Great Values in Red Wines

Winter is red wine season.  On a cold night, it is hard to beat a burger, roasted chicken or a steak with a perfectly matched red wine.  Here are some winners in all price ranges selected from several hundred red wines I have tasted over the last three months.


Brandlin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Mt. Veeder Napa Valley 2018

Named in the recently released Wine Spectator Top 100 at $80

J. Lohr Signature Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles 2018

Only 2,340 three-bottle cases.  Best wine I have experienced from Paso Robles from what I now consider one of the great wineries of the world at $100

Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley Howell Mountain 2017

Chocolate-covered blackcurrants and blackberries with firm tannic structure and good acidity at $105

Duckhorn The Discussion
Napa Valley 2016

Aged in my cellar a couple extra years, this wine has developed an added, subtle seductiveness.  Perfect with a rib eye steak at $140

Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet
Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014

There is a good reason to save a bottle or two from a great vintage like this.  Mature, complex, perfect with beef tenderloin at $165

Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley 2018

A first growth quality Napa winner. Everything in sync for an almost perfect Cabernet at $240

Other Red Wines

La Vieille Ferme Non-Vintage

While only stating “France” on the label, this is a Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault.  Possibly the best red wine in the world at this price at $7.50

Gran Passione Rosso IGT (Veneto) 2020

Impressive label and bottle design.Contender for best value, all-purposered wine at $13.99

Teliani Valley Separavi
(Country of Georgia) 2019

Similar to a top Cotes-du-Rhone. Another great value at $15

Intercept Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles 2019

From famous all-Pro defensive back, Charles Woodson.  Aged 18 months in French and Eastern European oak. Lovely red fruit flavors at $19.99

Green Wing Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley (Washington) 2019

Prodigious first release.  With 14% Merlot in the blend, this beauty reminds me of one of the early-drinking  St. Juliens at three times the price at $30

Davis Bynum Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley 2018

Aged 14 months in French and Hungarian oak.  Excellent balance and hard to beat at $32

Saldo California Zinfandel Non-Vintage

A big, bold Zin with 15.5% alcohol. Enjoy with meat pizza at $40

Gary Farrell Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley 2018

I have yet to meet a Gary Farrell Pinot Noir that I didn’t enjoy! A name you can count on at $40

Migration Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2019

Cherries, strawberries and a hint of cinnamon.  Roasted chicken. From the Duckhorn Dynasty at $42

Coen Reserve Malbec Uco Valley 2019

Chocolate-covered strawberries with a hint of cinnamon at $44

Ridge Geyserville 2019

Blend of 71% Zinfandel, 19% Carignan, 7% Petite Sirah and 3% Alicante Bouschet. The Ridge Zins never cease to amaze me at $44

Paraduxx Proprietary Red Wine
Napa Valley 2019

Cabernet, Merlot and Zinfandel. Lamb at $50

Goldeneye Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley 2018

Best non-specific vineyard Goldeneye ever at $55

Calera Pinot Noir Mt. Harlan
Mills Vineyard 2018

From a vineyard with 2,200 ‘ elevation, planted in 1984!  Lovely juxtaposition between elegance and power at $80