Palate Pleasing Gems <$20

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Great Values, Tasting Notes

Looking for an affordable, easy to quaff wine? Give these a try! You can find them, and other wines to tickle your taste buds, online at

Three Wine Men 2017 Zinfandel, Sonoma County ($14.99):  Ripe dark berry aromatics clearly speak Zinfandel.  Flavors of sweet plums, raspberry-filled hard candy, boysenberry preserves, subtle spice, and fresh squeezed Sunkist oranges meld, smoothly coating the mouth.  Jammy while being well balanced, it finishes fresh and clean.

Monarch Glen 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, California ($13.99):  This snappy Sauvignon Blanc, broadcasting Granny Smith apples on the nose, brims with vibrancy. On the palate, flavors of white grapefruit, kiwi, lime soda, and a suggestion of herbs join complementary acidity.  The finish is bright and uplifting.

Hayton Family 2018 Reserve Syrah, California ($15.99):  The concentrated fruity aroma of this medium bodied Syrah is inviting.  Ripe blackberries, spice-infused plum jam, and cherry-vanilla pudding cake meld on the palate. Backed by gentle tannins and a smooth texture, flavors linger through the succulent close. 

Lone Vine 2019 Winemaker’s Selection Pinot Grigio, California ($14.99):   Fresh lemon-lime scents waft from the glass.  Lemon splashed Golden Delicious apples, pear sorbet, honeycomb, and a touch of salinity unfold onto the palate. Crisp and refreshing through the lime-accented finish.

George Phillips 2017 Reserve Selection Merlot, California ($17.99): A perfumed nose of forest berries and savory spice opens the door to this fruit forward Merlot.  Round, mouth filling and nicely balanced, it shows off notes of juicy blueberries, Bing cherries, vanilla, a dash of spice, and hints of cherry red vines on the satisfying finish. 

Meritage and Bordeaux Blend Red Wines

Great Values, Meritage, Tasting Notes

What is it? First of all, pronounced correctly, Meritage rhymes with heritage, It’s a wine made from a blend of two or more of the following Bordeaux varietals; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Malbec, St. Macaire, Gros Verdot, Carmenere). None of the varietals can be more than 90% of the Meritage blend. They range in style from soft approachable red wines that drink nicely now to bold, structured red wines that can age gracefully for many years. California stars include:

Joseph Phelps Insignia

Always a show stopper – Insignia was among the first “Bordeaux blends” produced back in 1974. This vintage showcases tons of dark berries with an overlay of spice and tobacco, and ends beautifully with lingering, supple tannins. The 2002 Insignia received high honors as Wine of the Year!

St Supery 1999 Meritage
Seductive aromas great the nose and draw you into this gorgeous wine. Layers of intense cherry and berry unfold on the palate, lovely cocoa overtones, smoky oak and a hint of clove lead this gem to a memorable finish.

Merryvale Profile 2000
Intoxicating aromatics lead to a mouth filling richness of luscious berry and currant flavors. A kiss of cinnamon and spice, and silky tannins add to the elegance of this impressive wine.

Ferrari Carano Tresor 1997
This awesome vintage richly coats the palate with intense cassis and blackberry flavors and offers great depth and complexity. A beautifully crafted blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.


Also, here are a few great red blend values from California and Washington (under $20):

Cinnabar Mercury Rising 2001 (California)
Nicely balanced blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc and Petite Verdot that won’t break the bank. Delicious ripe blackberries on the palate, toasty oak and vanilla accents top it off beautifully!

Francis Coppola Claret 2000 (California)
Inviting aromas, tons of lip smacking berry flavors on the palate, well integrated spiciness and soft tannins – a juicy blend of Cab. Sauvignon, Merlot and Cab Franc.