Buys $25 and under, Buys under $75, Lisa's Whites, Rosé Rosato etc.

Recent Favorites

Normally I would start a late-March post with “It’s been a tough winter with cold and snow and we were stuck inside tasting new wines.” I can’t use that excuse this year, as our winter was remarkably temperate and dry. In fact, it was the perfect weather for seeking out new wines. Here are a few of our recent favorites, a few wines under $20 and a great Napa Cab for splurging.

White + Rosé

Martin Codax Alabariño 2021  $16 at
Rias Baixas, Spain
If you’re bored with Sauvignon Blanc and are looking for a dry but refreshing, brightly acidic wine, try an Alabariño from Spain and Portugal. The Alabariño grape is native to the Iberian Peninsula and flourishes in the Rias Baixas region on the southwestern coast of Galicia. The Martin Codax 2021 has a coastal, salty vibe and zippy citrus flavors, with a dash of peach. It paired beautifully with fish tacos, chicken, and halibut.

GD Vajra Rosabella 2021     $22 at Vivino
Piemonte, Italy
Grapes: 90% Nebbiolo, 10% Barbera + Dolcetto
At first blush [sorry], the Rosabella looks and sniffs like the kind of uncomplicated “summer in a glass” rosé I hate. Pretty in pink and wildly fragrant, it won me over with fresh berry flavors and acidic minerality. I hate to say it, but the Rosabella would be a great summer sipper but can be enjoyed year-round.

Txomin Etxaniz Rosé 2021     $16 at
In 2019, we discovered the Basque region of Spain, whose white and rosé wines are made with just two native grapes—the red Ondarribi Beltza and white Hondarribi Zuri. Of the Txomin Etxaniz white wine we said we would “drink this sparkly white charmer as an aperitif or with grilled fish or chicken. Hints of citrus and mineral with light acidity.” The 2021 rosé was equally charming. Pale pink and slightly fizzy, with a fruity nose and light minerality, the Txomin Etxaniz rosé is fresh and refreshing.


ZD Cabernet Sauvignon 2019   $64 at Total Wine
Rutherford, Napa Valley, CA
While still quite young, this balanced Napa Cabernet was a great find at our local specialty wine shop. The 2019 ZD Cab features the toasted oak vanilla/black fruit aromas you’d expect from a wine at this price point but it drinks well above its weight with its silky smooth structure and long pleasing finish. Consider this for your next gift bottle or as a way to treat your Napa Cabernet-loving friends. This is the the winery’s 50th anniversary bottling so grab it if you can!

Coppi Siniscalco Primitivo     $16 at Vivino
Gioia del Colle, Puglia, Italy
If you are a regular VinoDuo reader, you know we have a soft spot for value wines that pack a lot of quality for the dollar. This under $20 Primitivo screams value [James Suckling gave it 90 points, if that matters]. The fruit-forward Zinfandel cousin is the ideal burger-pizza-BBQ wine. It’s got lots of earthy notes with some light spice and black berry fruits like currant and black cherry, all layered over silky tannins.

Cavaluna, Inmigrante Petit Verdot 2018
Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California Sur, MX 
Grapes: 70% Petit Verdot; 30% Tempranillo
We found the Inmigrante at Off the Vine, a beautiful and well-curated wine bar in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The primary grape is Petit Verdot, typically used as a mixing grape for Bordeaux blends and as filler for many California Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines. The bottle boasts a sketchy character on the label [the Inmigrante?] and a deep, dark garnet color inside. Gary loved the “brooding black fruit,” which was divine in Mexico but also fit for cold-weather dishes like chili or Chipotle-grilled meats and vegetables.

Sadly, the wine lacks any US distribution. But, if you’re in Mexico, pick us up a case!

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