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Apr 30, 2006 11:04 AM

Wine recommendation?

  • m

We are planning a Memorial Day weekend get-together for a large group. We'll be serving BBQ Pork Chop sandwiches, pasta salad, broccoli salad, fruit, assorted sweets. What wine do you recommend? (We'll be serving beer, soft drinks as well) We'll need a red and white, trying to stay around $10 or so a bottle. Thank you in advance!

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  1. Charles Shaw; US$1.99 -- Zinfandel, Cab Sav, Merlot
    Charles Shaw; US$1.99 -- Chenin Blanc, Sav Blanc, Chard

    You can also make a rockin' sangria with any of the above reds!

    8 Replies
    1. re: The Ranger

      I wouldn't serve Charles Shaw to guests, after all these are your friends. But you could make a very mediocre sangria with it.

      1. re: dinwiddie

        We'll agree to disagree on both accounts. I serve 2Buck to guests _and_ make a mean sagria with it. My parties seem to be quite popular, despite of my preferred choice of beverages. (G)

        1. re: dinwiddie
          JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

          I have learned from times I have been at parties where Charles Shaw was served that the dominant topic of conversation is "Yeah, it's pretty good wine, and it's only three bucks a bottle!"

          Oh, don't *even* tell me you make sangría with good wine! Cheap jug wine is the thing to use for sangría; about the only time anything that's more than 5 bucks a bottle goes in is when I have leftovers that look like they won't be drank within a day or two of opening the bottle.


          1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)
            Robert Lauriston

            Sangria made with Sangre de Torlo or a similar $6-8 pleasant Spanish or Portugese red tastes much better than sangria made with something you wouldn't want to drink without adulteration.

          2. re: dinwiddie

            I'm always surprised at the people who will happily buy cases of 2$C
            yet never, ever let a drop from a Gallo jug or Franzia box pass their
            lips. I suspect it has a lot more to do with TJ's can-do-no-wrong
            mystique rather than the actual taste of the wine.

            Bronco is slapping a lot of other labels besides Shaw on the output
            of those huge frementing tanks.


            1. re: Jef

              Dang! I completely drew a blank on box wines for these type of events! Portable, convenient, and totally disposable work on multiple levels...

              1. re: The Ranger

                It's awesomely hard to mix sangria in a box, but if you can do it
                it's the right wine to use. Try and get the kind that doesn't have
                "Artificially Flavored" printed too conspicuously on the label.


              2. re: Jef
                Robert Lauriston

                I periodically taste jug and box wines and restaurant house wines just to see if they're any good. Haven't found any I would buy again. I don't think Bronco makes anything that's better than just drinkable.

                There's no practical reason box wines couldn't be excellent, it's an excellent system for keeping young wine fresh and fruity.

          3. For a red, I'd recommend the Rosenblum Zinfandel California Vintners Cuvée. It is about $9 a bottle and is one of the best Zins you can buy in that range. It would go well with the BBQ and is fruity enough to be very tasty with the rest and on it's own.

            For a white, see if you can get the 2004 Rosemount Traminer-Riesling South Eastern Australia. It is an easy-drinking wine, with floral, spice and pineapple cream flavors that are great as a summer drink and tends to be very well received. They made a lot of it so you should be able to find it.

            1. If it's hot, I'd serve a nice chilled Rose. There are any number of both French and American that you can purchase in that price range. Also like the Rosenblum suggestion. A nice Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio (same thing for the most part) would also work as a white. A number of very good ones in the 5-10 buck range.

              1. r
                Robert Lauriston

                I like the Casarsa merlot that my local Costco sells for $3.99 a magnum. It's a classic Veneto red, light, fresh, fruity. I'd happily pay $8 a bottle for that kind of wine so it's great to get it for $2.

                Torres's Sangre de Toro is another reliable, inexpensive red that's good for barbecues and picnics (and sangria).

                For a white, any cheap Marlborough sauvignon blanc. Trader Joe's usually has one for $6-7. Or an inexpensive prosecco.

                1. I appreciate all who have had recommendations so far. But, if you notice in my initial request, I wanted wines in the $10 range. I am not a wine snob, at all, and have had 2 Buck Chuck and box wines, but want to have my guests know that I went with a better choice for this party. Thank you tho, for all your input, as I appreciate all suggestions. mary

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: Marycarol

                    I don't know where you live, but here in SF, requeting a wine around $10 brings up thoughts of inexpensive wine. That's probably why you got so many suggestions for low-end wines. Also, I may have interpreted it wrong, but it sounded to me like you had a $10 cap.

                    So, I'll sort of throw out my specific recommendation and go with a type of wine. For the red, why not a Lambrusco?

                    It has a soft fizz and is served chilled. Lambrusco's to me are almost as festive as Champagne. I know they go well with pork as I usually have it with Easter Ham. Recently I had it with smoked BBQ'd pork ribs so I know that it will go well with your pork chop dish. I have had it before with fruit and sweets and it is excellent.

                    For $10 you can get a pretty nice Lambrusco, I WAS going to suggest Riunite, which is a nice everyday lambrusco, but might not fit in with the tone you want to set. Go to a good liquor store and ask for a rec.

                    I have to say than no matter how pricy or inexpensive, I have never had a bad Lambrusco.

                    In terms of white, what about a nice Vinho Verde, also a wine with a slight fizz, but not as bubbly as champagne. It has more of the qualities of a white wine spritzer. It is a lovely summer wine in Portugual. It is especially nice with fruit and sweets and quite a few Portuguese dishes are pork-based.

                    Since people are not that familiar with Vinho Verde, I quite seriously would go with Aveleda in the pretty green bottles. I'm going to dissappoint you again, but last year I did a big tasting of vinho verdes from $30 a bottle to the least expensive.

                    Like Lambruscos, it is not a pricy wine. It turned out that Aveleda, the least espensive was the best. At one Chowdown in SF it was one of the better liked vihno verdes. At another, we shared a higher-priced version of Aveleda (I think about $20 a bottle) which everyone was quite impressed with.

                    So in all the price ranges, only Aveleda beat Aveleda.

                    Here's a post I did about Vinho Verde


                    1. re: rworange

                      I live in NW IL and we're having around 100 people, not all wine drinkers. We usually serve Kendall Jackson Chardonnay as an inexpensive wine for a group. But I wanted suggestions for BBQ Pork sandwiches, etc. When having small dinner parties, we do serve better wines, but for this large group I was hoping for something less expensive. Thank you for your suggestions.

                      1. re: marycarol
                        Suburban Sandy

                        I had a bottle of white just last Saturday that was really great - it is Adelsheim Pinot Gris from Oregon. Bright and refreshing, should be around $13 a bottle which might be a little over budget but very good. I also live in IL but western 'burbs of Chicago. Should be fairly readily available for you...

                      2. re: rworange

                        Labrusco is a fun choice but I'd have some other wines around since my friends/family have had a low acceptance rate with frizzante wines- any wine or food obsessed types find them interesting though. Pic is from a Gelsomina Lambrusco Montavano that I think is prices around $10 or $11. I will join the call of others to find a good wine shop with people who love to search for interesting wines from lesser known areas. In the last 2 days I have enjoyed a Mondeuse from Angelot in the Bugey and a tasty Mansois from Marcillac both of which were delicous and $10 but the kind of wines you need a good shop to find.


                        1. re: Nathan P.

                          Interesting. I've never had a lambrusco that fizzy. I think the low acceptance rate for fizzy red wines has a lot to do with anyone who lived through that awful phase when cold duck was produced ... awful. I noticed that Andre seems to be re-introducing cold duck and I've been temptped to buy it just to see if it is as bad as I remembered.

                          Also, some California wine makers are starting to fizz red wine. What I've tried so far has been awful. They are no lambruscos.

                          1. re: rworange

                            That pic was taken just after pouring so the bubbles were up! It, of course, settled down to a few around the edge after a minute. Cold duck is a fad before my time but this was a sweet wine right? I have not had any CA fizzers but it sounds like this is a good thing. I've tried Aussie sparkling shiraz which I did not like though. If you ever see this bottle down below it is worth a try and much better than the Lambruscos I have tried. La Villerina Seca from Brovia, frizzante freisa. I think Rosenthal is the importer.


                            1. re: Nathan P.
                              Robert Lauriston

                              Freisa, now that's one I don't see much in this country. It's one of those wines that when I pour it for people who usually don't say much about wine they'll like it enough to ask what it is.

                              Unlike Marcillac or Gaillac, which many people often find disturbing.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                I just had my first Marcillac the other day and liked it enough to pick up half a case. Rustic and earthy yes, but enough fruit and acid to balance it. Its imported by Charles Neal in SF so I'm sure it is available around the bay area.

                                K&L has that freisa in their website but they don't seem to have it in stock. Brilliant salumi wine. It is imported by Rosenthal who has an interesting range of Italian wines that I am sure are available somewhere in the east bay- I get mine at Soif down in Santa Cruz.

                                Domaine Matha
                                Marcillac 2004
                                Cuvee Lairis


                                1. re: Nathan P.
                                  Melanie Wong

                                  Since you're a fan of the wines Charles Neal brings in, I thought you'd enjoy the trip report and photos that Gerald at Weimax in Burlingame posted on his site - linked below. Also, Charles Neal is doing a tasting in SF on May 10.


                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    Thanks for the link- lots of cool pics and some good looking food as well. He was actually down in SC last weekend for a tasting I attended. I did not love all of his stuff but everything was at least interesting and some good values with the retailer offering 20% off at a free tasting where they offered tasty cheese :) He was pouring:

                                    NV Ligier Cremant de Jura
                                    05 Pellehaut Cotes de Gascogne
                                    04 Daulny CLos de Chaudenay Sancerre
                                    03 Rontets Pierrefolle Pouilly Fuisee
                                    04 Piaugier Sablet Blanc
                                    04 Collete Vielle Vignes Regnie Beaujolais
                                    04 Piaugier CdR
                                    04 Betton Crozes-Hermitage
                                    04 Matha Marcillac
                                    03 Colline Cote Ouest Rouge
                                    00 Sacristie de la Vieille Cure Fronsac
                                    NV Ruelle-Pertois Champagne

                                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  What are these (Marcillac or Gaillac) comparable to?

                                  1. re: The Ranger
                                    Robert Lauriston

                                    Nothing I know of. They're made from a local grape (fer servadou aka braucol) with an unusual flavor--iron, geraniums.

                        2. re: Marycarol

                          Okay. I misunderstood your original request. Wrong type of event for Chuck and Box. (G)

                          Arroyo Grande Syrah '02 (currently $7.52 at Beverages and More)
                          Beringer Shiraz Founders' '03 (currently $7.99 at B&M)
                          Blue Monkey Zinfandel '03 (currently $9.99 at B&M)

                          B&G Chardonnay Private Selection '04 (currently $6.99 at B&M)
                          Concannon Chardonnay '03 (currently $7.99 @ B&M)
                          Beringer Sauvignon Blanc Founders '04 (currently $9.99 @ B&M)