QPR Stands for Quality to Price Ratio. These are the wines that represented the highest quality and lowest prices.
Here are the top QPR wines I had in 2013. I selected only bottles of wine that I purchased in 2013. Will all (or any) of these wines be available in your area? Good question. The short answer is, all won’t be available, but one or two may be sitting on a shelf, especially the ones I bought towards the end of the year. A good source for finding wines not available in your area is the winery’s website and wine-searcher.com.
Instead of using the price I paid, which may have been a close out price, I am using the “Community Average value” from Cellar Tracker. This means, you may actually find the wine for a lower price. I just needed a good way to show an actual price. It would be stupid for me to show a wine with a suggested price of $50, just because I bought one bottle at a blowout for $19.99.
The Cellar Tracker “Community average value” can be skewed if there were a lot of bottles bought at a sale price. That means, I’m sorry if you can find the wine but it is considerably higher than the price I have listed. There are a lot of factors that could cause the average price to drop below the current cost, volume discounts, special offers, sales, etc.
To be in the Top 10, a wine’s “Community Average Value” had to be under $20.
10 – 2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese – $10.66
This wine was offered by the local wine store via a weekly e-mail offer. It’s hard for me to pass on a German Riesling, especially one I can get for under $8.00. As expected, I grabbed a case without even trying it. I worked at the store for a few hours yesterday, and there was still about a half bottle sitting under the wine bar that had been opened for over 24 hours. The wine was room temperature so I wasn’t expecting too much when I tried a taste. I was very pleasantly surprised the wine was outstanding. I took the bottle home so I could sample it at a better serving temperature. I also happily took my case home and stashed it in my wine cellar. My cost for this wine was only $7.92 a bottle.
My Tasting Note
This note is from a bottle that had been opened for over a day and left over night on the counter with the cork stuck back in the bottle. The wine is a bright golden yellow color. The very appealing and inviting nose has apples, honey, orange zest, Spring flowers, and a touch of petrol. This has medium body, a fair amount of residual sugar and very nice, crisp acidity that keeps the sweetness in line. On the palate the honeyed apples and citrus zest coat the palate but is kept from getting cloying by the citrusy acidity. The finish is long and again full of apples, honey, and citrus. If you like an off dry Riesling, this is top notch. This has marvelous balance that will allow it to easily cellar for several years. (90 pts)
9 – 2008 Tre Donne Barbera d’Alba d’Arc – $16.42
This was a new wine for me. This was one of several wines the local wine store brought in just for a blow out sale. I’ve been a big fan of Italian Barbera wines for a number of years. These wines generally have nice, bright, red fruit with some spicy earthiness and a boat load of acidity. These are generally one of the most food friendly wines around. I only paid $14.24 for this wine making it an even better value.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a touch darker than ruby red. The elegant nose has black raspberries, melted licorice, warm baking spices, dark chocolate, a touch of mint, minerals, and some subtle earthiness. This has medium body, soft, ripe tannins, and good acidity. The palate has rich, spicy berries up front with more spice, mint and earthiness coming in on the back end. The finish has decent length with the fruit turning a bit more tart and a faint herbal note coming into the picture. This is a bit fuller body and darker fruit than your usual Barbera. This would be good with a big, meaty pasta sauce, but may be too big and have too little acidity for a lighter marinara sauce. This is different, but enjoyable. (90 pts)
8 – 2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh – $17.87
I grabbed a bottle of this after trying the winery’s Bricks & Mortar blend at an online tasting of Lodi wines. If your opinion of wines from Lodi is based on some of the big, industrial, high volume wineries, take my advice and seek out something from one of the smaller, family owned producers.
This wine has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep ruby to purple color. The very appealing nose has blackberries, raspberries, minerals, cocoa powder, white pepper, smoke, dried herbs, and a nice floral note. This has medium body, moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity. Lush berries and dried herbs coat the palate with cocoa and white pepper coming in on the back end. The finish has very nice length with nice layers of fruit and savory elements. Drinking nicely now, but not one to stash in the cellar. The acidity is adequate for now but I’d be afraid of the wine losing its balance as the acidity drops in the aging process. Drink over the next few years and be happy. (90 pts)
7 – 2009 Domaine de Fondrèche Côtes du Ventoux Cuvée Fayard – $15.38
This is another wine I found on the shelf at the local wine store. In my opinion, even after several fantastic vintages, the wines from the Southern Rhone represent fantastic values. One of these days enough people are going to recognize these marvelous wines and cause price increases, until that time, I will be stocking up. This is a blend of 50% Grenache and the rest Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan. My purchase price of $9.49 made this a steal.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep ruby to purple color. The outstanding nose has blackberries, minerals, cherries, smoke, dried herbs, road tar, vanilla, wild flowers, and a touch of dark chocolate. This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very nice acidity. Nice red and black fruit and a load of minerals coat the palate with some dried herbs, chocolate, and a bit of earthiness coming in on the back end. The finish has decent length again highlighting the mineral laden fruit and subtle earthiness. This is drinking very nicely today and should provide a lot of good drinking over the next four to six years. (90 pts)
6 – 2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes – $14.25
Generally I am not a point chaser, but when the local wine store puts a new wine of the shelf with a “talker” noting a 93 point score from Robert Parker and the wine is under $15, I had to grab a bottle. This is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that was aged in concrete. This will be my first exposure to this wine and if it approaches the level of the Wine Advocate review, I’ll be stocking up. My purchase price for this wine was a little better than the Cellar Tracker average price, I only paid $13.29.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a medium garnet color, much lighter at the edge. The clean and refreshing nose has cherries, baking spices, eucalyptus, forest floor, tobacco, blackberries, and wild flowers. This has medium to full body, moderate tannins, and very nice acidity. The palate has spicy fruit, a touch of eucalyptus, and some earthiness. The finish has nice length and closes with a touch of dark chocolate. Not a lot of complexity but a very tasty glass of wine to enjoy over the next few years. (90 pts)
5 – 2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta – $9.75
I don’t remember the circumstances surrounding buying this wine, but it was probably based on a recommendation from a friend at the local wine store. After doing a little digging, I’m thankful for the rec since it seems like it should be a good bottle of wine.
This has 14.0% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep, dark ruby color. The exotic nose has blackberries, raspberries, minerals, Asian spices, dried herbs, licorice, and violets. This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity. On the palate there is a load of berries up front but with enough savory elements on the midpalate and back end to keep this from being all about the fruit. The finish ratchets up the minerality and dried herbs with the fruit being pushed into the background. This is in a real nice place but there is no reason to think it won’t hold for at least a couple years. (90 pts)
4 – 2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Villages Cuvée Sabrine – $14.73
The local store brought some of this in when the distributor was looking to clear out some wines. I was able to get several bottles of this gem for under $10 a bottle. Now it’s time to sample a bottle to see how long to save the remaining bottles. My purchase price of only $9.49 a bottle made this an even bigger QPR Superstar.
This is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep violet color. The dark and meaty nose has black cherries, minerals, charred meat, blackberries, licorice, potpourri, and earthy underbrush. This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and good acidity. On the palate the minerals, earth, and fruit flavors slowly give way to meaty elements. The finish has nice length but gets a touch thin. This is still very young and will reward another year or two in the cellar. The time in the cellar should add some complexity and help fill out the finish. (90 pts)
3 – 2012 Onesta Cinsault Rosé – $18.00
This Cinsault based Rosé is a blend of 50% saignée and 50% from grapes picked specifically for the Rosé. Saignée is simply the process of draining some of the juice out of the tank after limited skin contact. This method is utilized to increase the body and concentration of the remaining red wine in the tank.
There were 300 cases produced of this wine and the alcohol is 13.5%.
To read more about Onesta, visit this link here.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a pink to salmon color. The outstanding nose has cherries, strawberries, candied ginger, minerals, spice, and a slight herbal note as well as a slight hint of toast. This has medium body, nice richness, and crisp acidity. On the palate the fresh, crisp fruit shares the spotlight with nice minerals, ginger, and a nice herbal note. The finish is long and lingering with some nice spice and the herbal note hanging around. It seems like at least some whole clusters were utilized to add the nice herbal note which didn’t come from under ripe fruit. This was my favorite wine from the tasting by a fairly wide margin. (91 pts)
2 – 2010 Claiborne and Churchill Pinot Gris – $17.87
This wine was supplied to me by the SIP Certified organization for me to comment on during an online, Twitter based WineChat. For more information on the outstanding efforts of SIP (Sustainability in Practice) please visit them at: SIP Certified
This bottle was my introduction to Claiborne & Churchill Vintners. We are big fans of the dry, Oregon Pinot Gris based wines as well as the ones from the Alsace region in France. I’m looking forward to trying this one from California’s CentralCoast.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a pale yellow with a golden tint. The fresh smelling nose has apples, spices, melon, citrus zest, fresh Spring flowers, and a healthy dollop of minerals. The wine is dry with a light to medium body and very good acidity. On the palate the wine is dry but shows nice ripe and rich fruit with good citrusy acidity. The long finish is full of nice fruit and spice. This is a very nicely balanced wine. Don’t serve this one too cold, cool room temperature is best. One of the better Pinot Gris wines I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy. This is a SIP Certified wine, which stands for “Sustainability in Practice”. (92 pts)
1 – 2011 Château Saint-Roch Maury Sec Kerbuccio – $19.34
Every once in a while you have to grab a bottle based on a score. Robert Parker gave this wine 95 points and the local store had a couple bottles for just a touch over $16. Like I said, the local store “had” a few bottles. They were rescued and placed in a new adoptive home, my wine cellar. This is probably pretty young, but I have to check in to get an early read on where it may go in the future. Another steal for me since I only paid $16.06 a bottle.
This has 15% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep ruby to purple color. The very enticing nose has blackberry liqueur, blueberries, minerals, dying wood embers, scorched earth, baking spices, violets, and a touch of vanilla. This has a fairly full body, moderate tannins and very good acidity. On the palate the dark berries and spice coat the palate slowly allowing some earthiness, minerals, and a floral note to break through. The finish is long and nicely layered. This is on the young side but it opened nicely after about 45 minutes. (93 pts)
Connect with me
You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two. Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets. I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.
If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.
This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com. Copyright 2013 Cliff’s Wine Picks.
All rights reserved.
***** Shameless Self Promotion *****
Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.
Breaking news from Klout:
Remember to support your local wine store!
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines. I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar. I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com. Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear. There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.
Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase. I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive. I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount. Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges. None of the prices include the sales tax.
All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.