored were the legs.

Immediate flash of red roses and Sally said pansies. Blood orange, blueberry, dry strawberries, red pepper, oregano and perhaps anise. After several sips some cocoa came out and camphor evaporated to my upper palate. This wine has a lot going on. Significant tannic content, as expected, with some but less than expected dry roughness and acidity. 13.5% alcohol. A juicy and wild young wine that should develop very well with some years of cellaring. And a delight for drinking today. I have stocked up. Inés, our Argentinean wine expert, what do you think?

This wine is crafted by the very large winery Santa Julia. It looks like they are applying some marketing in here shortening the name to something less serious and giving it a young and playful appearance. I had low expectations biased by the name and label but after the initial shock I ended up liking them because they reflected the colorful and playful character of the wine. They could replace the “red blend” with the actual varietals though. Organic grapes is a plus.


$9.99 My Rating: 90 pts.

Lilium 2020, Zinfandel - Lodi, CA

Very aromatic as soon as I opened the bottle. Red plum, red flowers (between carnation and geranium) and red pepper followed by flashes of prune and dry strawberries from Kellogg’s cereal. Somebody would say: “you saw everything red in there” and it’s true that I find the association of smell and colors intriguing.

In mouth it was on the acidic side with very volatile aromas that coated the upper part of my palate and travelled to the Larynx. Some very slight bitterness in the evolution in the sides of my tongue. The finish was relatively lengthy for such a young wine. 14.2% alcohol. Frankly, I expected just a very fruity wine but I was surprised by its complexity and roundness … at a great price.


$9.00 My Rating: 90 pts.

Casas del Torqui 2020, Cabernet Sauvignon - Alto Totihue in Valle de Cachapoal, Chile

I did like this Chilean wine. Aromas of blackberry, chocolate and vanilla. The tannins were still there in a robust structure and there was plenty of acidity making this wine a candidate for aging. 13.5% alcohol.

91 pts JS


$10.99 90 pts.

Amaranta (from Tenuta di Ulisse) 2019, Montepulciano - Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Italy

Aroma of ripe red berries and chocolate. In mouth it is almost semi-sweet with dense feathery tannins in an almost creamy structure with just barely the necessary acidity. Pleasant aftertaste. 15% alcohol.

I recommended it to Rich thinking about prior vintages which was marvelous but this one is a step down. Either it was a hotter Summer or the grapes were collected later but the wine lost its freshness and its aroma was a bit too ripe. The raw material is there so that I hope that they will be able to return to excellent from good. The label was more beautiful last year too. Still a pretty good wine.


$19.99 My Rating: 90 pts.

Lomond 2022, Sauvignon Blanc - Cape Agulhas, S. Africa

Nonie and I liked this wine. I agree with the winemaker’s notes: This wine has a delicious melon and citrusy lemon-grapefruit nose with subtle herbs in the background. The palate has great mouthfeel and balance with good depth and texture. The acidity shines through on the lingering finish with mineral hints. 13.5% alcohol.

The vineyards are in the southernmost point of S. Africa in an area exposed to the wind generated by the confluence of the Atlantic with the Pacific, and some would say the Antarctic oceans.


$9.99 My Rating: 89 pts.

Mud House 2021, Sauvignon Blanc - Malborough Co., New Zealand

Winemaker notes: Beautiful aromatic notes of snow pea, nettles and guava provide the perfect introduction to a palate of melon, citrus and grapefruit flavors. Mouthwatering ripe acidity provides a wine of great balance and harmony.

In my view this wine was immediately herbal with mint, dill and … what other herb to you smell? After a few seconds other aromas such as ripe apple, green apple, pineapple and white flower (honeysuckle Sally said) emerged. Right acidity. light body, really refreshing. 13% alcohol.

One of those many Malborough Co. Sauvignon Blanc’s I really enjoy. We have had several bottles of it given its bang for the buck.

90 pts. JS


$9.99 My Rating: 89 pts.

Mills Reef 2022, Sauvignon Blanc - Malborough Co., New Zealand

I imagined myself walking in a wet green pasture surrounded by cows. So grassy! Underneath and after paying more attention I could see overripe Meyer lemon, grapefruit and passion fruit but all of them in that fresh and grassy environment.


$9.99 My Rating: 89 pts.

Rossobastardo 2019, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sagrantino - Umbria IGT, Italy

Very fruity and flowery aroma. Forward and intense red plum, blueberry, hyacinth. In mouth it was slightly sweet, dense, silky with the right acidity and developed intense quince paste taste. Almost chewy structure certainly mouth filling. Soft in the throat. 13.5% alcohol. A very nice fruity wine surprisingly good for the red tacky label and name. Great price.


$9.99 My Rating: 89 pts.

Voces (from El Viajero) 2019, Sonoma Blend - CA

From Fernando Candelario, a Mexican winemaker that is actually producing very interesting wines. He has a collection showcasing paintings in the labels.

Intense aroma of blackberry with hints of dry pansies, paprika, clay and possibly cinnamon. Slight sweetness in the attack denoting a sunny terroir with some acidity that persisted into the aftertaste a bit unpleasantly. The texture was of very fine from silky tannins with medium to full body. 14.5% alcohol.


$15.99 My Rating: 89 pts.

Tenuta Degli Dei Le Redini 2019, Merlot, Alicante - Tuscany, Italy

This wine showed immediately the moist cave that I find in many Chiantis. Also, blackberry with hints of cinnamon and Mediterranean herbs. In mouth it was acidic with domesticated tannins and medium body. Pleasant finish. I found it nicely drinkable and pleasant but I was surprised by the rating … and the price.

94 pts JS


$21.99 My Rating: 89 pts.

Corralito 2017, Syrah, San Antonio Valley, Chile

This is fantastic raw material, organically and biodynamically grown, with intense aroma of concentrated blackberry, tons of silky tannins, medium to big body and impressive structure. 14.5% alcohol. However, the smell of sulfide overcomes the whole experience. Why did you let them do that to your wine? This is a frequent defect I find in many Chilean and Australian wines. They seem to me overzealous in preventing oxidation and use sulfites at will. Please, take a little bit more risk and constrain your use of sulfites.

In summary: These grapes have great potential if the wine is well crafted. Watch future vintages.

Krish, I have tasted a good number of Chilean wines for this post so that your friend does not think that I am overfocussed on Old Continent and US wines. I’d be interested about his opinion on my perception about the overuse of sulfites.

95 pts JS 91 pts WA


$15.99 My Rating: 88 could go up to 94 without the sulfide.

Solis Lumen Orange Wine 2021, Muscat Blanc aux Petis Grains - Vin de France (no denomination)

This is a type of wine that many wineries are trying lately, above all in South-eastern US and Southern France. Made with white grapes vinified in their own skins. That’s how reds are made. Whites are made with the must, separated from the skins. This process yields “orange” color wines. I have had very few yet but so far I have not been impressed or repelled by any.

This one clearly shows aroma of apricot with notes of grapefruit, watermelon and (as per winemaker’s notes) juniper. Very interesting aroma and very appropriate for Summer.

In mouth it shows a little bit of tannins, unproper of a white. 13% alcohol. Again, interesting. However, the attack is very acidic and so is the aftertaste. That is the only problem I have with this wine. The aftertaste was persistent but also persistent was the sensation of burn in my throat. Once they correct that this wine could be very promising.


$9.99 My Rating: 88 pts.

Primo Rosado 2021, Txacoli - Txacoli Zarautz, Spain

This wine is so different!!! And it has intense aromas of watermelon and carnation, and also an herb, with a base of cherries diluted in apple juice. Very acidic, and with some fizz as it should be for a Txacoli. 13% alcohol. Fit to stand up to a clay pot with clams stewed in garlic and onion

Basque people live for this wine and enjoy it standing at bars while eating some tapas and pintxos. I’d say you’d love it or hate it.

90 pts. WE


$9.99 My Rating: 88 pts.

Gormaz Crianza 2016, Tempranillo - Ribera de Duero, Spain

Review from Jan Stetler:

Dark garnet color...

A good nose of rich, ripe, concentrated black fruits...upfront minerality and some new oak...Serious...

Full bodied entry on the black fruits...dry...extracted...distinct tannins which follow into the dry finish...okay this is not an overly complex wine...but that said this wine packs a punch and demands food!...

This is a very concentrated wine for $11...some may be put off by this wine’s dryness and robust tannins...but this Old-Style, Old-World wine will pair beautifully with rich fatty meat dishes...Slow Roasted Beef Chuck...Whole Roasted Duck or even better get the idea...Very Good QPR. 14% alcohol.

92 pts WE

$10.99 My Rating: 88 pts.

Château les Maurines 2019, Cabernet Sauvignon - Bordeaux Superieur AOP, France

Amazingly shy aroma. In mouth it improved with typical Bordeaux flavors of cassis, ripe wild berries and bell pepper. Pasty tannins in there that will give it aging capability and medium to full body typical of this vintage. 13% alcohol. Better after bottle was open for several hours. A modest but authentic Bordeaux.

90 pts. WE

$11.99 My Rating: 88 pts.

Grey Ventisquero 2020, Cabernet Sauvignon - Maipo Valley, Trinidad Vineyard, Chile

And another one of those great raw material and huge potential wines badly treated with way too much sulfite. What’s going on in Chile? Why do they do this to their wines? I feel tempted to go wild with conspiracy theories and speculate that they have been infiltrated by competitors from other countries disguised as winemaking consultants that provide ill advice to mitigate an otherwise strong competition. I have sent an email to Wines of Chile providing my thoughts (but not the conspiracy theory).

Placing the sulfite and aroma aside, this wine tasted of crashed raspberries, plum and prune. Medium body with silky tannins and a bit in the acidic side. 13.5% alcohol.

92 pts WE, 89 pts WS

$12.99 My Rating: 88 pts. could have been higher without the sulfide aroma.

Doña Dominga 2022, Chardonnay - Colchagua Valley, Chile

Fresh with aromas of green apple and greenish things like oregano. Sally loved it. I was not impressed. 14% alcohol.

$9.99 My Rating: 87 pts.

Fat Bastard 2020, Syrah - Pays d'Oc, France

Shy aroma and full body. Modest but not unpleasant Syrah. Taste of blackberries, Mediterranean herbs, clove and black licorice. 13.5% alcohol. Their Website is funny.

$10.99 My Rating: 87 pts.

Fiabe di Carta 2021, Barbera - Barbera DOC, Italy

As soon as I smelled it I got a shot of cumin that later faded away and gave way to cranberry and then after some stirring to a bunch of red roses (a lot of the them).

In mouth it was aqueous with shy powdery tannins and light to medium body with some saltiness. Clean but modest finish. 13% alcohol.

Nothing close to my intro to Barbera with the Marchesi di Barolo that opened that world to me. On the other hand, good opportunity to detect the roses typical of Piedmont varietals.

$11.49 My Rating: 87 pts.

Infinito 2018, Malbec - Mendoza, Argentina

Aromas of prickly pear, blackberry and very light hints of violet and chocolate. Some tannins still there with right acidity and medium body. Not much bouquet. 14% alcohol. Pleasant. The type of wine many casual drinkers would like but a bit plain and nothing special for me. I would have never guessed the vintage since it seemed younger to me.

92 pts WE.

$12.99 My Rating: 87 pts.

Alexander Valley Vineyards 2019, Chardonnay - Alexander Valley, CA

This wine had a rather vegetable character for a Chardonnay. Aromas of fennel and green pepper came up immediately followed by jasmine and apple. In mouth it has a pinch of acidity in a creamy structure. Pine needle and wood came up in the aftertaste. Sally said clean, very alcoholic with shy aroma and bouquet.

88 pts WS, 89 pts. WA

$6.99 (half bottle) My Rating: 87 pts.

Domaine des Ballouettes 2021, Melon de Bourgogne - Muscadet de

Sèvre et Maine sur lie, France

I agreed with, and have summarized, Chairman’s Selection review:Salty, mineral edge adds interest to the mature citrus and pear fruits. The palate is juicy and balanced with wonderfully integrated acidity and a lingering finish.

$12.99 My Rating: 86 pts.

Domaine Vetriccie 2020, 45% Sciaccarellu, 35% Niellucci, 20% Syrah - Corse AOP, France

Jan Stetler’s review: Nice fragrant nose of black fruits...ripe...hints of minerality...

Medium bodied entry on the palate...dry...a very drinkable crisp, tart acidity...fine tannins...ripe black fruit follows from the nose...tannins and the stoney minerality linger mid palate...dry finish...the rich black fruits and very satisfying acidity make for an enjoyable glass. This is a very good food wine and will pair well with a variety of dishes...a good value at this price point...

From 1 plot of land, sustainable practices, no herbicides. Aged 12 months in concrete vats. 12.5% alcohol.

$12.99 My Rating: 86 pts.

Château Noaillac 2019, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot - Medoc Cru Burgeois, France

Shy typical Bordeaux aroma. In mouth, typical young Bordeaux dusty tannins and acidity, slightly aqueous. It, however, has that refined depth and bouquet that makes Bordeaux so attractive and recognizable. Its aftertaste is long but slightly sour. 13.5% alcohol. It will improve with aging. Now 86 pts. which is low for a Cru Burgeois. 2019 was a highly acclaimed vintage with huge ratings. Allen and I purchased some wine futures of several other wineries that I have still not tried. However, to date, I have found 2019s fine but not comparable with 2010s, 2016s or even some 2012s and 2015s.

91 pts. JS

$13.99 My Rating: 86 pts.

Redemption 2017, Zinfandel - Dry Creek, CA

This wine displayed intense and wonderful aroma of ripe blackberry and raspberry jam with peach and notes of violets, turkish spice blend and maybe paprika. The cork was tainted very dark and when I touched it I got my finger tainted with tannins that were difficult to wash out. See cork picture.

All that was very promising since I like big reds. However, as soon as it touched the tip of my tongue I noticed the sweetness. I did not find it pleasant. It has just enough acidity and the structure was dense with felt-like tannins. Lots going on in mouth but shallow aftertaste unexpected in a wine 5 vintages old with 16 months in oak aging (as per the back label).

The high alcoholic grade of 14.5% combined with the remaining sweetness made me think that 2017 had a hot Summer in Alexander Valley. I then checked in WS Vintage Chart and this is what it said: Hot and unusually dry growing season led to wildfires in October; ripe wines with variable quality". 2018 and 2019 have much better ratings, so that I will give them another opportunity next year since the structure and the aromatic intensity where there.

$13.99 My Rating: 85 pts.

Luis Felipe Edwards 2022, Sauvignon Blanc - Valle de Leyda, Chile

As a note of interest, it did have asparagus aroma and, after reading the winemaker’s notes I could convince myself that it had some resemblance of tomato leave smell. Other than that I did not fall in love with this one and it seemed a bit vinous to me.

Chilean Sauvignon Blanc do not smell or taste as the paradigm ones from the Loire Valley, Bordeaux and Malborough Co..They are out there by themselves to me behaving as a different varietal.

$9.99 My Rating: 83 pts.

Vigne de Moreschi 2021, Pinot Grigio - Delle Venezie, Italy

Citrus and white flowers aromas.One more of the zillions of Delle Venezie Pinot Grigios.When feeling for a taste of that varietal I always look for Collio, Colli Orientali del Friuli or Trentino Alto Adige.

$9.99 My Rating: 79 pts.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Chardonnay 2018 - Horse Heaven Hills, WA

Shy aroma with some Meyer lemon and apricot. In mouth it was surprisingly and unpleasantly sweet. Very interesting that a with a 14.5% alcoholic grade would still have so much residual sugar. I have seen that before from that appellation with other varietals such as Riesling and Gewurstraminer. It must be very sunny up there!

92 pts. JS, 90 pts. WE

$15.99 My Rating: 76 pts.

Santa Emma 2019, Cabernet Sauvignon - Maipo Valley, Chile

Sulfide aroma with some hints of prune, dry herbs and, believe it or not, baked apple with cinnamon. The back label talked about red fruits and cherries … in mouth it was acidic and with medium body but it did not show evolution or bouquet and did not do anything for me. 13.5% alcohol. It reminded me of a bulk 2 La Mancha wine. I cannot share the expert’s rating 92 pts. JS, 90 pts. WS and Smart Buy WS.

And, as commented in other Chilean wine reviews in this post.I sent an email to Wines of Chile trying to help with my honest opinion about the use of Sulfite.People who do not have the ability to smell sulfide, and I have known many, would rate this wine higher.

$9.99 My Rating: 75 pts.

J. Wilkes 2020, Pinot Blanc - Santa Maria Valley, CA

It was very difficult for me to perceive any aroma. The taste was bland and slightly vinegary. 14.5% alcohol. I did not agree with WE in their rating whatsoever. May be a different production lot or a degraded bottle?

Experts’ opinion: “great acid structure”. 91 pts WE and Editor’s Choice

Santa Maria Valley is in a zone of California I’ve always found intriguing. Driving north from Santa Barbara, across the mountains you’ll find Solvang with its Old Danish village, then Lompoc, followed by Sisquoc. The names sound amazing to me, the town has an old Franciscan mission and you breath the spirit of the far West. It actually has some nice vineyards and cost-competitive wines.

$12.99 My Rating: 75 pts.

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