These are wines that cost under $30 before tax. While many are under $30 with tax a few are not and will be noted. Here we go:
- Not even close on the decision this year. This is off the charts!
- 2017 Result of a Crush Syrah The Unnamed Series – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley (11/4/2022)
Day 1: Exotic spices, sweet bell peppers, black pepper, earth, black olives, tar and roasted meats. Outstanding on the pop and pour and super complex wine. As good as the last bottle. 93 points
Day 2: This is the closest to an actually Reynvaan wine you can get without spending $75. Very few would know the difference in a blind tasting. Black olives, spices, tar, roasted meats, violets, earth and stone. Concentrated wine with a really long finish. Complexity overload for $25. 94+ points
Day 3: By far the best of the 18 and 19 in comparison. Holding outstanding form on day 3. Black olives, dust, tar, roasted meats, violets, earth, stone, blueberries, red currants and white pepper. Super long finish and wine of the year almost for sure. Reynvaan wine for $25 for sure. 95 points
Recommendation: I just ordered 8 more so have at it. (95 points)
2. CEO of selling out Davenport. I have some pull in the wine world and regret promoting this one as I have only one bottle left.
- 2014 Davenport Cellars Mr. B – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley (7/20/2022)
Day 1: Sadly 2nd to last bottle. Powerful wine with Bing cherries, plum, spice, mild oak and spices. Was just in Walla Walla this past weekend and very few Cabernets I tasted were this good and they sold for far more.
Day 2: Think Barnett Rattlesnake Hill. Dark fruits featuring blueberries, plum, cherry along with spice, floral, dark chocolate and minerals. Not even close when it comes to the best wine value of all time. Again don’t focus on the price focus on what is in the glass. 94 points.
Day 3: Hello. Tested Positive for Covid and thank goodness didn’t lose smell and taste. This rivals any Napa Wine and 3 Day Wine Review put this wine on the map! Blueberries, plum, spice, dark chocolate, minerals, spice, dust and Bing Cherries. Can’t explain how good this is and no critic rated this. Off the charts and the biggest promotion in 3 Day Wine Review History. 95 points
RECOMMENDATION: IF YOU CAN GET SOME YOUR WELCOME!!! (95 points)
3. Sold this one out also through WTSO. Lisa from WA got this wrong! 12/31/2022 Tie with the 2021 Tensley. Back the truck up on this one!
- 2011 Clarendon Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Sandown – Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, Clarendon (4/22/2022)
Day 1: This is very similar to the 2nd bottle and features more fruit. Blueberries, plum and boysenberries. Mineral streak on the finish along with some tobacco. Very good again. 93 points
Day 2: To say there is good bottle variation might be an understatement with this wine. 2 bottles with that Cayuse funk and 2 bottles more in the Napa high end style. Blueberries, minerals, cherry, boysenberries, soy, tobacco and earth. Medium plus finish. This buries anything under $30 in a long time. 94 points
Recommendation: $27.99 at WTSO might be the easiest purchase since the Davenport Cellars deals. (94 points)
- 2021 Tensley Syrah – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (12/31/2022)
Day 1: Alright 2020 was excellent with a fruit forward style but did not overdo it. This 2021 is off the charts! Can’t believe no one else has reviewed it but here we go. Black pepper, spice, boysenberries, tar, dark cherry, stone and soy sauce. So thankful that my boys from Thomas Liquor reached out to me and said we have a case and was able to get 4. Should have got all 12 but that is not sharing! Now will have to redo my top 10 of the year for under $30. 94+ points (94 points)
4. Another Result of a Crush Wine on the List
- 2018 Result of a Crush Syrah The Unnamed Series – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley (10/21/2022)
Day 1: This is singing and just off the UPS truck. It is a myth that wines need time from transited. Older bottles or Champagnes yes but newer bottles with over 100 notes and then 100 later no worries on these younger wines. Medium purple. This is complex like the bigger brother Reynvaan wines and for $25 a bottle one of the top wines of the year for the money. Black olives, dust, white pepper, spice, minerals, roasted meats and red currants. Medium to long finish and complexity is off the charts. 93 points
Day 2: This is not as good but solid on day 2. Green olives, dust, minerals, earth, white pepper and red currants. Not as intense as day 1 but not complaining. 91 points
Day 3: So, this is off the charts on day 3. Even better than day 1. Black olives, spice, roasted meat, stone, red currants, minerals, graphite and spices. Medium plus finish. No wine this year under $25 is on this level. Classic this wine is under $30 so it can’t be this good. Wrong! Might be my wine of the year candidate. 94 points
Recommendation: I am buying a case of this and will regret promoting this as I will want more cases down the road. (94 points)
5. Great California Pinot for Under $30 exists.
- 2018 Dutton-Goldfield Pinot Noir Dutton Ranch – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (10/18/2022)
Day 1: This is singing. One of the best under $20 wine buys in a long time. Thanks Morelli’s in St. Paul. Cranberry, spice, rose petals, underbrush, violets, and red currants. Flavorful wine and medium plus finish. Outstanding value. 93 points
Day 2: Even a bit better. Beautiful wine with cranberry, strawberry, rose petals, violets, red currants, mushrooms and spices. Super complex effort and even better on day 2. Outstanding. 94 points
Recommendation: Buy it!!! (94 points)
6. $20 from Haskell’s thanks to a friend’s discount!
- 2019 Pax Syrah North Coast – USA, California, North Coast (11/27/2022)
Day 1: Celery, roasted red peppers, spice, black pepper, earth, dust and sour red berries. This is one of those wines that needs some time to open so no score at this time.
Day 2: When people wonder why I do 3 day wine review these are the benchmark wines to share. Day 1 not that solid overall and really not scoreable. Day 2 wow! Explosive nose of underbrush, violets, dark fruits, black olives, smoke, roasted peppers and tar. One if not the best under $20 wines of the year. Got a deal from a friend! Long finish and super complex wine. Wish they had more than 3 left on the shelf. 93+ points
Day 3: Even more balanced and drinking well. Underbrush, black pepper, violets, cedar, dust, black olives, minerals and tar. Medium plus finish and showing well for a young Pax. Buy this! 94 points
Recommendation: Better than the 2020 and easy 10 plus years of enjoyment. This is a good wine to try over 3 days if you have never done this before. (94 points)
7. The only wine from Total Wine on my Lists
- 2017 K Vintners Syrah The Deal Sundance Vineyard – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Wahluke Slope (6/19/2022)
3 Syrah’s $30 or Under Blind: Day 1: Wine 1 in a blind tasting of 3 Syrahs in that $25ish price point. This wine showed nothing out of the gate and this will be the review I give for this wine but will update on day 2. Raspberry, mild earth, spice and very simple in nature. Yes, I will revisit this wine on day 2 and even later on with air improved but for this pop and pour event only. 88 points
Day 2: Again, why I do the day 2 and 3 thing. Much more open for business and K like. Roasted meats, pepper, dark berries, earth, minerals and black olives. This is a tremendous effort for a $26 bottle but would never guessed this on a pop and pour. 92 points
Day 3: This is singing! Another day 3 success. Tastes like a baby Cayuse En Chamberlin and that is not an exaggeration. Black olives, tar, funk, minerals, white pepper, roasted meats and earth. LONG finish and complexity off the charts. Buy! 94 points
Recommendation: This might be the value of the year. The most polarizing transformation of the year. (94 points)
8. Let’s go Larry!
- 2016 Tercero Grenache Blanc – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (6/9/2022)
Better on Day 2 or 3!; 6/2/2022-7/5/2022 (3 Day Wine Review World Headquarters, Minneapolis, MN): Day 1: Now this is a cool wine! I love the Delille Chaleur Estate but this might be even better. Stone, lemon drops, floral, orange rind, minerals and unripe peaches. Super finish and concentrated wine. The best white wine I have tasted this year. 94 points
Day 2: Stone, floral, flint, lemon drops, orange rind, honey suckles and unripe peaches. Nice acidity and gorgeous wine. Can’t believe this is under $25. 94 points
Day 3: Flint, minerals, orange peel, spice, unripe peaches, floral and lemon. This wine has not missed a beat from initial opening. 94 points
Recommendation: Buy! One of the better under $30 wines in recent memory and will drink well through 2028. (94 points)
9. 2nd Aussie on the top ten.
- 2018 Shaw and Smith Shiraz – Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide Hills (6/10/2022)
Better on Day 2 or 3!; 6/2/2022-7/5/2022 (3 Day Wine Review World Headquarters, Minneapolis, MN): Day 1: This wine has turned out to be a winner on every occasion. Fragrant wine with floral, raspberries, mint, roasted Chesnuts, white pepper and underbrush. The anti in your face Aussie Shiraz. Love it. 93 points
Day 2: Better than the previous for sure. Floral, raspberries, spice, white pepper, minerals, underbrush and dust. Very nice wine and under $30. 93 points
Day 2.5: This is even better than earlier. This has picked up some weight and features plums, raspberries, black pepper, minerals, roasted meats, soy and spices. 94 points
Day 3: Roasted meats, blueberries, raspberries, spices, underbrush, black pepper, mild soy and dark plums. This is a steal for $28. 94 points
Recommendation: Get some if you can. One of the better Aussie Values out there. (94 points)
10. Champagne under $30 does exist but usually it is not very good!
- NV Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Réserve – France, Champagne (12/10/2022)
Day 1: Disgorged 2020. This is really nice and even nicer is the $30 price tag. Chalk, dough, lemon zest, orange rind, spice, a drop of honey and minerals. This is complex, refreshing and a wonderful NV effort. Highly recommend. 92+ points
Day 2: Still solid but for sure consume on day 1. Chalk, lemon, minerals, spice, orange peel and nice acidity. Medium plus finish. 90 points
Recommendation: Drink now to 2028. (92 points)
10. TIE: So I sold out Davenport Cellars remaining wine. Yes I have a huge influence in the wine world and by far the biggest needle mover in the Twin Cities and Wine Berserkers. This wine is off the charts and I am mad I did not try it and buy 3 cases.
- 2016 Davenport Cellars Sémillon Dionysus Vineyard – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley (12/19/2022)
Day 1: This is very nice. Vibrant wine and has held up well over the years. Minerals, dust, spice, mild honey, apricot, white flowers and chalk. A wonderful effort and another great Davenport wine! 92 points
Day 2: Even better. This has plenty of life left. Apricots, honey, dust, minerals, floral, pear, white flowers and spice. Complex and medium plus finish. Nice acidity. A well-made effort indeed. 93 points
Day 3: Wow again. Just a beautiful wine and probably the best white I have tasted from Washington. Chalk, minerals, spice, tropical fruit, honey suckles, apricot, stone, white flowers and crushed rock. This is super complex and even longer finish on day 3. I thought this would be toast but just made it into my top wines of the year under $30 category. 94 points
Recommendation: You can cellar this another 5 plus years. (94 points)
Honorable Mention: Would have been higher if at release price back in the day! Trying to charge $45 as a library wine so out of top contention.
- 2009 Watermill Winery Syrah – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley (7/14/2022)
Walla Walla Syrah Festival “Vintage Pour” (Cavu Cellars, Walla Walla): To say this was the QPR of the tasting would not be an understatement. This was showing amazing. Stone, floral, green olives, earth, menthol and white pepper. Long and concentrated finish. If you have one of these decant and hour and see what you think! (94 points)