What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

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Mike R
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What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#1 Post by Mike R » March 2nd, 2020, 3:25 pm

I'm having some friends over for a blind tasting, with a bet on their blind tasting skills. I plan to open a 20 dollar bottle, an 80 dollar bottle, and a 200 dollar bottle. I will be giving them all three, and their goal is to try to guess which is the 20 dollar bottle, which is the 80 dollar bottle, and which is the 200 dollar bottle. We have a bet on this, so the less they get right the better. The $200 dollar bottle (I realize it can be had for less than $200, but I'm including the shipping and auction premium I paid) is going to be a 2011 Ridge Monte Bello, which I have already tried via Coravin'ed earlier this week. For the $80, I'm thinking Caymus, and for the $20 I was thinking something like Mollydooker The Boxer, which I think tastes very similar to the Caymus. Any other recommendations to try to trick these guys?
... 0 p 3 r

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#2 Post by Josh Grossman » March 2nd, 2020, 3:33 pm

I've never had a good $20 cab. With $35 and a sale, I can think of some good ones.

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#3 Post by tpetty » March 2nd, 2020, 3:48 pm

I thought the Calluna Cuvee that I got on BZ day was great - so I just purchased 4 more bottles on winebid for $20 each
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#4 Post by tpetty » March 2nd, 2020, 3:49 pm

If Davenport Cellars offers their Continuity at 2/3 off again, it is hard to beat it in the $12 range.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#5 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » March 2nd, 2020, 4:04 pm

2014 Chateau Lanessan, Haut-Medoc

Almost any good vintage of Domaine Baudry Les Granges. Check out 2014, 15, 16 and 18.

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#6 Post by Eric W » March 2nd, 2020, 4:05 pm

If you can go up to $25, try a Cadence Coda (from Washington State).
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#7 Post by Sh@n A » March 2nd, 2020, 4:05 pm

You could go another route of sowing doubt in the $80-200 wines (assuming they don't all have to be cabs). E.g., go with higher acid wines for the higher priced bottles / find low CT ratings for general bottles in that range / find something feral. They may feel like something is "off" because its not a napa cab. Loire... Musar... Levet... others could play in that $80+ range. I.E., what are the most AWFE $80-$200 wines out there and perhaps you should include those in lieu of the Ridge/Caymus.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#8 Post by John Morris » March 2nd, 2020, 4:10 pm

Mike R wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 3:25 pm
I'm having some friends over for a blind tasting, with a bet on their blind tasting skills. I plan to open a 20 dollar bottle, an 80 dollar bottle, and a 200 dollar bottle. I will be giving them all three, and their goal is to try to guess which is the 20 dollar bottle, which is the 80 dollar bottle, and which is the 200 dollar bottle. We have a bet on this, so the less they get right the better. The $200 dollar bottle (I realize it can be had for less than $200, but I'm including the shipping and auction premium I paid) is going to be a 2011 Ridge Monte Bello, which I have already tried via Coravin'ed earlier this week. For the $80, I'm thinking Caymus, and for the $20 I was thinking something like Mollydooker The Boxer, which I think tastes very similar to the Caymus. Any other recommendations to try to trick these guys?
If you go with Monte Bello, Caymus and Mollydooker, the tasting will be about winemaking style, not value.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#9 Post by joejolesch » March 2nd, 2020, 4:11 pm

Are these friends that would gravitate towards the Caymus? You might get them with something like The Prisoner “Unshackled” or Caymus’s “Bonanza.”

FWIW, I’ve consumed Caymus, the Mer Soleil “Pinot,” and Bonanza recently and they’re all very similar.

Note I’m not arguing these as the “best” per se, just trying to find something that might throw them off. If you’re open to a different $80 bottle, 2015 Argentiera is drinking very well with a 60 minute decant.

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#10 Post by Nick Ellis » March 2nd, 2020, 4:12 pm

How about Heitz Napa for the $80 and Bobby O’s aforementioned Baudry Granges for the $20?

Good luck trying to find a ringer to compete with the Ridge.

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#11 Post by Anton D » March 2nd, 2020, 4:14 pm

I can drink this and be fine...

https://www.wine.com/product/substance- ... lsrc=aw.ds#

Image

15 bucks, or so.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#12 Post by J. Rock » March 2nd, 2020, 4:18 pm

I think Field Recordings Fiction Red is a great bottle for $20 or less and I imagine it's typically a crowd pleaser.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#13 Post by Anton D » March 2nd, 2020, 4:21 pm

J. Rock wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 4:18 pm
I think Field Recordings Fiction Red is a great bottle for $20 or less and I imagine it's typically a crowd pleaser.
Good one.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#14 Post by Neal.Mollen » March 2nd, 2020, 4:38 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 4:04 pm
2014 Chateau Lanessan, Haut-Medoc

^^^ Also Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#15 Post by tpetty » March 2nd, 2020, 4:42 pm

Yep, the Substance is another great one at that price point
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#16 Post by Scott G r u n e r » March 2nd, 2020, 4:43 pm

For me the best $20 bottle is Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo but it doesn't fit the game you are going for.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#17 Post by Markus S » March 2nd, 2020, 4:45 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 4:04 pm
Almost any good vintage of Domaine Baudry Les Granges. Check out 2014, 15, 16 and 18.
Was thinking this too, but then he would have to buy a Rougeard as the $200+ ringer. [cheers.gif]
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#18 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » March 2nd, 2020, 4:56 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 4:38 pm
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 4:04 pm
2014 Chateau Lanessan, Haut-Medoc

^^^ Also Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico
Yup. Excellent Chianti!

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#19 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » March 2nd, 2020, 4:56 pm

Markus S wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 4:45 pm
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 4:04 pm
Almost any good vintage of Domaine Baudry Les Granges. Check out 2014, 15, 16 and 18.
Was thinking this too, but then he would have to buy a Rougeard as the $200+ ringer. [cheers.gif]
And that’s a problem why? ;)

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#20 Post by Nate Simon » March 2nd, 2020, 4:59 pm

If trickery is the game, sub in some grape Gatorade mixed with vodka and see if they can distinguish it from The Prisoner.

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#21 Post by Mike R » March 2nd, 2020, 5:12 pm

joejolesch wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 4:11 pm
Are these friends that would gravitate towards the Caymus? You might get them with something like The Prisoner “Unshackled” or Caymus’s “Bonanza.”

FWIW, I’ve consumed Caymus, the Mer Soleil “Pinot,” and Bonanza recently and they’re all very similar.

Note I’m not arguing these as the “best” per se, just trying to find something that might throw them off. If you’re open to a different $80 bottle, 2015 Argentiera is drinking very well with a 60 minute decant.
Bonanza is an awesome recommendation because it tastes exactly like Caymus, but I'm not sure how it will go with the Caymus already in the mix. These guys are all Caymus / Bell Gloss, big bold Napa fruit bomb (and whatever the hell Belle Glos is since it sure as hell doesn't taste like Pinot) lovers. For the $80 and $200 wines, I'm trying to get rid of the bottle of Caymus I have, so not really looking to move off that, and for the $200, I fortunately already have the 2011 Monte Bello open, which was the genesis of the idea.
... 0 p 3 r

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#22 Post by Otto Dobre » March 2nd, 2020, 5:14 pm

Educated Guess.

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#23 Post by Mike R » March 2nd, 2020, 5:15 pm

Nate Simon wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 4:59 pm
If trickery is the game, sub in some grape Gatorade mixed with vodka and see if they can distinguish it from The Prisoner.
[rofl.gif]
... 0 p 3 r

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#24 Post by Mike R » March 2nd, 2020, 5:18 pm

Otto Dobre wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 5:14 pm
Educated Guess.
I actually like this wine quite a bit for an everyday drinker. Great recommendation!
... 0 p 3 r

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#25 Post by Anton D » March 2nd, 2020, 5:19 pm

Oh, yeah, as to the trickery!

Obviously a 50-60 dollar range Ridge Estate cab...comparing price levels.

Then, toss in a Ridge Litton Springs zin.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#26 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » March 2nd, 2020, 5:21 pm

Use a Rioja blind against Ridge

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#27 Post by Mike R » March 2nd, 2020, 5:24 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 5:21 pm
Use a Rioja blind against Ridge
Not sure where I'd find a properly aged Rioja for 20 bucks...
... 0 p 3 r

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#28 Post by adam landa » March 2nd, 2020, 5:26 pm

Some vintages of Louis Martini Napa are quite good for closer to $25.

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#29 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » March 2nd, 2020, 5:30 pm

Mike R wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 5:24 pm
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 5:21 pm
Use a Rioja blind against Ridge
Not sure where I'd find a properly aged Rioja for 20 bucks...
One recommend above in Post 16. The 2010 just got released and is about $20.

It’s the American oak that provides the common thread. It’s actually my biggest issue with Ridge.

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#30 Post by Neal.Mollen » March 2nd, 2020, 5:38 pm

Mike R wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 5:24 pm
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 5:21 pm
Use a Rioja blind against Ridge
Not sure where I'd find a properly aged Rioja for 20 bucks...
You absolutely can.

https://www.mndfinewine.com/wines/Marqu ... w3176497yu

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#31 Post by Wes Barton » March 2nd, 2020, 5:52 pm

I agree you aren't showing much or proving anything if you vary so much in style and wine type.

Having age on the Monte Bello is smart, since a too young wine of a type that needs age can suffer in a comparison, especially with less experienced people. I'd split that and the Caymus up into different tastings.

Monte Bello against a Ridge Estate Cab would be interesting, *If* they are the same vintage. That should tell you something about their selection process, choosing which barrels from the same vineyards go into which wine, at two very different price points. Otherwise, I'd want to compare it to Mount Eden Estate or similar and a solid lower priced Santa Cruz Mountains Cab, Like Cooper-Garrod, Domaine Eden, Woodside, House Family, etc.

For Caymus, to me it taste like a bottom shelf mass production Napa Cab. The '16 Avalon is about $15 and James Suckling rated in 93 points. (I'm browsing K&L.) I see the '17 Martin Ray Napa at $20, also 93 from JS. '17 Liparita Rutherford for $20 (clearance from $60???).
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#32 Post by Philip G » March 2nd, 2020, 9:18 pm

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre or maybe a CdR would be very drinkable at around $20, maybe St Cosme or Beaucastel. Not sure if the idea is to trick them but for the $80 wine you could pick something that is way too early, like a tart, young Burgundy. Most palates would pick the cheaper, ready to drink $20 over the young Burgundy.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#33 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » March 2nd, 2020, 9:36 pm

It’s going to be easier to find a bad/unpleasant $200 wine, focus on that!

Although you can find plenty of solid Zins and Italian reds for $20...Philip’s suggestion of Palazzo Della Torre is a good one. Also a lot of solid Cote du Rhône for that price

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#34 Post by Lonnie F. » March 3rd, 2020, 5:43 am

Vina Alberdi
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#35 Post by John Kight » March 3rd, 2020, 5:52 am

Lonnie F. wrote:
March 3rd, 2020, 5:43 am
Vina Alberdi
Yes, the La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi is a good one that can be as low as $15 at Costco....Also the LdH Cubillo was a good suggestion, as was the Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Valpolicella, and any number of Chianti Classicos or Chianti Classico Riservas (Monsanto, Felsina, Villa Cafaggio, etc.).

Of all of these, I think the Allegrini is the best option for your lineup and audience. I suspect the LdH and almost any Chianti will seem too thin, light and acidic if tasted side-by-side with any big New World wines. I get the "Ridge vs. Rioja" American oak comparison, and if that's the goal I'd go with the La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi over the LdH Cubillo, since the LRA has much more pronounced American Oak. But again, I'd do the Allegrini.

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#36 Post by Howard Cooper » March 3rd, 2020, 6:07 am

Best $20 or so from California - how about Ridge Three Valleys.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#37 Post by Bud Carey » March 3rd, 2020, 6:23 am

Good call on Educated Guess.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#38 Post by Neal.Mollen » March 3rd, 2020, 6:39 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
March 3rd, 2020, 6:07 am
Best $20 or so from California - how about Ridge Three Valleys.
More like $30 (Total has current version for $28), but yes it is a fine bottle of wine and a relative bargain
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#39 Post by Howard Cooper » March 3rd, 2020, 6:58 am

Neal.Mollen wrote:
March 3rd, 2020, 6:39 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
March 3rd, 2020, 6:07 am
Best $20 or so from California - how about Ridge Three Valleys.
More like $30 (Total has current version for $28), but yes it is a fine bottle of wine and a relative bargain
Wine-searcher shows the 2017 available at $25
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#40 Post by Sjmotta » March 3rd, 2020, 7:50 am

Obsidian Ridge Cabernet punches way above its weight in my opinion and is available on Wine Searcher for ~$25.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#41 Post by Chris Seiber » March 3rd, 2020, 8:07 am

John Morris wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 4:10 pm
Mike R wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 3:25 pm
I'm having some friends over for a blind tasting, with a bet on their blind tasting skills. I plan to open a 20 dollar bottle, an 80 dollar bottle, and a 200 dollar bottle. I will be giving them all three, and their goal is to try to guess which is the 20 dollar bottle, which is the 80 dollar bottle, and which is the 200 dollar bottle. We have a bet on this, so the less they get right the better. The $200 dollar bottle (I realize it can be had for less than $200, but I'm including the shipping and auction premium I paid) is going to be a 2011 Ridge Monte Bello, which I have already tried via Coravin'ed earlier this week. For the $80, I'm thinking Caymus, and for the $20 I was thinking something like Mollydooker The Boxer, which I think tastes very similar to the Caymus. Any other recommendations to try to trick these guys?
If you go with Monte Bello, Caymus and Mollydooker, the tasting will be about winemaking style, not value.
My thought exactly.

If you just want civilians to vote for the cheaper bottles, then your strategy makes sense. Better still, put in a $200 Bordeaux, Barolo or Burgundy.

But if you genuinely want to see if they can tell and which they’d like, it makes more sense to stay within a general style. Make the $200 bottle a Schrader or something like that. Or make the lower priced bottles Lanessan and Mount Eden or something.

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#42 Post by K John Joseph » March 3rd, 2020, 8:08 am

I would go pure sangiovese for this tasting because, as John Morris notes, if you're going three totally different types of wines and styles, the tasting results will be largely irrelevant. If the idea is to compare quality at price points, go with a $20 chianti, an $80 chianti classico riserve from a top producer, and then a Fontodi Flaccianello
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#43 Post by Joe Abruzzo » March 3rd, 2020, 8:14 am

Hard to find (only @ 1000 cases produced / yr) , but I buy every vintage and consistenly good Cabernet: Mario Perelli Minetti

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#44 Post by Gabe Berk » March 3rd, 2020, 8:18 am

2017 Daou Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles. $20 at Total Wine with a 92 point score from Parker. If they like Caymus this will be 1/5 the cost for relatively the same style wine...

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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#45 Post by M. Dildine » March 3rd, 2020, 8:21 am

Scherrer OMV and Bedrock Old Vine are in the $20 range.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#46 Post by Paul Flynn » March 3rd, 2020, 8:30 am

Turley Juvenile.
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#47 Post by John Glas » March 3rd, 2020, 3:30 pm

I've never had a good $20 cab. With $35 and a sale, I can think of some good ones.
Here is a good Cab Blend that is not good but excellent!

$10.50 on their sale last December and will have another one soon which I will post.

2008 Davenport Cellars Continuity - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley (2/18/2020)
Day 1: Decanted some sediment and this wine is awesome. Cherry, plum, menthol, spices, blueberries and perfume. A bit different than the last 2 bottles as this is showing more fruit but is gorgeous. Medium plus finish. 92 points
Day 2: Excellent on day 2. These wines have a ton of aging potential. Blueberries, cherry, spice, earth, menthol, mild oak and vanilla. Beautiful wine. Medium plus finish. The fact this is better on day 2 should indicate another 5 plus years of aging. 93 points
Day 3: The notes on the sludge impacting the wine are confusing. Many wines over 10 years might have a little sludge on the cork which does not impact the quality of the wine. This wine is glorious on day 3. Beautiful example of the top vineyards in Washington coming together. Menthol, bright fruits featuring cherry, blueberries and plums. Spices, floral and mild oak. Balanced and medium plus finish. If you could find a Cabernet Blend in the world for under $15.00 this good then please let me know! 94 points
Recommendation: Buy this when they have their sale in late March/early April. (94 points)

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John Glas
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#48 Post by John Glas » March 3rd, 2020, 3:32 pm

Davenport Cellars offers their Continuity at 2/3 off again, it is hard to beat it in the $12 range.
Last edited by John Glas on March 3rd, 2020, 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mattccheung
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#49 Post by mattccheung » March 3rd, 2020, 3:33 pm

Mondavi cab is a safe choice.

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John Glas
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Re: What's the best $20 dollar bottle you know of?

#50 Post by John Glas » March 3rd, 2020, 3:34 pm

Yes, the La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi is a good one that can be as low as $15 at Costco....
13 is excellent! [cheers.gif]

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