Great Values in Red Wines from $9.95 to $225

Whereas chilled white wines are “de rigueur” in warm weather, red wines take front stage in cold weather. After tasting around 200 red wines in the last couple months, here is the cream of the crop.

Pinot Noir

My favorite red with chicken, duck, grilled salmon and most veggies.

  • Ryder Estate Pinot Noir Central Coast 2017 — Great bargain at $14.
  • Adelsheim Pinot Noir Ribbon Springs Vineyard (Oregon) 2016 — Lovely at $20.
  • J. Lohr Pinot Noir Arroyo Seco Fog’s Ranch 2017 — J. Lohr has become one of the great wine producers of the world.  Excellent at $27.99.
  • Matzinger Davies Pinot Noir Eola Amity Hills (Oregon) 2015 – $40.
  • Sosie Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Spring Hill Vineyard 2015 — Cote de Beaune Premier Cru quality at $43.
  • Emeritus Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Hallberg Ranch Wesley’s Reserve 2016 — Cherries and spice at $44.
  • Chappellet Pinot Noir Grower Collection Dutton Ranch 2018 — Deep cherry flavor with tender tannins at $49.
  • ROAR Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Sierra Mar Vineyard 2018 — Classic at $55.
  • MacRostie Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Thale’s Vineyard 2017— Lush texture and bright fruit-distinctive at $55.
  • Chappellet Pinot Noir Grower Collection Russian River Valley Apple Lane Vineyard 2018 — Blackberries, cherries and spice.  Try with duck with cherry sauce at $60.
  • Yamill Valley Pinot Noir Tall Poppy McMinnville (Oregon) 2014 — Funny name; excellent vino at $65.
  • Migration Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Running Creek Vineyard 2017 —Excellent with roasted chicken at $70.
  • Goldeneye Pinot Noir Anderson Valley The Narrows Vineyard 2017 — Noteworthy balance of fruit and acidity with hints of forest floor and dark cherries at $86.
  • Sea Smoke Ten Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills 2017 — “Lavender and blackberries.” Perfect wine to show off a Riedel Pinot Noir glass.  It is sad to serve a great Pinot Noir out of a Bordeaux glass, which is standard procedure in a great majority of restaurants.  The difference is astounding at $120.

Great Values in Cabernet  Sauvignon and Other Red Wines

  • Trapiche Broquel Malbec (Argentina) 2017 — Great Bargain at $9.99.
  • Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza (Argentina) 2019 — Organically grown at $11.
  • Barossa Ink Shiraz 2016 — “Best drunk when not wearing light-colored clothes.”  At $14.99.
  • J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon Seven Oaks Paso Robles 2018 — Consistent winner at $17.
  • Marques de Caceres Rioja Reserva 2014 — Only produced in best years from old vines at $17.95.
  • Zuccardi Q Malbec Valle de Uco (Argentina) 2018 — From vines at 3,000’plus elevation at $18.
  • Zuccardi Q Cabernet Franc Valle de Uco 2018 at $18.95.
  • Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2016 — From one of the two oldest, continuously operating wineries in California. A consistent winner at $18.95.
  • Zolo Cabernet Franc Reserva Mendoza 2017 — Sweet tobacco and spice. Try with a cheeseburger at $19.
  • Chateau Huara Grave (Bordeaux) 2016 — From iconic wine maker Denis DuBourdieu at $22.
  • Chateau de la Huste (Fronsac) 2016 — Super value at $24.
  • J. Lohr Pure Paso Proprietary Red Wine Paso Robles 2017 — Cabernet and Petite Sirah at $29.95.
  • PSAGOT EDOM Jerusalem 2014 — Successful Bordeaux blend at $29.99.
  • Il Borro Toscano 2015 — From Salvatore Ferragamo, almost unrivaled at this price at $45.
  • Macán Classico Rioja 2014 — Joint venture between Vega Sicilia and Benjamin de Rothschild.  How could it not be something special at $49?
  • Rodney Strong Symmetry Alexander Valley 2014 — Successful Meritage at $49.
  • Raymond Red Meritage Blend 2015 — Excellent balance of fruit, acidity and tannins at $50.
  • Raymond Small Lot Malbec 2016 — Try with grilled steak at $55.
  • J. Lohr St. E, POM and PAU Paso Robles 2016 — Three exceptional wines mimicking great Saint-Emilion (mostly Cabernet Franc and Merlot), Pomerol (mostly Merlot) and Pauillac (mostly Cabernet Sauvignon), rivaling many of the well-known French wines from these areas at $55 each.
  • OVIS Petite Sirah Lake County High Valley Betsy’s Vineyard 2016 — From 30 year-old vines.  Best vintage ever for OVIS.  Stunning offering of Petite Sirah at $55.
  • Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2018—Beguiling and seductive at $55.
  • Acumen Cabernet Sauvignon Mountainside Napa Valley 2017 — Cherries and sweet tobacco at $65.
  • Adobe Road Apex Sonoma County Red Wine 2016 — 50% Cabernet, 23% Syrah, 22% Merlot, 5% Petite Sirah.  Gorgeous fruit flavors at $79.
  • Paraduxx Napa Valley Red Wine Rector Creek Vineyard Block 4 and Block 5 2017 — Two opulent wines at $80 each.
  • Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon Amoenus Calistoga 2016 — Beautiful black and red fruit flavors. Tender tannins and a long, pleasing finish at $135.
  • Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon Black Label Oakville 2016 — Left bank-style beauty with black currants and power at $150.
  • Larkmeade Solari Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 — Rich with chocolate covered cherries. Powerful like a great 2016 left bank Bordeaux.  2016 was an equally stellar vintage in Bordeaux at $215.