Our popular "90+ point rated wines under $20" selections from Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast, and others, has been enhanced with a new drill down navigational menu to narrow results by varietal, region and winery. Once you select a source, you may also refine your serach by name and price order. Wine Ratings used at Napacabs are from several sources, below is a brief summary of of the referenced publications.
NapaCabs.com: Ratings are used as guidelines to make informed purchasing decisions; however, an individual’s unique palette and experience is the best judge of any wine. One needs to taste, learn and experience a wide range of varietals and regional styles to identify the aromas and flavors that they appreciate and enjoy.
Wine Spectator(WS) Magazine editors review more then 15,000 wines each year in blind tastings. Wines are either submitted by wineries or purchased.
* 95-100 Classic: a great wine
* 90-94 Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style
* 85-89 Very good: a wine with special qualities
* 80-84 Good: a solid, well-made wine
* 75-79 Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
* 50-74 Not recommended
A score given as a range (e.g., 90-94) indicates a preliminary score, usually based on a barrel tasting. Find 90+ wines under 20 and more.
Wine Advocate (WA), a leading wine publication with the most influential wine writer Robert Parker Jr., is regarded as the most followed wine consumer guide.
Robert Parker's rating system employs a 50-100 point quality scale.
96-100: An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this caliber are worth a special effort to find, purchase, and consume.
90 - 95: An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.
80 - 89: A barely above average to very good wine displaying various degrees of finesse and flavor as well as character with no noticeable flaws.
70 - 79: An average wine with little distinction except that it is a soundly made. In essence, a straightforward, innocuous wine.
60 - 69: A below average wine containing noticeable deficiencies, such as excessive acidity and/or tannin, an absence of flavor, or possibly dirty aromas or flavors.
50 - 59: A wine deemed to be unacceptable.
Scores in parentheses indicate that the wine was tasted from barrel.
Wine Enthusiast(WE) Magazine has grown to become one of the world’s most respected and quoted publications in the field of wine and spirits.
98-100: Classic; The pinnacle of quality
94-97: Superb; A great achievement
90-93: Excellent; Highly Recommended
87-89: Very Good; Often good value; well recommended
83-86: Good; Suitable for everyday consumption; often good value
80-82: Acceptable; Can be employed in casual, less-critical circumstances
Wine & Spirits: (W&S)Tastings are composed of retailers, sommeliers, winemakers and other wine professionals invited to taste, to avoid the prejudices any one critic.The wines recommended by this panel are then presented to W&S critic, who scores each wine and writes the reviews. The wine’s ratings are based on comparisons within its varietal and regional category. Wines from 80 to 85 are recommended as good examples of their variety or region. Wines from 86 to 89 are highly recommended; from 90 to 94 are exceptional examples of their type; and 95 or higher are superlative, rare finds.
Wine News: (WN) Prominently, California and Northwest wine coverage, an upscale, consumer-oriented magazine that educates, guides and entertains its wine-savvy readers. Perspectives and straight-forward wine recommendations that appeal to the broad range of consumerism, from novice to collector.
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine: (CG)acclaimed by the Los Angeles Times as the "oldest, most prestigious reviewer of California wines", delivers candid, unbiased opinions." Robert M. Parker, Jr., Author/Publisher, The Wine Advocate -“No one does a better job of covering the California wine scene."
3 Stars:(95-98 points) An exceptional wine. Worth a special search of the market.
2 Stars:(91-94 points) A highly distinctive wine. Likely to be memorable.
1 Star:(87-90 points) Fine example of a type or style of wine. Without notable flaws.
80-86 Wines of varying quality and value. See tasting notes for details.
70-79 Flawed wines to be avoided.
Note: Wines not marked with stars are often delightful wines. Each has unique virtues and any of these wines may be the best wine to serve your needs based on value, availability or for your dining and taste preferences.
Gambero Rosso: Tre Bicchieri Wines from Gambero Rosso "the Italian Wine bible", this food and wine publication is highly respected and provides the most thorough evaluation of Italian wines. Tre Bicchieri has a long standing tradition of impartial, independent and reliable evaluations based on blind tastings by more than 100 experts. The guide is designed to provide readers with both an understanding of the history and development of producers and their wines. Wines are rated according to a scale of bicchieri (ie. glasses) ranging from zero to three, with Tre Bicchieri the highest score.
International Wine Cellar: (IWC) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar is a critically acclaimed bi-monthly journal. This explanation of his ratings comes from his online site.
85-89: Very Good to Excellent
70-74: Below Average
< 70: Avoid
James Suckling: The former Senior Editor and European Bureau Chief of Wine Spectator, is primarily focused on wines from Europe. He has worked and lived in Italy, France and the United Kingdom; notwithstanding, he has a strong interest in wines from all over the world, particularly South America, Australia, and the United States. James Suckling is regarded as one of the world's most influential wine critics.