Good cheap wines

This is as much a question as a statement.

Recently by sheer luck we stumbled on Red Truck. They make a red California Table Wine that costs about $9 a bottle and is really pleasant. I will refrain from attempted to describe it with snobby wine words as I will only make a fool of myself. Let’s just say it’s extremely nice. It’s a blend of Syrah, Petite Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Mourvedre. I believe those are all varieties of grape. Which shows you my level of sophistication.

We also like Chateau St Michelle Riesling, which is now up to about $11 although I’m sure we first bought it at $9. And Villa Maria Riesling which is $11 or $12. These are not sweet as Riesling goes – sometimes you try a new Riesling and it’s like shoving your face in a sugar bowl. These two have nice flavor and consistency.

The question is … got any tasty, cheap wines to suggest?

Skip the Cabernet Sauvignons – heartburn, alas. Pinot Noir is the preferred family red. I am excited to try the Red Truck pinot noir. Did I really just write that?

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10 thoughts on “Good cheap wines

  1. Bogle has lots of wonderful varieties in the $10-14 range. I especially enjoy the Cab and the Syrah. My current favorite, however, is Kaiken … they have some great stuff at $25 … but the Ultra is usually about $12-14. Surprisingly, the Greg Norman (golfer) wines are very nice; I usually get a few of those cheap at BJs. If you like Shiraz, Bogle is good but the D’arenberg Shiraz Footbolt is the best (I prefer the 2003). Anything by Estancia is very nice and in that range as well (Pinot Noir is their best). Anything by Penfold’s is fabulous too.

    For super high-end, I love both Schafer and Cakebread Cabs, both 2003. But that’s only for very special occasions.

    As you can tell, with the exception of the Pinot, I prefer heavier, richer reds. I will not touch merlot. Don’t like whites.

    My oldest brother gave me a subscription to the Wine Spectator for Christmas a while back. While I love the glossiness and wonderful pull-out features, I exchanged it for the online version so that I I could research and also create my own lists (by region and price usually). I call up the list on my Treo when at the local vendor of fine victuals and strong waters.

  2. Good man, thanks! I will bear in mind. Bogle and Penfolds are easy to find and I’ll look for Estancia.

    Cabernet looks more like good wine should (so I thought), rich and dark. Pinot Noir looks kinda watery. But I think it was a glass (or two!) of Red Car over a holiday dinner last December that turned the light on for me about Pinot Noir. Red Car has been hard to find and actually I was looking for it when I stumbled on Red Truck.

    And Cab really does give me heartburn. Similarly, local restaurant In Contreau serves a red Casa Solar wine that tastes absolutely fantastic – but I get uncomfortable within three minutes of taking the first sip.

  3. don’t know what you consider “cheap” (under $10? under $20?) but my all time favorite red is River Boat Red from Les Bourgeois, in missouri (missouri! go figure). you can get it online. it’s a sweet table wine, i love it. (i go for sweet, i love port). i am more of a syrah, pinot noir kinda guy, i like Rex Goliath Pinot Noir, The Stump Jump shiraz, from south australia, and Three Thieves pinot noir, from california. also, Two Shillings Red from Willaimsburg Winery, VA (you can get it online).
    damn, i sound like a wino….

  4. oh, as far as the red truck series of wines, i want to try them merely for the cool lable. (i keep a wine journal. when i’m done with a bottle, i paste the lable on a page and say if i like it or not (the wine, not the lable))
    turns out i’m a record keeping wino….

  5. CL – One good glass of Pinot Noir and my FICS rating drops 50 points. You know you’re repressing your chess, right?!

    Cheap for me caps out at $12. Under $20 is probably “affordable” and over $20 would mean either company’s coming or I’m assembling some kind gift basket as part of an apology to my wife for some dunderheaded move or other.

  6. I just recalled one more to send you. Terrazas makes really nice Argentinian wines for about $10-12. One of the best is their Malbec, a variety I have become very fond of. They also make a nice Cab. I intend to search out some of their others.

  7. Red Truck is our cheap “mutt wine” of choice. We save the good stuff that we bought in Napa Valley for nice meals. There are a series of very nice Romanian Pinot Noirs that are about $10 a bottle. One of thenm is called Brass Airplane. There’s another one with a motorcycle on the label taht’s also pretty good.

    Rex Goliath also makes a nice red and white. They go for about $8 a bottle at Traders Joes. Unfortunately being in a stupid state that doesn’t sell wines in grocery stores we can get the bargain basement prices at Trader Joes.

    I’m not a big fan of sweet stuff. I like my wines dry.

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