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Good $15-20 red wine suggestions?

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I hate drinking poor $10 bottles of wine, and have resolutely decided to move up to the $15-20 range. I still miss sometimes though, and get a not-so-good wine. Does anyone have any suggestions for wines/vintners/wine shops that are good and in my price range? I'm living in Gramercy.

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  1. No doubt, Astor Wines on Lafayette. Alternatively, Discovery Wines on 1st and A. Go on a Saturday and the owner is generally there - he can make excellent individual wine recommendations.

    1. Astor Wines. They always have the best prices and a great selection and I'm generally happy with the recs. They have a a great selection of reds from the Loire, such as Chinon, in the $15-20 range--I think I liked the Chinon Picasses 2002 from Olga Raffault, which was $17. They also have many good Italian and Spanish reds in that price range.

      Also, although they're mostly known for their high-end stuff, I think Sherry-Lehmann has a good selection of French wines in the $15-20 range, especially lesser wines from top domaines. Their web site has extensive wine descriptions of most of theirs wines, so I'll print out a list of several that look good, and then ask a salesperson to help narrow it down.

      1. Hey there,
        I would make the trip to PJ Wines. It's the last stop on the A but $15-20 there might very well get you a remarkable wine. Especially if you're interested in drinking wines from Spain.
        Enjoy!

        Jeremy

        1. If you buy more than, I believe, $75 worth of wine, then there's no need to take that loooong subway trip to PJ Wine. Just call, ask for some suggestion (as I assume that you would, since you're asking around here), and have them deliver for free. Or, you can do everything on their web site, if you know what you want.

          I agree that PJ Wine has good selection of nicely-priced and well-stored wines.

          1. Warehouse Wines & Spirits (Broadway, right near the 8th Street subway) also has tons of stuff (including some back vintages) in that range. Gruff service, but the wine is great.

            Nosher

            NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

            4 Replies
            1. re: Nosher

              but the quality at Warehouse can be spotty! I second the recs for PJ, I LOVE that place (and I love Spanish wine).

              Another thought is Moore Brothers--I haven't gotten over there yet but my friends from Philly swear by it and they tell me that they have lots of carefully chosen, interesting stuff you won't find anywhere else, even in the $15-20 range. Europe only, I think. http://www.wineaccess.com/splash/moor...

              1. re: kenito799

                I've only ever had issues with Warehouse's restocking policy. Never any quality problems though. What kinds of spotty quality have you experienced there?

                Nosher

                NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                1. re: Nosher

                  Well, you have to be selective with their cheap stuff, a lot of it is just cheap and mediocre. Of course a lot is cheap and great QPR--you just have to be careful and not grab just anything. The guys in there are fairly helpful in steering you to decent stuff.

                  Two quality issues I had were just old wines--a Provençal rosé I picked up was way too old and no good anymore...yes it was a 2002 so I should have known better. The same with a Delas Cotes du Rhone 2000 which peaked 3 years ago and is still on the shelf. But you shouldn't have to sift through stuff than isn't drinking well anymore, the store should have some responsibility to clear out old inventory. That's not to say that over the hill, poorly stored jerez fino and sake aren't pretty much the norm in wine stores all over this town, there's a lot of caveat emptor, but the best wine shops take that guesswork out of the equation.

                  1. re: kenito799

                    Gotcha. I agree with you about the guys there, too. With back vintages (esp. pre-2000), I always ask about the wine to avoid exactly the problem you describe.

                    That said, I have a good friend who had good luck returning a moribund bottle of Bordeaux to them.

                    Thanks for the reply, kenito, btw.

                    Nosher

                    NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

            2. Have you tried the "Salmon Run" Pinot Noir? We get it at our wine store in Carroll Gardens for $15. It is our red wine
              "stand-by" when we don't feel adventurous. "Salmon Run" also makes a great Riesling.

              1. I think the trick is to identify several good shops and keep tabs on specials. Most everywhere will deliver so you don't need to limit yourself to what's available in your own neighborhood. And if you are not buying cases already, this is another way to keep the price down as most retailers discount 12 and sometimes 6 bottles. USq Wines has a 25 pc case discount until tomorrow? or some time this week. I have found good bottles there and at Astor, and also at Garnet and Crossroads. Moore has a well-curated selection of small grower-producer wines from France, Italy, Germany and maybe Spain? The wine shop at Chelsea market is ok but I find it overpriced in general. There is a small wine shop on 3d Ave around 19th or so, with a limited but thoughtful and moderately priced selection. Beekman Wines on Lex around 49th is also worth checking out. Overall I think there are plenty of interesting, well-priced wines available in NY but you do have to commit to the search.You might also consider ordering on line or from importers. I recommend North Berkeley and the Wine House in LA.

                1. Have you tried some Walla Walla valley wines? Its a really up and coming area but the hype hasnt quite reached the east coast. This can be great for you because I've found some great steals. If you are looking for a solid table wine, try a Columia Crest merlot (I've found it for as low as $6 in Boston, but it usually runs between $8-$12). Also from the area:
                  -L'Ecole No 41
                  -Cayuse
                  -Leonetti Cellar (probably out of your price range, but if you can find it for under $50, snatch it up!)

                  These are all fairly obscure, fantastic wines. I usually find them dusty on a back shelf, but I also end up paying way less than I should. This has been my best kept secret living on the east coast, so enjoy!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: thunderbug84

                    Walla Walla has some great wines. I'm personally very fond of Isenhower Cellars from Walla Walla, esp their Looking Glass Syrah and Wild Alfalfa Syrah. Tough to fine in wine stores (I discovered their wines at the W hotel's restaurant in Seattle) but they do sell them direct online...though at the moment they've stopped shipping to NY :(

                  2. I stopped in this place the other day. I didn't buy anything but it seems like a nice shop and the wines all seem reasonable. It's on 19th St., west of Broadway.

                    http://www.bottlerocketwine.com/

                    1. Moore Brothers on E. 20th St. near Park is a cool place that stores the wine well.

                      http://www.wineaccess.com/store/moore...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Senor Popusa

                        yes, I was just there, the selection looks very promising with many choices in the $15-20 range. I have friends who go to the NJ branch and swear by their wines.

                      2. Coppola Diamond Series Claret, Pinot Noir and Merlot are all very good in the price range requested. Widely available. Have not tried the Zinfandel. Live in South Florida but visit New York frequently. Crossroads on W. 14th St. has knowledgable staff. Have never been impressed by customer service at Sherry Lehman. Have also had good luck at Acker Merrall on W. 72nd St. east of Broadway. For white wines you can still find good Vouvrays and Sancerres from the Loire region of France. I also like Gallo of Sonoma. Claret from Coppola is a red blend and is delicious.

                        1. There are some really good Chilean Cabernets and Argentinian Malbecs in the $15 to $10 category.