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Separating the Best Values


By Denman Moody
Author, The Advanced Oenophile

The last three or four months have given me palate fatigue — almost. Out of close to a thousand wines tasted, about 20 percent of them are excellent values in their respective price ranges. Since there are so many, I have held my comments, in some instances, to a word or two. For Australia — a list. Since all are recommended from recent tastings, this is an article you can copy and email to your favorite wine shop, and ask for a mixed case of wine that should prove delightful!! And there’s something here for everyone, and in different price ranges from $9.99 to $130.



William Hardy Chardonnay South Australia 2012 $15; D’Arenburg The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne McLaren Vale 2012 $16; Leeuwin Estate Prelude Chardonnay Margaret River 2011 $30; Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay Yarra Valley 2012 $35; BK Wines Swaby Chardonnay Adelaide Hills 2012 $45

Mount Langhi Gheran Billi Billi Shiraz Victoria 2010 $13; William Hardy Shiraz McLaren Vale 2012 $15; Penfold’s Bin 8 Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz South Australia 2011 $20; Peter Lehman 8 Songs Shiraz Barossa Valley 2009 $26; Schild Estate Ben Schild Reserve Shiraz Barossa Valley 2009 $44; Voyager Estate Shiraz Margaret River 2011 $45; Wirra Wirra RSW Shiraz McLaren Vale 2010 $54; Schild MOOROO MOOROO Limited Release Shiraz Barossa Valley 2007 $75; Penfold’s St. Henri Shiraz South Australia 2009 $85; Penfold’s RWT Shiraz Barossa Valley 2010 $130

Cabernet Sauvignon:
Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret
River 2010 $20; Two Hands Sexy Beast 2011 $30; Vasse Felix Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River 2011 $36; Wynne’s Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra (my favorite area for this varietal ever since I was there in 1980) 2010 $45

Other Reds:
Yering Station Pinot Noir Yarra Valley 2010 $18; Pepper Jack Barossa Blend 2012 $22; Rosemount Estate GSM McLaren Vale 2011 $22; Dalrymple Pinot Noir Tasmania 2011 $35; Schild Estate Edgar Schild Grenache Barossa Valley 2012 $60


California Pinot Noir:

Irony Pinot Noir Small Lot Reserve Monterey 2012 — A favorite of my ophthalmologist Eddie Pitts. $14; Byron Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County 2012 — Incredible value at $15; Decoy Pinot Noir Sonoma County 2012 — Seemingly excellent every year. From Duckhorn. $22; Fess Parker Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills 2011 — Perfect with roasted chicken at home. $24; Geyser Peak Pinot Noir Pluto’s Fury Russian River Valley 2012 — Stunning. $28; DeLoach Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2012 — Part of the Jean-Charles Boisset Collection. $28; Benziger Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2012 — Perfect with turkey and brie sandwich from Central Market. $29; Laetitia Pinot Noir Whole Cluster Arroyo Grande Valley 2012 — Gorgeous fruit. $35; Laetitia Pinot Noir Reserve du Domaine Arroyo Grande Valley 2011 — Perfect kiss of oak. $35; Amici Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2012 — Cherries and spice. Layers of flavors. $35; Cuvaison Estate Pinot Noir Carneros 2012 — Bright cherries and a touch of earth. Terroir-driven. $38; Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2011 — Elegant with lovely fruit and a hint of oak. $40; Harmonique Pinot Noir Delicacé Anderson Valley 2007 (current release) — Elegant and complex. $42; EnRoute Pinot Noir Les Pommiers 2012 — From the Far Niente stable of great wines. Grand Cru! $65


Other White Wines:

Alente White (Portugal) 2011 — Great value. New tasting experience. $9.99; Fess Parker Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2012 — Unbelievable bargain; Loveblock Pinot Gris Marlborough 2012 — Solid find; KOPKE Vinho Branco Douro (Portugal) 2011 — Delightfully fresh. Arinto, Gouveio and Rabigato grapes! $16; Rodney Strong Chardonnay Sonoma County 2012 — Consistently excellent. $17; Decoy Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County 2013 — Spectacular fruit. $18; Chateau de Sancerre (Loire Valley) 2012 — The quintessential Sancerre. Enchanting minerality and persistence. Lovely. For something different, try with aged cheddar. Or fresh shrimp and crabmeat with avocado slices. $29; Nickel & Nickel Chardonnay Stiling Vineyard Russian River Valley 2012 — Extraordinary aroma, exciting taste, long, clean, luscious finish. $4



Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé (South Africa) 2012 — vibrant and zesty. Fresh, juicy, satisfying taste. $12; Bellerouche Cotes-du-Rhone M. Chapoutier 2013 — A “must try” for a new experience. $15


Tuscan Reds:

Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale 2010 — It has been several years since I have tried a Ruffino. This is definitely the best Riserva Ducale I have tated. First vintage was 1927. I think they have it figured out!! Wild berries and spice with substance and style. $20; Lucente 2011 — The second wine of the Robert Mondavi/Frescobaldi joint venture. Purple-red color. Coffee and sweet, red cherries. Complex and food-friendly $27; Modus 2011 — Luscious blend of 75 percent Sangiovese, 25 percent Cabernet sauvignon and 25 percent Merlot. Try with meat pizzas, osso bucco or steaks. $28

Separating the Best Values

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