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

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?

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

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

If Davenport Cellars offers their Continuity at 2/3 off again, it is hard to beat it in the $12 range.

2014 Chateau Lanessan, Haut-Medoc

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

If you can go up to $25, try a Cadence Coda (from Washington State).

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.

If you go with Monte Bello, Caymus and Mollydooker, the tasting will be about winemaking style, not value.

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.

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.

I can drink this and be fine…

15 bucks, or so.

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.

^^^ Also Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico

Yep, the Substance is another great one at that price point

For me the best $20 bottle is Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo but it doesn’t fit the game you are going for.

Was thinking this too, but then he would have to buy a Rougeard as the $200+ ringer. [cheers.gif]

Yup. Excellent Chianti!

And that’s a problem why? :wink:

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