A recent trip to Florida turned up some pleasant encounters with a handful of wines that are widely available. Thanks to Florida's wide open market (mildly regulated), these wines were all available at substantial discounts from what are listed below. That said, savvy shoppers will be smart to buy even at these prices. Enjoy!
2013 La Crema Chardonnay Sonoma Coast $19
Whereas a lot of large production Chardonnays have decreased in quality (but not in price) with the 2013 vintage, La Crema actually steps up. There are no surprises in this characteristic California Chard, except that it's well-made, clean, supremely enjoyable, and drinks like a lot of $30 Chards.
2012 Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Alexander Valley $18
Must. Get. More. Soon. Very accessible and exuding everything that's great about Alexander Valley: rich, ripe Cabernet flavors framed by toasty (but unobtrusive) oak and tannins. A terrific deal from one of California's most consistent family-owned wineries. Bravo.
2012 Rodney Strong Cabernet Alexander Valley $22
This was drunk next to the Cab above and, while it brought more intensity to the table, it wasn't quite as open as the AVV. Still, this powerful wine is one I'd like to revisit in another year or so.
2012 Bogle Pinot Noir California $11
If other Pinot producers asked themselves if their offerings beat the dollar-for-dollar punch of this wine before they priced their own, Pinot Noir would be half the cost. This is real Pinot Noir that triggers many pleasure points and drinks even better on day two. Whatever it may lack in nuance and sophistication it more than makes up for in its blockbuster value.
2010 Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva $25
Chianti finesse and acidity meets broad-shouldered structure and a firm-handed delivery of unapologetic flavor. Incredibly versatile - as companionable with a grilled ribeye as it is with a past and fish dish. Easily the best Chianti I've had in years.