Matt Walker

Location: Northridge, CA

I am a Certified Specialist of Wine and uncertified Wine Geek! As a Snoother, I hope to raise awareness for smaller, lesser-known but quality driver producers. Major regions I specialize in include Washington, California, Tuscany, Bordeaux, and the Douro

Top Values from the 2012 Wine Spectator New World Grand Tasting

Many, many spectacular wines at this year's Grand Tasting.  In a sea of $100, $200, even $300+ wines, however, these wines (most to be had for about $50) stand out as great values that can go toe to toe with their triple digit counterparts.  Some on this list you may be familiar with and some may be new names but are sure not to stay that way.  While these aren't for everyday for most of us (myself included), all the wines on this list would make great special occasion wines that won't break the bank.

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Chateau Tanunda Noble Baron Shiraz Barossa Valley (2008)
Comments: A very refined Shiraz, balancing concentrated red and black fruit with nuances of vanilla and nice hints of licorice and spices. The wine is bright and chewy. A beauty.
Previously available for $50.00
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2 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Meredith Estate (2009)
Comments: Merry Edwards continues to be a benchmark producer for California Pinot and this year's Meredith keeps that reputation going. There's something faintly floral about the nose coming alongside blueberries, pepper and spice. The palate is richly layered, with perfect acidity and more tannins than you might expecting giving this wine great cellaring potential.
Average price: $67.98 from 1 store
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3 Col Solare Red Bordeaux Blend Columbia Valley (2007)
Comments: While I think I prefer the '06, the '07 is still a masterful wine from Col Solare. Assertive, ripe, and quite complex. Lots of blackberries, blackcurrents, with touches of vanilla and it finishes with chocolate-covered espresso beans.
Previously available for $60.99
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4 Testarossa Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Doctor's Vineyard (2010)
Comments: Explosive nose, rich and vibrant. Lots of cedar, black cherries, Asian spices, and something faintly resinous. Testarossa continues to produce outstanding Pinots.
Average price: $59.99 from 11 stores
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5 A.P. Vin Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Kanzler Vineyard (2010)
Comments: Bright and bold. The wine has the refinement of Oregon but the depth and richness of California. Still young but already showing lovely red cherry, raspberry, and forest floor. Acidity is high making this a perfect wine for your next big dinner.
Previously available for $49.00
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6 Owen Roe Syrah Chapel Block (2010)
Comments: From one of Washington's best vineyards, this should please any Syrah fan. Black pepper, blueberries, and smoke in the nose. More black fruit on the palate, cedar, and mocha. Nice velvety tannins.
Average price: $52.95 from 2 stores
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7 Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder (2009)
Comments: Absolutely wonderful. Massively structured yet perfectly balanced and finally restrained use of oak on a Napa cab. Blackberries, baking cocoa, cedar, tobacco and roast coffee. Lots of aging potential.
Average price: $89.99 from 3 stores
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