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  • Writer's pictureThe Unassuming Wine Bros

Happy Anniversary-Our Best for the Past Year

The Unassuming Wine Bros

Believe it or not, it's been one year since our wine adventures began gracing the pages of Around the Ranch. We've traveled (journalistically) through Europe, South America, Oregon, Washington, California, and New York State in search of the best affordable wines to drink, talk about, and share with you - our readers. We have expanded our growing wine empire (ha-ha) to social media with our webpage, Facebook profile, and Instagram account! Now that we have hit the one-year mark, it's time to talk about the best affordable wines we have sampled this year- the UWB's best of the best.

We are The Unassuming Wine Bros (UWB) – Patrick and Vigo - two regular guys who love everything about wine, including writing about it. Our goal is to explore the nuances of wine, share our adventures with you, and have a little fun along the way.

This article could be a three-page spread with our favorites throughout the year. To keep it at around one page, we decided to highlight our favorite red, white, and sparkling wines that we sampled and profiled this year.

Vigo's Best of the Year -Red Wine Category:

2017 Elk Cove Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir: Willamette Valley, Oregon; $28.99 U.S; 13.5% ABV

Vigo: When I first reviewed the Elk Cove Estate Pinot Noir in January 2020, I gave this delicious wine a 4.5 out of 5 Bros rating. I think my decision to underrate this Pinot Noir was based on the mistaken attitude that something better would come later. Needless to say, although there were many suitors, none compared to the Elk Coves Estate Pinot Noir's balance, smoothness, and taste. I'm sheepishly seeing the error in my ways and giving it the rating it deserves.

Vigo’s Rating: 5 Bros.

Patrick Best of the Year-Red Wine Category:

2018 DAOU Vineyards, Pessimist Red Blend: Paso Robles, California; $25.00 US; 15.5% ABV

Patrick: My favorite selection this year was Daou Vineyards' 2017 Pessimist Red Blend. I'm not sure I have ever tasted a bottle of wine at this price point with so much complexity in every sip. At this price, it makes for a fantastic wine full of juicy fruit, rich chocolate, tannins, acidity, and finish.

Patrick's Rating: 4 Bros.

Vigo's Best of the Year-White Wine Category:

2018 Cooper Mountain Chardonnay: Willamette Valley, Oregon; $20.54 U.S; 13.5% ABV

I'm sure you see a pattern that I'm a big fan of Willamette Valley wines. With all the great Chardonnays being made throughout the world, this was a huge surprise that a beautiful Chardonnay was being produced in Oregon. The 2018 Cooper Mountain Chardonnay was never featured in our monthly article - it was instead highlighted on our Instagram page (if you're an Instagram user, your missing out by not following the UWB site). If you're a fan of oaky, buttery Chardonnays, this isn't for you, but if you like notes of tart green apples, lush fruit, and creamy lemons in your Chardonnay, then race as fast as you can to your local wine store to pick up this delightful, expertly crafted wine.

Vigo's Rating: 5 Bros

Patrick Best of the Year-White Wine Category:

#1A: 2019 Elk Cove Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris: Willamette Valley, Oregon; $16.99 US; 13% ABV

Patrick: I had two whites this year that both stood out above the rest. The first was the 2018 Elk Cove Estate Pinot Gris. Crisp, complex, with a great mix of tartness and sweeter fruit, minerality, and a zesty finish. I love complex wines, and this had a mesmerizing tangy, clean deliciousness that blew me away.

Patrick's #1A Rating: 4.5 Bros

#1B: 2018 Forge Cellars Classique Dry Riesling: Seneca Lake, New York State; $14.00 U.S; 12% ABV

Patrick: This 2018 Forge Cellars Dry Riesling was perhaps the most significant source of disagreement between Vigo and me to date. I found this wine excellent; Vigo...not so much. I ENJOY BALANCE when I drink white wine, which means equal parts pronounced apple notes with acidity carrying the wine through to its finish. This wine hit the mark for me in every way. Check it out and let us know whether you agree with Vigo or me on this one.

Patrick's #1B Rating: 4 Bros.

Vigo's Best of the Year-Sparkling Wine Category:

Graham Beck, Brut Rose' Sparkling Wine, 2018, West Cape Winelands, South Africa, $20.99 U.S, 12% ABV

Vigo: I'm sure as you're reading this, you're asking, "why South Africa?" It's a great question, and I'll answer with, price point, taste, and structure of this magnificent sparkling wine. Being that it a Brut Rose' will be dry on the palate, but it also brings in a delicious raspberry sherbet flavor that feels creamy and decadent. The bubbles in this sparkling wine are tight and effervescent and almost feel like you have a packet of Pop Rocks in your mouth. Patrick introduced me to this sparkling wine, and I have to give him full credit every time someone has complimented me for selecting it. The Graham Beck Brut Rose Sparkling Wine is a sports car of sparkling wine at an economy car price.

Vigo's Rating: 5 Bros

Patrick Best of the Year-Sparkling Wine Category:

2016 Domaine Carneros Brut Sparkling Wine; Carneros, California; $28.00 US; 12.5 ABV

Patrick: This sparkling California wine requires qualification - it is made by French Champagne maker Tattinger in the French method but with California Chardonnay grapes in Carneros. It dazzles with apple and lemon flavors with a toasty, nutty finish. If it was made in France, it would easily cost double. Since discovering this sparkling wine, it has become a "go-to" staple at my wife, and I's home for dinner parties. Dinner parties at my home always start with two bottles of the Domaine Carneros Brut Sparkling Wine as a conversation primer for the rest of the evening.

Patrick's Rating: 4 Bros.

Vigo's Overall Impressions:

We've come a long way from that Saturday afternoon on Longboat Key, chatting about the wines we enjoy then asking each other, "Why don't we write a wine article." That conversation turned to both Patrick, and I hustling every month to come up with new ideas that the communities around Lakewood Ranch would like to read about. Wine isn't a beverage; it's a piece of art that we get not only to see and feel, but also consume. We are honored that Around the Ranch gives us a forum to share our love of wine.

We also enjoy it when people come up to us and say, "Hey, I read your wine article in Around the Ranch; it is great." The UWB looks forward to writing about new wines next year and hopes you continue to enjoy the wines we cover.

Patrick's Overall Impressions:

It has been a fun year writing this article. We both work full-time in demanding professions and have families, so trust me - it's not always easy or convenient to hit our monthly publishing deadline. However, it is a labor of love, and we have a blast doing it. We hope the fun we have is evident in our monthly wine musings.

Attention Readers:

Like our Facebook page "The Unassuming Wine Bros," follow us on Instagram @theinassumingwinebros, or email us at Let us know what you think about this article, these bottles, or suggestions for upcoming articles.

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