Recommendation for great red $20-$30
I'd like to purchase a few bottles of a fantastic red to give as thank you gifts to my girlfriends who are hosting a baby shower for me. I was thinking of giving them something from the Napa/Sonoma region, as my husband and I vacationed there this summer. Even though we were there for a few days, my knowledge of the area is still somewhat limited. I'd like to buy something that provides the biggest bang for my buck and that my friends can really enjoy. My friends enjoy reds more than whites, especially varietals like cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir. I live in Virginia, so would like to make sure that the wine is available either locally, or can be shipped to me.
In terms of "bang-for-the-buck" Cabs for under $30, a couple that I've had success with.....
Markham '01 Napa
Justin '04 Paso Robles
Clos du Val '02 Napa
Rutherford Hill '01 Napa
and a lil sleeper from down under.............
Penfolds Bin 407 Cab '03 that I sell for 19.99 and tastes like much more..........
In terms of Pinots, there are many available for under 30 that are yummy.................
Chalone Estate '04
Byron '04 Santa Maria
ZD Carneros '04
Morgan 12 Clones
Hartford Court "Land's Edge" '05
And my Favorite in the price range.............
Bernardus "Monterey" '05
Oregon also has many and to list a couple that I've been very happy with are:
King Estate '04
Bethel Heights '05
and another at 19.99 that churns out of my store
There are many others, but all of these are in the range you are looking for and should be available almost anywhere...........
Assuming you are set on Napa CA wine (if not, bang for your buck might be a second label Bordeaux from a decent house/recent top vintage, or maybe a Ribera del Duero from Spain) - you may do best to avoid getting it shipped and see what your local purveyors have on hand. Look for '01 Cab sales.
I've gotten good buys recently on William Hill Reserve ('01/'02); other names to look for in cabs at the price point (or a bit above - again, look for sales): Rosenblum, Andretti, Phoenix, White Oak, Chappellet, Cenay, Mt.Eden, Cuvaison, Silverado, Turnbull; and in Pinot: Domaine Carneros, Etude, MacRostie, Talisman, Signorello.
When I hear "bang for the buck" I think of Latin American wines.
May I suggest:
Carmenere, Casa Silva, Chile
Meritage, Cabrenet Sauvignon/Malbec, Antonio Nerviani, Argentina
Malbec/Syrah, Trumpeter, Bodega La Rural, Argentina
Patriota, Bonarda/Malbec, Tikal, Argentina
Eolo, Tannat/Ruby Cab, Vinedo De los Vientos, Uruguay
Try Oberon Cabernet from Napa or Villa Mt. Eden Tall Trees Cab also from Napa. These are two really good Cabs that are amazing for the $$.
As far as Pinot Noir is concerned: Saintsbury Garnet has always been a great wine at a great price. La Crema Pinot Noir is also outstanding.
As for Bang for the Buck in red wines from California, IMO you'll do best with a great California Zinfandel and for $30 you can afford some top shelf zinfandels whereas you're not going to get into the choicest cabernets for that price.
I've always turned to France and western Europe for my "bang for the buck" wines.
Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd is based in Winchester, VA -- they have a number of great "bang for the buck" wines from France (the Loire, Beaujolais, the Rhone, Languedoc, etc.), Spain and Portugal.
The French imports of Robert Kacher, who is based in Washington DC, should also be widely available. Bobby has a large selections from France.