Value Alert! 2010 Celler de Capcanes “Mas Donis” Barrica

I’m on the prowl for some good (actually very good) everyday wines.  Mostly to keep me from drinking wines I want to age longer (lately I’ve been dipping into the good stuff a little too much!)  I figure I put together a case of affordable everyday wines and share it with you!

What am I looking for?

Something for $10 or less, and since virtually all the wine I drink is with food, it’s got to be food friendly.  

I picked up the 2010 Celler de Capcanes “Mas Donis” Barrica from K&L Wine Merchants last week.  It’s custom cuvee made for wine importer Eric Solomon.

By the way, this is the third such custom cuvee put together for Solomon that’s been a winner in my book.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence – Solomon has a knack for wonderful every day wines that dramatically over deliver for the price.

[Overview of  Spanish Wines]

The wine is produced by Celler de Capcanes, which is located southwest of Barcelona in the Priorato hills. The winery also makes Kosher and organic wines,

It’s a blend of 85% Garnacha (70-year-old vines) and 15% Syrah (30-year-old vines) aged nine months in new and older American and French oak.  The Syrah adds some nice depth and acidity.

Value Alert! 2010 Celler de Capcanes "Mas Donis" Barrica Montsant

2010 Celler de Capcanes “Mas Donis” Barrica Montsant

My tasting notes follow:

Dark ruby color with promising spiced rose petal, mixed berry, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and vibrant with supple tannins, and raspberry, cherry blackberry spice and mineral flavors. Medium-long finish. 14% alcohol.

Rating: B+: This is a great everyday wine! If you can manage to hang on to a bottle until the warm weather returns, this is the type of wine that will take a chill nicely.  Will buy more!

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Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

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This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Value Alert…2011 Zestos Vinos de Madrid Old Vines

From time to time I come across a wine with a surprisingly good quality/price ratio (‘QPR”).  The 2011 Zestos Vinos de Madrid Old Vines, a Spanish wine from the DO Madrid is such a wine.  I purchased this bottle from my favorite wine store, K&L Wine Merchants.

Not familiar with the DO Madrid?  Join the club! Even many Spaniards are unaware that wine is being produced in Madrid.

DO Madrid is located south of the capital.  It is divided into 3 sub-zones – Arganda, San Martin, and Navalcarnero.  The area earned the coveted DO (Denominación de Origen) status in 1990, so it’s relatively new.

The fruit for this wine comes from the high-elevation district of San Martin de Valdeiglesisas at 2,850 elevation.

Here’s what K&L says about the wine…

Given the fresh, raspy mixed berry fruit, the name “Zestos” is indeed apt (though it actually is Spanish for “basket.”) Typical of garnacha from around the higher elevation vineyards of San Martín de Valdeiglesias (just outside of Madrid), there is a subtle yet undoubtedly present tannic backbone and firm minerality adding punch to this everyday red. It should stand up nicely to any range of dishes in your winter repertoire, even braised meats. Another example of the great potential of wines being made in the villages just outside of Madrid.

vinos de madrid old vine garnacha

My tasting notes follow:

Inky violet color with cherry liqueur, raspberry, black currant, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with surprisingly good acidity, present but well behave tannins, and black cherry, black currant, raspberry, spice, and mineral flavors. Medium finish. 

Rating: 87pts – Recommended. This wine is a great value at $10.  I’ll be buying more!

Here’s the wine geek stuff:

Where it’s from: SpainMadridVinos de Madrid

The grapes: 100% Grenache (Garnacha) 40+ years old

Aging: Stainless steel and concrete tanks of 10,000-liter capacity

Age of vineyards:40-50 year-old vines

Cost: $9.99

Alcohol: 14%

Production: 30,000 cases made, 10,000 imported to the USA

Closure: Cork

>>Find This Wine<<

T.G.I.F. Bubbly; Jean-Louis Denois Limoux Brut Rosé

Over the past couple of years I’ve been blogging about sparkling wines. For a time I blogged about a different sparkling wine on a weekly basis.  I’ve gotten away from it in recent months, not because I stopped drinking sparkling wines (I still drink bubbly on pretty much a weekly basis; they’re underrated food friendly wines and, for me, can easily make an otherwise ordinary day, just a little extraordinary.  I don’t wait for a special occasion and neither should you!), but rather because after a year and a half of trying a bunch-o sparkling wines from around the world, I’ve found many I enjoy that have become repeat purchases.  So it’s been a minute since I blogged about a sparkling wine I haven’t tried before.  That brings me to this week’s sparkling wine,  Jean-Louis Denois Pinot Noir Brut Rosé, a Crémant from Southern France.

This sparkling wine hails from the Languedoc-Roussillon region, which is considered by many to be to one of the most exciting and innovative in France.  It is also widely reputed to be among the most exciting for “bang for the buck” wines in France, especially for sparkling wines from the Limoux.  I’ve found several sparkling wines (known as Crémant when it’s produced using the same method using for making Champagne, but not made in the Champagne region of France).  It’s a “go-to” region for everyday sparkling wines from France for me.

The producer of this wine, Jean-Louis Denois is a sixth generation wine producer from Champagne, that has brought his experience and expertise to the sparkling wines of Limoux. His vineyards sit at the foot of the Pyrenees, and include red, white and sparkling wines, all made from low-yielding vines, vinified with as little interference as possible.

This is my third wine from Jean-Louis Denois.  The Brut Tradition is a perennial favorite sparkling wine for under $20, and last year I bought the 2008 Jean-Louis Denois Vin de Pays d’Oc Les Garrigues, a killer blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec that at $8 had off the chart QPR (easily the best $8 wine I’ve had)!

Jean louis denois rose

My tasting notes follow:

Salmon color with a persistent stream of tiny, but dispersed bubbles and faint red fruit aromas. On the palate, it shows a creamy mousse, lively acidity, and strawberry, cherry, and mineral flavors.  Medium finish – 87pts

Rating: Recommended – Sparkling Rosé tends to be priced at a premium, and it’s rare to find one made from 100% Pinot Noir, especially at this price point.  This wine is a great value and will be a repeat purchase for me!

Pair with: The beauty of sparkling wines is their versatility with food, because of their palate cleansing quality (think scrubbing bubbles;-). I think this one works well as an aperitif, and with food.   This would be a great wine for your Holiday dinner, veggie pizza, or Bahn Mi!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

Wine purchased for review

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Value Alert – 90pt Gem From Spain for $12!

Several months ago, I attended a La Mancha tasting in San Francisco.  I blogged about it in a post entitled Is La Mancha Ready For Primetime?  Of course, most of us are familiar with La Mancha thanks to the famous book by Miguel de Cervantes entitled The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (or perhaps for the less literary types such as myself, the Broadway musical The Man of La Mancha) 

These days La Mancha is trying to make a name for itself with its wines.  Here’s the 411 on La Mancha:

  • Part of the Castilla-La Mancha autonomous community
  • Largest of 9 DOs in Castilla-La Mancha, which is the largest continuous vine-growing area in the world
  • Climate – According to a local proverb – “nine months of winter and three months of hell
  • Authorized red grapes: Cencibel (a.k.a Tempranillo, Grenache, Moravia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah
  • Authorized white grapes: Airén (pronounced “Aye ran”), Macabeo (a.k.a. Viura), Chardonnay, Verdejo, Moscatel de grano menudo, and Sauvignon Blanc
  • Achieved DO status in 1976
  • There are  5 wine classifications rather than 3 typically found in Spain.  In addition to the traditional Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva classifications, La Mancha also has Young (Jóven), and Traditional classifications. The wines classified as “Joven” typically see no oak.  And according to, the Traditional is “Made with the traditional system, reinforced by the latest technological advances. They keep a distance and equilibrium point between the young and aging wines.”  In other words, it’s a New World style.
  • Known for producing wines with great price/quality ratio, and formerly known for producing bulk wines

The orange tag indicates this is classified as a "Tradicional" wine (click to enlarge image)

2009 Bodegas Volver La Mancha Single Vineyard – $11.99 at Costco

2009 Bodegas Volver La Mancha Single Vineyard

My tasting notes follow:

Inky purple-black color with black fruit, clove, allspice, and tobacco aromas. On the palate medium- full bodied, and smooth with well-behaved tannins, and with vibrant black cherry, plum, a touch of black currant fruit and spice flavors. Medium plus finish.  – 90pts

This wine,  which is  classified as “Tradicional,” is a fine example of a wine that can win over New World palates and put La Mancha on many a wine lover’s map, particularly if seeking great price/performance.   It’s 100% Tempranillo.  The grapes were sourced from a 72-acre vineyard planted in 1967.  It’s fermented in barrel and aged 14 months in new French Oak.   Rated 92pt by Wine Advocate.   I’ll be buying more, and highly recommend you give it a shot!   I purchase the wine at Costco.  But it’s widely available.  Click here to find.

Value Alert!…2010 Bodegas Terra Sigilata Filón Garnacha

From time to time I come across a bottle of wine that has a surprisingly good Quality/Price Ratio (“QPR”).  Then I can’t wait to share it with you, because that’s what us wine lovers do – we share!

This is a kick-ass Grenache from Spain where it is known as Garnacha.  Spain is renowned for value wines, and this one from the Calatayud DO (Denominación de Origen) located in the south-west of Spain is a righteous bargain!  The region is similar to certain areas of  Arizona or Utah, with tall red buttes and dry arroyos at high elevation (1,800 – 2,600 ft.), and a continental climate.  The fruit for this wine is produced from dry-farmed 30-40 year old vines.

2010 Bodegas Terra Sigilata Calatayud Filón

My review follows:

Inky nearly opaque violet color with dark red fruit, leather and anise aromas.  On the palate, medium-bodied with smooth well-integrated tannins, and a great mouthfeel with dark cherry, raspberry, spice, and licorice flavors.  Short-medium finish. Great QPR @ $10/bottle!  Will buy more!  To find this wine, click here

Value Alert!! – 2009 Goyette Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

From time to time I come across a bottle of wine that has a surprising good Quality/Price Ratio (“QPR”).  Then I can’t wait to share it with you, because that’s what us wine lovers do – we share!

I picked up this one at my local Costco store a couple of weeks ago.  It came highly recommended by the Costco wine rep who happened to be on site that day.  The 2009 Robert Goyette Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir presents a lot of value at $12.99/bottle, especially for a Pinot Noir, where I think it’s more challenging to find great QPR wines under $15.

2009 Goyette Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

My tasting notes follow:

Ruby color with earthy, licorice, red fruit, and spice aromas. On the palate – fairly well-balanced, smooth, medium bodied with well-integrated tannins, and tart cherry, licorice, and eastern spice flavors.  I highly recommend.