Recycle Bin, Week of Feb. 17

This week we've got a mixed bag of winners, losers, and drawers.  We start out with a timely wine just for President's Day and one terrific bang for the buck from unicorn territory: a tasty Pinot for (way) under $20.

2011 The Federalist Zinfandel Cry Creek Valley $24.99 (Sample)
Just in time for President's Day is this non-partisan Zinfandel from Dry Creek.  Bright, articulate, and gregarious red fruit comes on more like Bill Clinton than Barak Obama.  Medium-bodied with solid, Ronald Reagan framing and long, two-term finish, this will find consensus at even the most divided of dinner tables.
2010 Vinum Cellars Pinot Noir California $12
This is the right wine at the right time and the right price. How/why there's anymore of the 2010 on the shelves is anyone's guess, but every smart shopper's gain.  Sampled by the glass (along with the next wine) at the local Whole Foods, the Vinum Pinot seems to be in peak drinking form right this minute.  Shazzam. This wine sizzles all the more for its bombastic price tag. Have to get more.  Pronto.
2012 Allan Scott Family Winemakers Pinot Noir Marlborough New Zealand $16 
Not a darn thing wrong it and plenty right.  Accessible, easy and totally drinkable. Round, soft, and medium bodied fruit without the tangy tinge a lot of Kiwi Pinots seem to have.  Recommended.
2010 Querceto Chianti Classico $16 
Initially this appeared to be an example of an (almost) middle of the road Chianti.  Another price-inflated burp on the crutches of points reviews. But as it opened up, it's focus became clear and it began delivering some goods. Nowhere close to mind bending (or 92 points), but a fair value at its sale price.  Also a nice change of pace from the dense, full frontal assault wines that pervade the marketplace these days.
2010 Yalumba Shiraz Barossa "Patchwork" $15
Speaking of full frontal wines...The price on this is normally $20, but is on sale for $15. Whats in the bottle? Exactly what you'd expect for $15 spent on an Aussie Shiraz: plenty of density, delish fruit, and a thin veneer of Polish. That's it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

2012 For A Song Chardonnay Columbia Valley $15
This came into the line up because The Mrs likes the stereotypical California, which is what I asked for of a Newbie at a trusted local retailer.  Forget that it is neither from California or in that style, I figured $15 spent on Chard from Columbia Valley can only go so wrong. But The Mrs wanted an explanation after she had made a run at this. Her face said "yuck". So did her mouth. So, what does the Mrs know?  Plenty as it turns out. And $15 is a heck of a lot more than a song in my book, by the way.
2012 McManus Petite Sirah California $11
Having recommended this wine a couple of times recently, I stocked up.  A suspiciously strong hangover after a couple of glasses the other night have me second guessing that reco.  Another tasting later and I think I've got it. Under the appealing exterior of this treat is a lurking troll made of well-disguised sugar. As my niece used to say, Ouchie McGouchie.