Affordable Chairman's Selection Wines

Updated: Jan 4

Dear friends,

Let me offer you the largest report I have written in terms of number of wines. I have placed them in order by country, to make it easier, as follows: France (3 wines), US (6), Spain (4), Italy (5), Austria (1), New Zealand (1) and Argentina (2).

Please, Australia, Chile, Portugal, ... forgive me. I promise you will be in there soon.

I hope you enjoy them and I will be looking forward to your comments. This is very subjective and I can learn a lot from you.

Also, if you subscribe to this Website, you will be receiving automatic alerts when I post a new report. Please let me encourage you to do that.

Yours,

Ricardo Llovet







Château Boutillot 2015

Bordeaux, France


Shy nose with slight notes of cherry and cassis. And copying the back label (I agree): Medium bodied. On the palate it is dense, combining notes of ripe fruit and vanilla with a toasted finish.

Very common sort of Bordeaux table wine, but nothing to object given the price.


$9.99

JS 90 Pts.

My rating: 87 Pts.



Château de Riberon 2015

Bordeaux, France


Intense blackberry and vinosity. Acidic. One of thousands of mediocre Bordeaux. From a good year, but in my opinion, it does not show any outstanding characteristic consistent with high ratings. One more confirmation that, in most cases, if you want a good red Bordeaux you’ve got to spend your money and look for some denomination more than Bordeaux or Bordeaux Supérieur.


$14.99 WE 91 points My rating: 86 Pts.





Seigneur de Buquests 2017

Gigondas, France

Grenache, Syrah, Mourdevre


Girondas is, according to many, the second best appellation of the Southern Rhône Valley after Châteauneuf du Pape. I remember when I visited my friends Kristen & Jim in their Gard paradise. They took me to Vaqueyras and Gigondas. I did not care much for the first, but I enjoyed Gigondas town’s tasting room. In addition, the specialized press says that 2017 is a “privileged vintage”. All that induced me to listen to the wine store sommelier and spend the money. I opened it for Good Friday dinner with Sally’s lamb chop rack.

The wine had aromas of raspberry pie, strawberry, red plum and notes of American coffee. Vibrant mature fruit. However, in mouth it was nothing special and it had no evolution and almost no bouquet. I thought it should have been aged instead of sold that young. For that price many better things can be found.


$29.99

WE 91 Pts.

My rating: 89 Pts.




Vasco Urbano 2016

Livermore Valley, CA

Grenache, Syrah, Mourdevre


I had tried it last year and was impressed. Very much a good Southern Rhone style wine. Fruity and expressive. Red fruits and spice. It overdelivered for the price.

I gave it the same rating as the Girondas (above) and got it for almost 1/3 of the price.


$11.99

My rating: 89 Pts.











Besieged 2014

Sonoma County, CA

Petite Syrah, Carignane, Zinfandel, Syrah, Alicante Bousquet, Barbera, Mourdevre

Amazing the amount of varietals (Mediterranean French, Italian and Spanish) in this combination!

Powerful aroma in which I can detect very distinctively the Petite Syrah, the Zinfandel and the Syrah. Prunes as well as meaty red fruits. Some smokiness in it. Acid an lively in mouth with nice texture, a bit dusty The bouquet is a bit confusing to me, maybe because of the many varietals struggling to impose themselves. Not excellent but long lasting. Interesting wine from well-established Zinfandel producer Ravenswood.

$9.99 WE 88 Pts. My rating: 89 Pts.



Havens Bourriquot 2015

Napa Valley, CA

Proprietary blend!?


I am inserting here Steve Pollock’s tasting notes. I really enjoyed it.

“The best wine from the Havens portfolio at an incredible price. Aromas of crushed berry, kola nut, cherry liqueur and cassis. The palate is rich, expansive and elegant, filled with black fruit, olive, cassis, vanilla and creamy oak. A must try!”

This time I found a $20 wine that was worth the price.


$19.99

May Rating: 92













cloudlift PANORAMA 2014

Columbia Valley, WA

Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot

The aroma transported me to a field full of flowers in the Spring. Also several fruits like red plum, blackberry and cranberry.

The mouth feel was like silk. So nurturing! Unfortunately it had a bit more acidity than I would have wanted. Nice bouquet and long, although not complex, bouquet.

The varietals correspond to a right bank Bordeaux. In a prior report I said Califiornia beware of Washington State wines! Not I say, Bordeaux, watch!


$15.99 WE 90 Pts. My Rating: 89 Pts.



Nielson 2015

Santa Barbara County, CA

Chardonnay


As soon as I opened it, sulfide odor came to my nose. After stirring it for a while it was still coming out. The rest of the aromas were typical of a lightly oaked California Chardonnay. After 3 days in the refrigerator and with the sulfide finally gone I tasted cupcake and dry wild flowers.


$9.99

My rating: 74 Pts.










St. Francis 2016

Sonoma County, CA

Chardonnay

Beautiful wine representative of the new California Chardonnay style and abandoning the ripe, honey and resin undertones in a super buttery body associated with those wines.

Citrus with pineapple, chamomile and cherimoya. In mouth it is buttery, but in a lesser grade than most CA Chardonnays with pear revealing itself in the mature side and perhaps some salt-water taffy. Sally loved it. I went back for more.


$10.99 JD 90 Pts. My rating (tasted twice): 89, 90 Pts.



Berceo 2013

Rioja Reserva, Spain

Mostly Tempranillo


Aroma of red fruit, pastry and vanilla. In mouth it is silky, with a few remaining dusty tannins, and medium bodied. Red fruits and vanilla again, but with a bit too much acidity.

2013 was the worst vintage of the decade but they have done a decent work with this wine.


$13.99

My rating: 89 Pts.











Século 2015

Bierzo, Spain

Mencía


Mencía grape is rather unknown to the masses but it can produce very good and deep wines. It is said to be a relative of Cabernet Franc and in Portugal it is known as Touriga Nacional.

Plums and black olive. In mouth it is sort of acidic. Some bouquet denoting mote barrel aging than many of today’s wines.


$9.99

WE 91 Pts. WS 89 points

My rating: 89 Pts.










Cune Cava Brut

Penedés, Spain

Xarel-lo, Macabeo, Perellada

A surprise to see a Rioja vintner producing Penedés Cava in Catalonia.

If you’d like an affordable sparkly that is not a sweetish Prosecco and tastes more like a French Champagne, try this. Indeed, steps down from a Piper Heidsieck, but not many of us can afford to pay $40+ per bottle every day.

You will find in it citrus with some yeast, cream and, perhaps, nuts. The bubbles are fine and constant, as they should be.

$13.99 My rating: 88 Pts.



Delgado Zuleta

Jerez, Xeres, Sherry, Spain

Moscatel (Muscat)


Dessert wine.

Beautiful amber color and superlegs.

Honey, quince paste, ripe watermelon jam, apple compote, grapefruit rind and Cointreau.

Super sweet, oily, thick like honey, soft and smooth. A bit of more acidity would help it get to the next level.

Very old flavor. I could imagine old Mediterranean civilizations libating it. Have it only slightly cooled, with pastry and tea


$10.99

W&S 91 Pts. My rating: 91 Pts.






Monte del Frá 2016

Bardolino DOC, Italy

Corvina, Rondinella, Sangiovese

Light color, like a claret. Delicate aromas of strawberry, raspberry, red licorice and a bit of pepper. In mouth it is soft and volatile with same aromas plus some hints of vanilla. Soft bouquet. It reminds me of a Pinot Noir, or a Rioja Baja (conversely, Valpolicella, from this same region near Verona, reminds me of Rioja Alta).

$14.99

WE 92 Pts.

My rating: 87 Pts.







Lucignano Geografico 2015

Chianti Classico DOCG, Italy

Sangiovese, Canaiolo


Cherries, spice, medium body and excessive acidity. Disappointing for a Classico.


$9.99

My rating (tasted twice): 87, 86 Pts.















Clemente VII 2015

Chianti Classico DOCG, Italy

Sangiovese


Powerful dark cherry and red plum aromas accompanied by spice and violets. In mouth it expresses the same aromas plus prunes. A bit too acidic. Good structure, Silky and deep. A serious wine I’d say. Better than many classicos in the same price point. Keep a couple of bottles for 3 years and you’ll be rewarded. Recommended.


$12.99

JS 91 Pts., WA 88 Pts.

My rating: 90 Pts.





Bocelli Tennor Red 2015

Tuscany IGT, Italy

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese


Many in Tuscany felt constrained a couple of decades ago by the strict Chianti rules, planted French varietals, and began new wines under IGT, a lesser denomination than DOC. That was the birth of the Super-Tuscans, with some of the best wines in the World.

Well, that is not the case with this wine. Vinous. I found no virtue and several defects. This happens with some Italian wines. In this case, the label and name has already planted a shade of doubt in my mind.


$12.99

My rating (tasting twice): 83, 79 Pts.



Sartarelli 2017

Verdicchio Classico, Marche, Italy

Verdicchio


Dave, my wine store’s Sommelier, served it in his May 18th tasting. Ricky and I liked it and I got a bottle that I later shared with Sommeliers Jen Burns, Paulette Thomas and Sally in our front Porsche. Let me tell you, even mosquitos liked it. They flocked to us as soon as I opened the bottle!

We saw apple and melon in it, framed in some mineral acidity.

Typical Verdicchio worth trying.


$13.99

My rating (tasted twice): 89, 88 Pts.





Winter Krems 2017

Kremstal, Austria

Grüner Veltliner

Kremstal is one of the two best denominations for this varietal. Beautiful landscape by the Danube river.

Lots of green apple and pear. Herbal, mineral, with pungent acidity. Fresh.

Given my scarce exposure to this varietal, I could not help searching for references. It reminded me of something between Verdicchio, Muscadet and Agremont. This varietal is proving to be well adapted to Pennsylvania and I have tried some that are approaching a decent quality. Let’s watch what happens in the next years.

I liked it very much. Sally said “too acidic for me”. Great value and very refreshing for the approaching summer.


$9.99 WE 91 Pts. My rating (tasted twice): 89. 90 Pts.



Matahiwi 2018

Wairarapa, New Zealand

Sauvignon Blanc

First Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand I drink that is not from Malborough County. And very good!

Wairarapa is located in the Southernmost tip of the Northern Island, just in the same parallel as Malborough, in the Northernmost tip of the Southern Island. It was well acclaimed for its Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays

I was impressed by this wine. Lots of citrus complexity (lime, grapefruit), in a herbal and mineral envelope. Very pleasant texture.

A typical and reliable NZ Sauvignon Blanc but with above average complexity and elegance probably achieved by fermenting a small portion in barrels while the majority was fermented in stainless steel.


$9.99 My rating (tasted twice): 90, 91 Pts.



Don David 2017

Calchaqui Valley, Aregentina

Malbec


Lots of fruit jam. Red fruits, plums, … . Some hint of bakery and pastry shop. In mouth the fruit jam asserts itself and a slight sweetness confirms my pastry shop remembrance. Well structured with medium to full body. A few rough tannins are still in there. They mellowed as I drank the wine over the evening and promise some aging potential.

This is a solid, good wine.

I just do not understand why, with such pedigree, it’s selling for this price.

Inés, go quickly to the store before they run out of it.


$9.99

#65 of Top 100 Wines for 2018 by WS, 90 . JS 90 Pts.

My rating (tasted twice): 90. 91



Zuccardi 2018

Salta, Argentina

Torrontés

As soon as I opened the bottle, intense floral and fruity aromas invaded the space. White flowers, ripe melon, passion fruit and litchies. In mouth the fruits intensified. Mid acidity and full body. A pleasant white with no sharp edges but not my style.


$9.99

JS 92 points

My rating: 86