Category Archives: Wines under 20 bucks

Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2013



The black fruits on this wine stand out like a Gaucho on a golf course.  Stick your nose in the glass and you’ll see what I mean.  Proudly wearing his poncho and knocking the ball 300 yards without dropping his hand rolled cigarette.

This is a rustic wine, it has round corners like a madam in a frontier brothel.  If you like this wine you’ll call it “voluptuous” if you don’t you’ll call it flabby.  The tannins are softer than a basset hound puppy’s ears.

Give it a minute in your face hole and it starts to show some unexpected depth, smoky tobacco and leather dominate the mid palate with a green peppercorn finish. This wine will lasso your tongue with it’s rebenque and stick it’s hand up your achiripá (look those words up) to tickle yer sack with it’s calloused hands.

Suggested pairings:

Santa Maria Tri Tip

Grilled Mushrooms

Cattle Rustling

Terra d’Oro Chenin Blanc Viognier 2014

Terra d'oro




Do you like the smell of Lemon Pledge?  The mouth feel of a watered dish soap?  Pink grapefruit shampoo?   If so, this is the wine for you.

In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t like Chenin Blanc as a rule.  I find the oily texture off putting and it’s grassy sour acidity gives me the heeby jeebies.  The varietal tastes to me, like an unpleasant Sunday school teacher lacking in personal hygiene.  Oily, funky, and dour.

I do like Viognier, a good one puts me in mind of kissing a flower…intimately.

Curiosity got the better of me and I gave this wine a shot.  It’s not for me, I see where they were going with it, but the Viognier is OBLITERATED for me with the aggressive pink grapefruit flavors of the Chenin Blanc.  Let it warm up and you’ll catch a little bright tropical fruit.   Distinctly full bodied with substantial acidity.  But there’s just no “there” there for me.

This isn’t a “bad” wine, I just don’t like it.  You might.

Suggested pairings:

Shell fish
Other stuff I don’t really like




Buccaneer Zinfandel 2011


This wine reminds me of a puppy that notices you reaching for the leash and then just goes NUTS. It’s ready to go walkies all around your mouth.

Stick your nose in this little fella’s nether regions and you’ll be rewarded with ripe red berries. On the second sniff you begin to suspect it got into grandma’s jam and then sat in a plate of fresh ground pepper.

In the mouth it’s light to medium bodied and tends to scamper about with an almost effervescent exuberance. Jammy raspberry fruits play fetch with the heat from the (highish) alcohol. Moderate tannins give it a texture like the finest rawhide and provide plenty of chewy pleasures.

The finish is long and tenacious like a game of tug with a terrier (that’s the little dog, not terroir as far as terroir goes this is straight Napa sunshine). The classic Zin varietal black/white pepper spiciness is the alpha dog in this pack.

I liked this wine a lot, it’s pedigreed mutt with a dopey grin.

Suggested pairings:

BBQ Ribs
Pizza with BBQ sauce
Turkey (especially smoked)
Spinach/Cheese Pastry Puffs
Old chewed up slippers and belly rubs.

Stephen Vincent Crimson 2012

Stephen Vincent Crimson

This is a wine for people who have to be convinced to drink wine. There’s no pretense here, this is fermented grape juice.

Right out of the bottle the nose is assertive, like a used car salesman on the last day of the month trying to make his quota. Ripe blackberry and vanilla…vanilla that’s trying to be subtle, yet failing.

This wine jumps straight into your mouth with alacrity. The big fruit on the nose shows strongly in the mouth. Along with the big fruit there’s big acid that cuts the fruit nicely. Really, without the acid the fruit on this beast would hug your tongue like an over friendly aunt wearing too much perfume.

Then there’s the vanilla, clearly this wine has done some time on oak. Hard time! The vanilla and toasted oak stand out on this wine like a teardrop tattoo on a felon.

The finish is surprisingly clean, with a hint of green pepper.

This is an egalitarian wine, it won’t judge you, it’ll just get you drunk and taste good doing it.

Suggested pairings:
Dark Chocolate,
Lamb(with mint),
Grilled Sausage,