Cheapo wines - Golden Gate Vintners - $2.50 at Albertsons
I'll be the first to admit that I know nothing about wine ... or as Schultz on Hogan's Heros would say "I know nothing ... NOTHING".
I've come to the conclusion that pretty much anything you get in a supermarket tastes the same. So, why spend ten dollars when you can spend two.
Given that, I find the Golden Gate wines a good value. They certainly compare with Sutter Home. IMMHWO (Most Humble Wine) the chardonay is the best ... there is even a hint of vanilla there ... don't know if that is good, bad or cliche, but I like a hint of vanilla in my chardonay. They are better than two buck Chuck, without the hype.
The cab is a nice drinking wine. The Merlot a bit mediciny, however, at my branch of Albertsons the Merlot is usually sold out.
Don't get me wrong. I love fine wines. It is just too exhausting and costly for me to persue that hobby seriously. I rely heavily on suggestions in fine restaurants and enjoy the results. I had a truly memorable wine at Chou Chou that, damn it, really DID have a hint of violets ... I was impressed ... it is no longer on the menu, btw.
Also, I have not sunk so low as to appreciate Arbor Mist (which is superior to Wild Vines).
Yes, I drink the Appleby's and Olive Garden equivant of wine at home. BTW, I wasn't that impressed with Black Box. For the price, some of the Franzia wine was better. Hardy's is pure swill at a premium price.
So, for what it is worth, I recommend Golden Gate.
So, do you have a cheapo you love. No ... I am not looking for those little finds in the bargain bins that you never see again. I am talking about the McDonalds variety of wine where the taste is consistant and drinkable.
Melanie, I blush in shame.
At low price points, the harsh vanilla note is more likely from addition of oak chips or other wood flavoring agent to the vat. Maturation in an oak vessel is too costly.
I'll add that my latest Black Box recommendation (previously posted on the General Topics board) was limited to just two of the current offerings: Monterey County Chardonnay and Sonoma County Merlot. For Franzia, the "Chablis" is a neutral, cleanly made white wine with decent acid balance and is mostly Chenin Blanc.
For goodness sake -- don't be so hard on yourself! There's certainly no need to apologize for not being more of an expert on wines. Not being able to pair the correct wine with certain dishes, or not being a connoisseur and consumer of high-end wines -- whether at home or out at a nice restaurant -- is not a sin. If it were, I venture to say we would all be somewhat guilty of that. Instead, "let he who is without Zin cask the first Rhone."
Cheer up and remember: "life is a Cabernet, old chum!"
but nobody's answering your original question and we KNOW there are a lot of closet cheepo wine folks out there. So I'll bite..er confess.
One of my favorite cheap wines is Viano Vinyards Zin. I think the 00. You can find it at Andronico's on the bottom shelf where they put all the cheap wines (must correlate w/that study that taller folks make more $)
It sells for the princely sum of $4.99 bottle. Made in Martinez! I don't much care for their $10.99 Port though.
Okay, I'll admit to having an on-going affair with some cheap wines from Trader Joes!
Yellow Tail Shiraz $4.99
Camelot Pinot Noir $4.99
Not necessarily wines you'd bring out when guests come over, but both are very good table wines and are nice for drinking while reading a book or watching TV.
Getting a little closer to Germany's Moselwein quaffer, the Rheinhessen Niersteiner Kabinett Riesling from JuHA Strub is about $12 per liter and is delicious and a great buy year in and year out.
And, I should have said this earlier, Krys need not apologize for her wine palate. The 2001 Chardonnay from Golden Gate Vintners has beat out many chards that cost 5 to 10 times more in repeated blind tastings. While I haven't tried it myself, it's a wine value that will be hard to repeat.
Sir, have you any taste buds? Or did you try the Golden Gate Vinters wine after you had already been drinking liquor? I do not know about the other varieties of the brand, but I fell victim to the extra-low priced pinot grigio at my local Albertsons in Palm Beach, Fl. This is the complete opposite flavor one should expect when drinking wine. This is by far one of the most sickening wines I have ever had the displeasure of sampling. I nearly puked at horrendous taste of Golden Gate Vintners Pinot Grigio. I thought perhaps it must have been a bad year - but I could not even find the year on the bottle. I advise anyone who reads this is to save themselves $2.50, there is a reason it is so cheap and, yes, it IS too good to be true!
Depends on your budget and level of wine snobbery. If it tastes good, it is good. I prefer better wines, but given the economy and my thinned down paycheck, I buy what I can afford and adapt. Besides, the Cab Sauv won a bronze medal in the SF Chronical wine tasting competition. Granted, it may be like a participation award, but still....
I can't drink Charles Shaw, but I'm no snob, so when I saw this wine for $1.99 at my local grocery store, I figured it was worth a try. I really like the Sauvingnon Blanc. I've also tried the Merlot, but it was too mild and sweet for my taste. I've just bought the Cab and Shiraz, which I'm looking forward to trying. I don't like any Chardonnay, but I would recommend the brand to my friends who do.
The Dr. Beckermanns line at Trader Joe's is usually a good bet for cheaper interesting whites with sweeter (vanilla, honey, fruits) flavors. They're usually pretty drinkable, and safely in the $5 range. If you prefer really dry wines, this isn't for you, but I don't think dry and cheap usually work well together.