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I didn't want to pollute the real wine thread with this discussion so I decided to start a new topic dedicated to cheap wines and people who don't know much about wine.

 

I want to start a small collection of relatively inexpensive ($10-$15 per bottle) but still drinkable wine so when I have guests over that are wine drinkers I have something for them that they will at least moderately enjoy but won't cost me a ton of money. I rarely to never drink wine myself, I'm a whiskey person for sure, so I don't know what to look for. I'm looking to get 8-10 bottles of a variety of styles , can someone offer a suggestion of what styles I should stock to cover most wine preferences, as well as a few suggestions for bottles around my target price that an actual wine drinker wouldn't scoff at?

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Matua Valley makes a pretty good Sauvignon Blanc. Usually $11-12. Wine Spectator gave it a 90. It can be found at most HEBs and Targets

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Michael David. 

A couple of his wines stretch your budget a bit but some are in your wheelhouse.  I wouldn’t be looking to collect wines in your budget range. I’d be looking to drink them. 

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World Market has a good selection of wines at good prices. Sometimes they have sales where you get a percentage off if you buy multiple  bottles. It's a great place to find several things to try without breaking the bank.

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World Market has a good selection of wines at good prices. Sometimes they have sales where you get a percentage off if you buy multiple  bottles. It's a great place to find several things to try without breaking the bank.


I feel the opposite. The World Market near me has horribly marked up prices and then they do a big “sale” that brings the prices somewhat close to normal if you have the Explorer membership and you buy 6 bottles.

Specs, Central Market, and Trader Joe’s have much better prices.

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I’m not a wine snob by any means but I drink a lot of wine in the OP price range. If you are buying wine for the sake of your guests, stick with the basic reds - pinot, cab, merlot - and possibly a white and a rosé.

 

For the reds I would recommend:

Meiomi Pinot Noir - $15 at Costco

Locations “F” wine - $14ish at Target

Decoy Pinot Noir - $18 at Specs

Simi Cabernet - $17 at Specs

Viticcio Chianti Classico - $10 at Costco

 

Could also pick up cab/merlot from Josh, Bogle, or 14 Hands. They will all be in the $9-12 range.

 

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I feel the opposite. The World Market near me has horribly marked up prices and then they do a big “sale” that brings the prices somewhat close to normal if you have the Explorer membership and you buy 6 bottles.

Specs, Central Market, and Trader Joe’s have much better prices.


This correct.

HEB , Costco and Total Wine will have the best prices on most wine in Texas.

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Look for these brands:

Hogue

Chateau Ste Michelle

Beringer

BV

They have a pretty good (some very good) selection of affordable quality wines.

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The CS Wines of Substance Cab sells for about $17-18 I think.  2015 is pretty good and actually tastes like cabernet, which isn't always the case at these price points.  I think total wine carries it.

total wine also has a lot of Cote du Rhone wines under $20.   I have had a couple of duds but you can find a good drinker in there.  

There is a Spanish white called Monopole, which should be about $14, and is a consistently pleasant white wine that should appeal to a broad range of tastes.

Best cheap Zin I've had recently was Shenandoah Vineyards Amador County zin.  Total Wine, $10 and pretty good zin characteristics without being some jelly/jam ick fest.  2014 was the vintage I had.

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When I drank more wine than I do now I used to enjoy the Bon Terra organic cab . . . seems like it was right in that price range at HEB.

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Quote

$10-$15 per bottle

Ok, daddy warbucks.

 

A couple of years ago, we happened upon the Two Buck Chuck Nouveau at Trader Joe's. I've tried all their other wines and was not a fan, but this one, I'm a fan. They only have it in the Novemberish time range so you have to plan when to get it.

 

This year we went inside and purchased a bottle, went out to the car like true winos and opened it up, poured a couple of glasses and agreed it was good and went back inside and bought a case.  $24 plus some tax and we have a fairly decent dry red wine to last throughout the year.

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A little more than the OP’s price range but there’s a cab called Quilt that, from what I understand, is a baby brother to Caymus.  Caymus is about $70 or so and it’s great.  Quilt is about $30 and is a pretty damn good alternative.

I’m pretty sure there are “baby brother” wines for a lot of the big name, more expensive ones that should be sufficient for OP’s needs.

Decoy - Duckhorn...Meiomi - Belle Glos...etc.

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3 hours ago, relapse98 said:

went back inside and bought a case.  $24 plus some tax and we have a fairly decent dry red wine to last throughout the year.

Not sure I'm following your math here. A case of wine is 12 bottles. A year is 365 days. How does a case of any wine survive a year?

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17 minutes ago, wild_turkey said:

Not sure I'm following your math here. A case of wine is 12 bottles. A year is 365 days. How does a case of any wine survive a year?

Yeah...taking off for sick days and such, that puts you at around 360-ish bottles.

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21 hours ago, wild_turkey said:

 


I feel the opposite. The World Market near me has horribly marked up prices and then they do a big “sale” that brings the prices somewhat close to normal if you have the Explorer membership and you buy 6 bottles.

Specs, Central Market, and Trader Joe’s have much better prices.

 

Interesting. Around here there are tons of good choices for $10 to $15 at World Market. Trader Joe's is higher also. 

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5 hours ago, Landomatic said:

Yeah...taking off for sick days and such, that puts you at around 360-ish bottles.

And that's assuming you're an amateur wino that only drinks one bottle a day. The math becomes mind-bottling.

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19 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

Who takes off drinking for sick days?

No doubt.  I just keep a few bottles at my desk for my daily at-work wine consumption.  

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32 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

Who takes off drinking for sick days?

Who said anything about taking off?  That’s just when I switch to straight cough medicine, NyQuil, prescription meds...whatever it takes

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10 hours ago, Mo Horn said:

Interesting. Around here there are tons of good choices for $10 to $15 at World Market. Trader Joe's is higher also. 

Not sure about their lower end selection, but Central Market has the best prices on the higher end stuff in my neck of the woods. Interestingly, Eatzi’s also has some great deals.

Some kinda loss leader model to get people in to spend money on other high margin stuff.  Works on my wife every time.  (i worked on your wife jokes in 5...4...3...) 

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  • Take a pair of prison-issued khaki pants and cut off the legs as high as possible
  • Sew the bottoms up and line them with two trash bags
  • Pour two and a half gallons of water into each leg
  • Then add five pounds of sugar, five cups of diced tomatoes and one cup of tomato paste per pant leg. This is to help kick if off and make it turn faster
  • Wind the top of the trash bags together around a pen case—leaving an opening—as close to the liquid as possible, to let it breathe 
  • Then you have to find a place to hang the bag. The warmer it is, the quicker the wine will cook. Behind the toilet, in the vent, in your locker—anyplace where it can sit unmolested for 12 days.
  • If you got a kicker, it will come back in six to nine days. Make kickers out of old potatoes, as well as tomato paste. Yeast is the best kicker option of all—but is very difficult to get inside. 

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Search for the wines imported by Robert Kacher. They mostly are from the south of France. Specs and other stores will carry many of them. There are several in your price range and they are all quality wines.

Costco also is a good call. Most of the wines they sell in your price range are pretty good.

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1 hour ago, Mez2 said:

We do the Josh Cellars cab, usually don't hear anyone complain since it's wine

This is what I came here to post. Between $11-$14 usually. 

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On 4/18/2018 at 11:02 PM, wild_turkey said:

 

Simi Cabernet - $17 at Specs

 

 

All you need right here.

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Posted (edited)

Posted this in the other wine thread, but it’s maybe more appropriate here  mostly looking for wine to open when we’ve got some friends over and are wanting to open a few bottles rather than just one real nice one for the wife and me:

No shaggy 1%er here, but having grown up with my parents owning a nice restaurant and being wine snobs themselves I definitely know the differences between great/good/shitty wines. There may have been a thread on the other board about this, but does anyone have some recs for nice wines that are somewhat more of a daily drinker/grabbing a few bottles to have folks over and drink with? 

enjoying more Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon blanc with the warmer weather but this extends to reds as well. I tend towards cabs or zinfandels or really anything on the drier side with reds, and for whites I’m a big fan of Italian Pinot Grigio or sauv blanc. What’re some suggestions in the $15-$20 range that are passable?

For my lot I’ll throw in “Odd Lot” blend, about $14 and very nice red, Have seen it a few restaurants around Houston; also had a dashwood Sauvignon Blanc which was really good for the price point for $14

ETA I’m not that much of a snob, just won’t open anything like a Trader Joe’s with friends around.... that’s a full on “gonna get drunk by myself wine” as far as I’m concerned. Definitely open to wines over $20 at the grocery store but I know from growing up around wine that there are still good wines to be had at a nice price. 

Edited by Etexhorn13

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One more thing... after reading my last post, is it possible to talk about wine without sounding like a huge douchebag? I’m not so sure it is...

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8 minutes ago, Etexhorn13 said:

One more thing... after reading my last post, is it possible to talk about wine without sounding like a huge douchebag? I’m not so sure it is...

It is not, but c'est la vie.

For anyone who isn't aware of it, the phone app Vivino is a pretty awesome resource with tasting notes and ratings/reviews. You just take a picture of the bottle and it'll tell you what you need to know.

You can also search for specific varietals and/or characteristics, and even filter by a specific price range.

For OP, as far as stuff to drink in that price range, there are some great malbecs/malbec blends in that price. Terrazas Reserva may be just a touch higher, depending on where you shop, but it's a really nice Malbec. I was recommended a Malbec/Syrah blend called Perlita that's firmly in that price range and is badass, especially after it opens up.

Meomi is a good bet, but the pinot snobs apparently have low opinions of it. I say fuck them. Seems you can usually find it for $15-16 now.

Other wine in that price range I enjoy is the McManis Petit Syrah. It needs to decant, but once it does it's really nice for that price point. There are also plenty of South Australian shirazes to be found in that price range.

Find a nice Rosso de Montepulciano. They'll be $15-20, and pack every bit the punch that a Rosso de Montalcino does, for half the price. The two towns are across a valley from one another in Tuscany, both Sangiovese grapes. Total Wine is a great place for these.

I'm not much of a Cab drinker; it's just a bit too tannic for my liking.

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For whites, it may be borderline heretical, but I think the Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio is a good value at the $9 or whatever it usually costs. 

For Sauv blancs, Matua is nice, Kim Crawford is a quintessential Marlborough (though I find them not super consistent year to year...some vintages are really good and others miss), and if you want to splurge up to the $25 range, Cloudy Bay is good, as well. There are also some good Chilean sauv blancs like Casiellero del Diablo (Concha y Toro) that aren't quite as peppery as the Marlboroughs are.

I'm a big fan of bubbly, and don't think it should be reserved for special occasions. For $18-20, the JCB No. 21 is an awesome value, and great example of a traditional method (Methode Champenoise) Cremant. Chandon Brut is, for $15, not bad, either. In general, though, you gain a lot with bubbly by stepping up into the $30 range, in my opinion.

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What’re some suggestions in the $15-$20 range that are passable?


Some of our favorites in that range are:

Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages
Locations F wine (or any Locations wine)
Decoy Cab or Pinot
Coppola Claret
Marques de Riscal Rioja
Gerard Bertrand Côte de Roses
Rose Gold Rosé

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Longhornmaniac8 said:

It is not, but c'est la vie.

For anyone who isn't aware of it, the phone app Vivino is a pretty awesome resource with tasting notes and ratings/reviews. You just take a picture of the bottle and it'll tell you what you need to know.

You can also search for specific varietals and/or characteristics, and even filter by a specific price range.

For OP, as far as stuff to drink in that price range, there are some great malbecs/malbec blends in that price. Terrazas Reserva may be just a touch higher, depending on where you shop, but it's a really nice Malbec. I was recommended a Malbec/Syrah blend called Perlita that's firmly in that price range and is badass, especially after it opens up.

Meomi is a good bet, but the pinot snobs apparently have low opinions of it. I say fuck them. Seems you can usually find it for $15-16 now.

Other wine in that price range I enjoy is the McManis Petit Syrah. It needs to decant, but once it does it's really nice for that price point. There are also plenty of South Australian shirazes to be found in that price range.

Find a nice Rosso de Montepulciano. They'll be $15-20, and pack every bit the punch that a Rosso de Montalcino does, for half the price. The two towns are across a valley from one another in Tuscany, both Sangiovese grapes. Total Wine is a great place for these.

I'm not much of a Cab drinker; it's just a bit too tannic for my liking.

Good post. I’ve never actually had a strictly petite Syrah, but had plenty of blends to where I think that’s something i should try. I’ve had the Meomi and I agree it’s a nice drinkable wine, but I’m not a huge Pinot noir person so whatever... certainly passable if nothing else. I took a lot of my wine taste from my dad who loves Malbecs and zinfandels, but a food Malbec is such easier to find that price IMO.  

Appreciate all the responses... there’s a lot to be said for nice drinkable wines that aren’t breaking the bank. Thank God y’all aren’t rec’ing Trader Joe’s though 

 

Edited by Etexhorn13

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29 minutes ago, wild_turkey said:

 


Some of our favorites in that range are:

Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages
Locations F wine (or any Locations wine)
Decoy Cab or Pinot
Coppola Claret
Marques de Riscal Rioja
Gerard Bertrand Côte de Roses
Rose Gold Rosé

 

Been curious about these locations wines.. any of them better or worse than the others?

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8 hours ago, Longhornmaniac8 said:

I'm a big fan of bubbly, and don't think it should be reserved for special occasions. For $18-20, the JCB No. 21 is an awesome value, and great example of a traditional method (Methode Champenoise) Cremant. Chandon Brut is, for $15, not bad, either. In general, though, you gain a lot with bubbly by stepping up into the $30 range, in my opinion.

mind sharing some recs in that $30ish+ range?

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Posted (edited)

The go-to daily drinking wines at my house have been Estancia Cab for years, Decoy Cab and Red Blend, Alamos Malbec, Educated Guess reds, etc.  My wife enjoys the 14 Hands Merlot and La Crema Chardonnay.  These are all in the $12-20 range depending on time & place of purchase.  I will say that on special occasions (Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays...) I’ll step up to a Stags Leap Cab ~$45/bottle or a Caymus at ~$75/bottle if I’m feeling like the Surly 1%. 

Edited by CycleTex87

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LAN rioja crianza (red label) is usually $13-15.  It was recommended by Sam at Sunrise Minimart and is really good.

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8 hours ago, Etexhorn13 said:

Been curious about these locations wines.. any of them better or worse than the others?

We like F the most, usually available for $15-17. We also occasionally buy I, E, or CA. For some reason the CA wine is usually more expensive in the $25 range, although I did get some for $15 on sale at Tom Thumb this week.

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Don't sleep on Rosé for this level.  Especially during the summer and for outdoor consumption.  They all generally range from $10 to $20 per bottle.  And the only real rule of thumb you need to follow is to be sure it comes from Provence France.  I've had $10 bottles of Rosé from Provence that are every bit as good as some for $30.  But the ones from other places are crap.  Definitely seems to be widely accepted by all the friends we have for a general share with friends level and goes with pretty much anything.

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Go to Goody Goody or Spec’s, but it seems like GG has a better selection in the $15-25 range, and buy pretty much any 2015 or 2016 red Bordeaux in that price range. They are not big Cali cab fruit bombs but in great vintages like 2015 and 2016 most of the cru bourgeois wines are excellent values. Costco usually will carry one or two inexpensive Bordeaux and in great vintages they can be outstanding. The 2018’s will be great as well and the less expensive ones should appear in stores in about a year or so.

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Try Firstleaf.  

Wife and I have been using them for over a year.

You fill out a profile to tell them what you like (red/white/region etc) and they'll send you a case of 6.  Rate them and they'll adjust what they send you.  Plus you have the ability to switch out the one's they are sending you before they when

 

 Roughly 15 bucks a bottle now.  When we started we found a coupon code that was 6 bottles for 25ish bucks. If you find that code use as many different emails as you can when you reorder. 

Just had another case delivered today

 

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I tend to buy BV reds and Chateau St. Michelle or Hogue whites. Really good wines without getting expensive. Also have a soft spot for anything Mondavi that's on sale.

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You can really never go wrong with Boone’s Farm and a swisher sweet cigar (gawd I hope no one takes this post seriously).

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21 hours ago, Etexhorn13 said:

One more thing... after reading my last post, is it possible to talk about wine without sounding like a huge douchebag? I’m not so sure it is...

What town do you live in?

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