I would love to hear some comments on what good, inexpensive wines that users here enjoy. By inexpensive, I mean very inexpensive - less than $12-$15 per bottle - the less the better!
Here are a couple of my favorite bargain wines to start with:
Rosemount Shiraz-Cabernet - the 2001 and 2002 vintages both are good. WS86. The 2000 vintage was good but may be beginning to show its age in the near future for a wine meant to be enjoyed relatively young. My personal rating: 87.
$5 to $7
Delicato Shiraz 2002 - Robert Parker rated this an 85. Wine Spectator rated the 2000 and 2001 vintages 86 and 85, respectively. My personal rating: 85.
$5 to $8
My current favorite is Perrin Reserve Cote-du-Rhone 2000. This is an awesome bargin Rhone. You can find it at Beverages and More for $9.99. I rate it at about a 87. I've consumed cases of it. In fact I bought a half case to pour for the family during the Thanksgiving holidays. For the dinner itself, I have some more upscale Boureaux...
Bryn is spot on with those comments on the Perrin Reserve (its such good value I had it at my wedding). However its becoming increasingly hard to get hold of the 2000 (although the 2001 is still good).For something completely different I'd recommend Hochar Père et Fils. Its the second wine of Chateau Musar (Lebanon's most famous wine). I'd rate it around 85. In the UK its £6 ($9) a bottle.
Domaine Terre Megere 2001 Merlot. Very flavourful, and concentrated with a nice bit of spice. Good structure throughout with solid tannins and balanced acidity. I bought a case and went back for more 'cause it was damn cheap and damn good! ($13 canadian, about $10 US) I don't really like point systems because they tell you nothing about what the wine is like, but If I had to, I'd say 85-88.
If you live in the states, there are so many bottlings that you guys have that are fine values. I Just tried the Bogle 2000 Petie Syrah. This was a terrific bottle for the price ($15 cdn.) Deep inky purple in colour and totally opaque. Really thick and concentrated. Not really complex, but great stewed fruit presence and a definite black pepper taste. Very full bodied with nice chewy tannins. I couldn't find any hard edges. Definitely has cellar potential. Oh, BRUSH YOUR TEETH AFTERWARDS! This stuff turned our teeth purple! ($18)
I have always found that Rosemount prefers a bright style of wine, and if you like that, try Mildara Wineries "Church Hill" 2000 Cab Sav/Shiraz. Very good bottle, bright and snappy with generous ripe fruit flavours. Really easy drinking. I usually dont like this style of wine, but this was just what I wanted on the day. ($16)
Still from Australia but compltely different in style, 3 picks, all similar. WaterWheel Bendigo 2000 Shiraz Peter Lehmann 2001 Clancy's Wirra Wirra 2001 Church Block
All three of these are ultra fruit packed and thick. Definitely bordering on "sweet" because the presence of stewed fruit flavours is so intense. Definitely good, but I think you have to like the style, or be in the mood for it. The Clancy's and Church Block are both very smooth and easy drinking. Round sweet tanins fill your mouth. The WaterWheel has a good layer of spice and just a touch of bitterness (a good thing though) and perhaps stronger tannins. Each is about $18 cdn.
Spain has some amazing wines right now.
Bodegas Castaño has two wines out right now that I love.
1999 Pozuelo which has layers of cherry and perhaps even strawberry flavours and a touch of spice. Smooth tannins and balanced acicity make it very easy to drink. Colour and palate texture could be described as bright and clear. ($12)
The other from Castaño is the 2001 Hecula. fuller in body and deeper in flavour, perhaps a little less fruit complexity, but there are mineral elements that are very interesting. A smokey and earthy element is very eveident. ($15)
Condado de Haza has beeen fairly consistent and the last three vintages I have had ('98 '99 '00) were all very good. I find that they are generally a little higher in acidity so food would be a good idea. ($18)
My Favourite from spain in the price range has to be the Castell del Remei 2000 Gotim Bru. Wow, this plonk is good! Very clean aroma of cherry, blackberry and strawberry. Clear but deep red colour. So many flavours hit the palate that I found it hard to describe. I think I'll say yummy! A slightly bitter tannic edge was present and it really added interest to it. ($18)
On the super dirt cheap end, I really enjoyed the Altano 1999 & 2000 Douro. both medium bodied, with good fruit, a little peppery, moderately chewy tannins and slightly elevated acidity. Not at all complex, but good if you're on a budget.
Here is why I don't like scores, I had the Argiano 1999 Solengo, which was great, and wanted something from the same winery, but at a more affordable price. So, I bought a bottle of Argiano 2000 Rosso di Montalcino on a whim. When I got home, I checked my first resource, Wine Spectator. They had almost never let me down! The bottle scored 79 points! I put the bottle away and hung my head in shame. A month or two later, I decided to try it anyway. I admit, it had an odd bouquet at first, but when it hit the palate, I was very surprised at how delicious it was. I did more web searching, and found that the reviews were rather split. Some giving the bottle up to 90 pts, and some as low as 70! I found it really came down to what style the drinker was after. It seems that the drinkers at Wine speactator are not much into the "rustic", old world wines, but I rather enjoy them.
Hope this helps you a bit. I have more, I could tell you about, but maybe try one of these and let me know what you think so I can find something suited to your tastes.
' Wow! Great input so far. I totally agree about the 2000 Gotim Bru, and look forward to trying some of the others.
I usually prefer red wines, but I have been drinking some whites recently. My recent favorite is Barone Fini Alto Adige D.O.C. Pinot Grigio at $15. Very smooth - a unique wine from my limited experience.
Here are some more super inexpensive wines that I've enjoyed lately:
2002 Alice White Chardonnay at just $5 WS85 - very pleasing chardonnay, especially at this price!
2000 Beringer Zinfandel at $4.50 My personal rating: 83. A decent red for less than $5.
Thanks for your input and please continue to post your favorite affordable wines!
Glad that you found it useful! I myself have not ventured to far into whites aside from botrytis dessert wines (yummy!) I'll try out your suggestions.
I tried a bottle of the Perrin just last night and I was very confused at first. After hearing quite a bit about how full and rich it was, my first mouthful made me want to pour the bottle down the drain! It felt very thin and watery to me and my wife. Well, we thought maybe we should try it with a bit of food. We had some pizza with mildly spicy sausage on it and it did absolute wonders! Although I would still say more towards medium than full bodied, it had a very nice palate presence and the fruit was very nice. The finish was clean and open. I'm sitting with a glass right now and it is very good! It's a good thing I got over that first sip or I would have missed out on a good bottle. As I tend to prefer slightly spicy wines, I still prefer the Terre Megere I mentioned, but the Perrin will definitely be a part of my cellar.
I'm looking through my cellar notes right now and I have just come up with a couple of things you may be interested in.
From Argentina, the Finca Los Primos 2001 Malbec. This was a surprise for me because for $10 cdn, it was very nice. It had the typical Malbec "murkiness" (how I like to describe it) and was very easy to drink. Low acidity, fine, smooth tannins and overall fruity and succulent. Not a real stunner, but really good for the money.
Depending on where you live, Elderton may be in your price range. I absolutely love Elderton's wines. I very recently had the 98 command shiraz and it stands out as a one of the best wines I have ever had. The command is a little out of the $15 range, but the estate bottled series may be around $15 or just a bit over. The 99 cab-sav is very elegant, with a richness and creamy texture. I have the 2000 Shiraz but I have not yet tried it. I'll let you know.
Paringa and Pirramimma, both from Australia have some really good stuff out right now. Paringa's Shiraz from the last few vintages are really good. Full bodied with grippy tannins and some really cool minty flavours. Very cheap stuff too. Pirramimma is a bit more, but well worth it. I've had several bottles of the 1999 Petit Verdot and I can't stop raving about it. If you like big, chewy wines, this is a good find.
Also from Australia, I bought a bottle of Mitolo 2001 Jester Shiraz while I was in Chicago over the summer. It was $14 and absolutely packed with fruit. Very dark in colour, densely textured and nicely grippy. When I got back home from my trip, I tried to find some in my city. COMPLETELY SOLD OUT FOR 3 MONTHS!
Finally, from Argentina again, Don Rodolfo 2002 Tannat and the 2002 Shiraz. I have no idea what these are like. I have bottle of each and am waiting for a chance to open them. Everybody I have spoken with has said they are very good wines and excellent bargains. They cost me $14 each. I'll let you know when I open them.
I have a favorite from the Duoro Valley in Portugal. Charamba 1999 from Quinta de Aveleda. At a extrodinary low price of $8 a bottle, this wine is a steal! Everyone I serve it to thinks it's at least a $40 bottle and I must say it's evolving in the right direction with age. Probably still has a good 5 years of life left, maybe more. A case is definately in order here.
Hi all, just a quick note. I just opened a cheapie tonight and I was very pleasantly surprised. The Miguel Torres Santa Digna 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon was a super cheap, nicely done bottle. Again, not at all my style of wine and I think that is why it impresses me so much. A very big clean bouquet, fruity and some liquorice too. Medium bodied and very forward, open fruit with just the right amount of tannin for the style. Good concentration, good texture, good bouquet, good wine, great value. I got this for $11 cdn and I'm betting you could pick it up for less the $8 u.s. As a side note, I drank it with a Korean soup/dish called Kimchi-jigae. A very spicy soup made with Kim-chi which is pickled spicy cabbage. I was really surprised at how well they matched each other. Live and learn!
For a really fun group of wines you can't beat Crocodile Rock. They make a Chardonnay that is very much a summer wine with a lot of green apple and pear. Their Shiraz and Merlot are both very drinkable and they all sell for about $7 a bottle.
I recently found a great McMannis Cabernet Sauvingon 2002 for $8! I've looked for a good Cabernet that was cheap enough (under $10), full bodied, and without that metallic taste so many of them have. This one is extremely pleasant. I gave it to several of my friends for Christmas and they have all had good reviews.
You know, for a good Chilean Merlot, Concho y Toro Fronterra is excellent and cheap, about $8 for one of those huge bottles. It pairs nicely with gorgonzola cheese butter and wheat crackers.
I am unfamiliar with the rating system so I'm not realy sure how to rate these wines. However,if they are rated on a 0-100 scale, I'd rate the McMannis about 85, the Concho y Toro about 80, the Crocodile Rock Shiraz and Merlot 75-80, and the Crocodile Rock Chardonnay in the low 80's.
95-100 Classic 90-94 Outstanding 85-89 Very Good 80-84 Good 70-79 Average Below 70 Below Average
as listed on the Wine Spectator website.
My experience though is that 80 is something of a "magic number". Anything higher is usually considered at least "pretty good", anything lower than 80 is usually considered "not recommended".
I just opened another bottle of Paringa Shiraz 2002 the other night, and I recommend it yet again as a very good wine that is very inexpensive. I practically stole this stuff at $7 a bottle! It is very enjoyable. I think it would still be a good buy at $9-$10 a bottle. WS87. My personal rating: 89.
Personally, I agree 150% with Spectator on Bogle Petite Syrah. To get a wine with such incredible richness and about a decade of cellar life at $20 would still be a fair deal -but Bogle sells for half that! I'd be curious to know if anyone has ever tried their "Phantom" bottling.
The house wine at our house for the past six months or so has been the 2002 Alice White Cabernet-Shiraz from Australia. I buy it at a local Osco for 4.99. WS rates it 87. I love it. I don't find it to be extremely complex, but it's really well balanced and very satisfying.
Has anyone else tried the Chateau Bois Redon 2000 Bordeaux from Earl Vignobles Fagard? A real find in a 2000 Bordeaux for less than $10/bottle and it is quite good! I picked mine up at Total Wine for $8.
I am down to my last three bottles and just opened one tonight. Definitely decant this one for at least 30 minutes and preferably longer. I would like to hear from anyone else who has tried this one... and compare tasting notes.
A few bargain wines that I think are great. All are widely available in Washington State and probable elsewhere, for under $8 a bottle, which is my threshold for considering a wine a "bargain." All are, in my opinion, delicious on a consistent basis, year after year:
Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut Jaboulet Parallel 45 Cotes du Rhone Georges Dubeouf Beaujolais Villages Bodegas Montecillo Rioja
Jay, here are a few of my faves, and while they may not be the most obscure, exotic or novel suggestions, I think you will enjoy them:
Falesco Vitiano (Umbria, Italy)...red blend usually running about $8.00-$12.00, it is a great everyday drinker.
Marquis-Philips, (Australia), shouldn't run you more than $15.00, and the merlot, cab, and especially the shiraz are great and usually ready to drink immediately.
Chateau Ste. Michelle, the cab is usually a great bargain and shouldn't go for more than $12.00-$15.00 per bottle. I love it, and like the others I listed above it is usually ready to drink as soon as you get it home.
good luck, looks like you have quite a few suggestions!
Sadly, I am almost out of the 2000 Vitiano. I got it for $8 and it is far better than the subsequent wines, although they are good values anyway.
The Marquis Philips '03s are now in CA and making their way across the US. I tried the Shiraz and it is on par with the 2001 and much better than the 2002s. I'd buy as much as you can find of these wines.
Borsao (Spain) ($4-5) is another steal that you don't feel guilty about cooking down for a sauce.
Las Rocas (Spain) puts out incredible wines for the money. The 2002s can be found for $8-10 and the 2001 Old Vines for $10-15. Parker rated them both in the low 90s and I don't disagree.
Finally, many people love inexpensvie ports for their power and versatility. Taylor, Fonseca, and Warres all have tawnys for under $14 that are very enjoyable.
Two that I like are very similar Cabernets. Sageland is from Washington and should be available for about 15,16. This is a nicely concentrated, jammy Cab with a great nose! I've only had the '01 and would happily offer it to anyone.
The other one that is widely available is the 01 Liberty School Cabernet. similar to the Sageland with a beautiful rich nose. Ripe blackberry well balanced without much length or complexity, but very surprisingly good. This is from Paso Robles and I got it at World market for 13-14.
The Rosemount Shiraz Cabernet is one of my favorites too! I recently bought it for $5 a bottle at a local wine shop. Needless to say, I stocked up! If you love Shiraz, as I do, give Koala Blue Shiraz a try. It runs about $8 - $9 a bottle and is fabulous! The Greg Norman Limestone Coast Shiraz is also really good. This one runs about $14 - $15. Worth every penny.
Carlyle 2000 Cabernet. Sipping right now and enjoying it very much. At first, a very cedary nose and retro-nasal, but a little decanting it softens up. Creamy finish and very soft, smooth tannins. Not the fruit bomb, overly stewy style that Aussie wines are noted for, but rather, a focus on balance between fruit and structure. Some dill, mint and fennel flavours add interest. Really nice stuff for $14 canadian. From Victoria, Australia. They also have a Shiraz for the same price which I'll get around to trying, and an excellent Muscat for the same price. The muscat lacks a bit of complexity, but it has the raisiny flavours as well as all-spice, all wrapped up in a very thick, smooth texture. MMMMMMMMMM!
If you like a Napa Cab. Try Twenty One Bench. They make about 4,000 cases. It is about $13 by the case and drinks extrememly well for a wine of its price. I have had both the 00 and 01. The 00 has some Merlot in it while the 01 is pure Cab.
My absolute favorite cheapy has to be the Hogue Late Harvest White Riesling Columbia Valley 2002. Nice and crisp with just enough sweetness for a young palate like mine. At US$8.99 a bottle, a case won't kill you in the pocket. I'm planning getting another case--I go through it way too fast. Don't go with the '03 just yet--it's a bit green around the edges. Stick with the 2002.
Here's two from Concha y Toro in Chile: 2000 Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon D. O. Puente Alto. Big wine for the price, maturing nicely now. Rated 90 by WS. 2003 Reservado Sauvignon Blanc D. O. Valle Central. This one impressed me by its crisp freshness as well as its cheapness. (Note that it might go under some other brand name than "Reservado" in the US and other countries, because I've never seen this line reviewed in English language publications. One from Spain: Bodegas Julian Chivite Gran Feudo Crianza, Navarra. I've had the 1997 and 2000 vintages, both good, both cheap. If you like the oaky, Tempranillo flavors that characterize wines from Rioja, you should like this one from Navarra too.
As a graduate student on a budget I am always looking for budget wines. SOme of my favorites are the Pinot Noir and malbec from Alamos in Argentina, Prazo Du Roriz from Duoro, Portugal, Seghesio Zinfandel, and Castno Hecula Yecla are some of my favorite reds. EXP Viognier and Abbots Cote du Languedoc are some of my favorite value whites
Stretching for a special occasion but still a good value... One of the best Napa Cab for under $25, in my opinion -- Franciscan Oakville Cab, both the 99 and 2000 were very good (89 and 90 WS). Haven't opened a 2001 yet. Price as low as $19, usually around $23. Widely available.
ALso agree on the Marques de Casa Concha from Chile. Very Good value.
Here are some great wines that you should try for around $12 - $15 a bottle. My collection average's around 35$ a bottle however, The every day wines I drink I'm sure you will love. Jim Barry Lodge Hill Shiraz 2001 90 points ws. Bleasdale Shiraz 2000 88 points ws. If you like a red zin try Cline, Ancient Vines 1999 88 point ws. Simi cabernet 2001 another very inexpensive great wine. If you should try any of the above, please let me know what you think. Enjoy!
You're all onto good wines--Spain, Australia, and South Africa are major value regions. Check out tasting notes on sites like the Wine Exchange in Orange, CA (www.winex.com) and Wine Discount Center in Chicago (www.winediscountcenter.com). Grated, they're trying to sell product, but they're very honest, and I'm usually steered right with their reviews.
Falesco Vitiano ($8.99-10.99), yummy and Thorne Clarke Shiraz...shotfire and terra barossa (approx. $12.99), I have also had a Milton Park shiraz in the last week or so that was very good at this price point ($7.99)...
My current fun find is Vina Villabuena's Rioja. It is called Vina Izadi (2000) and is a very nice fruity red w/smooth tannins and some oak finish. It was recommended to me by the local wine merchant for Christmas and I went back and bought a whole case! It was one of the first wines that the non-red wine drinkers at my house wanted more of. It runs around $12 at our local store.
I highly recommend the following bargain wines (in no particular order - prices are LCBO and should be current as of posting)
La Cetto Petite Syrah 02 (Mexico)- $9.95 CDN (supremely fruity) Hippo Creek Merlot 01 (South Africa) - 11.95 CDN (iodine and plums, in a good way. They are selling the 02 now, but it should be just as good) Chateau de Gourgazaud 03 (Minervois) - $11.95 CDN (classically styled syrah-mourvedre blend ready to drink now) Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Noir 02 (Okanagan Valley, Canada) - $13.95 (for my money, better and cheaper than the Mondavi Private Selection Pinot 02).
You can find excellent values in southern France (SUD) ali=ong with Spain. Cab/syrah blends, cabs, syrahs, merlots all for $6-10. I have enjoyed some CA cabs for $10-12, Dynamite Mtn $11, Louis Martini $10. Also a steal, Deakin Estate cab, merlot, and syrah. I found them on sale for $4.99, reg. $8.
New wine review website. Not much there yet, but the updates have been continuous. They're very blunt and can use some colorful language at times, but both entertaining and informative. They seem to appreciate a good, cheap wine. Check it out.
2004 Kaesler Stonehorse GSM. On sale I recently bought some for $14.99 --- try this with grill salmon, or turkey.
2005 Michael Pozzan Reserve Chardonnay, Sonoma --- tastes more like a white burg, than a napa chard. Available online for 7.99
Thanks to all who have shared here. :-)
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