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Sep 4, 2007 04:51 PM

Your Paso/Santa Ynez wine picks under $15?

Am trading local wines for event tickets. Trader drinks moderately-low priced wines so expects 3 to 4 bottles for a $50 ticket value. Not looking for blow-yer-socks-off wines. Nice drinkable wines to sip before, or serve with, meals.

In the past, I've traded some Peachy Cyn Zin, Adelaide Schoolhouse Red, Estancia Chard and others. Looking for your rec's for something different. Availability in the central coast area is helpful--grocery stores, TJ's, Costco, etc.

I live on the CC, but since hubby is a beer drinker, and we don't dine out all that much, I'm rather out of the loop.... I usually get wine for myself at Trader Joe's, but it's hit-or-miss.

So any tips you have, let me know your favorites.

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  1. I am not sure that you will find a wide selection at you local TJs or Costco, or BevMo if there is one in your area, but in SOCAL I have found a few in your desired price range that I like. Greywolf makes a few Reds in that range, as does Bishop's Peak, and Norman. (I know they bottle some Zins and some blends in this price range.) Both Koehler and Kalyra make a SB in that range. I am a big fan of Justin Chardonnay, but it is at the high end of your range at $15.89 locally. If you paired it up with one of the choices above in the $10.99 to 13.99 range, you could still average under $15 per bottle. I am also a fan of Estancia and Adelaide that you have already found.

    The trouble with shopping TJs / Costco / BevMo is they tend to stock things they can buy in large volume, so you may have better luck finding an affordable but wider selection from Paso / Santa Ynez if you can find a good local retail wine shop. Unfortunately, I don't know the stores in the central coast area.

    7 Replies
    1. re: scrappydog

      Just got back from three days in SB County wine country. If you can stretch a bit, I highly recommend Palima Pinot Gris (06) and Stolpman Limestone Hill (04)--a red blend of 85% Cab, 10% Merlot, 5%Malbec. Both are terrific wines, not mass-marketed, and, IMO, good values. They are $18 at the winery/tasting room. I purchased multiple bottles of each. Palmina is in the “wine ghetto” behind Home Depot in Lompoc. Stolpman’s tasting room is in Solvang. They may be available for less at a wine store.

      Both wineries are making wonderful wines, and I urge others to try them. The owner/winemaker of Palmina is Steve Clifton (of Brewer-Clifton and Melville fame). They make Italian varietals and blends. Stolpman makes a limited line of Claifornia varietals and blends, primarily reds. Their just released 05 Syrah is really good, and drinkable now.

      1. re: pjaym17

        I like the wines from Palmina also and consider them good value for the money. I think the Palmina Barbera is excellent - one of the best "Cal-Italians" that I have tried. In SOCAL it is available for about $22, so it is also a little out of the price range toadie jane set. (On the other hand, all it would take to make it work on an average cost basis is to find a good $8 wine to pair up with it.)

      2. re: scrappydog

        I know the Albertson's in Morro Bay has a fantastic selection of local wines. I hope to make a shopping list from these suggestions (keep them coming) and see what I can pick up there. We just got a Bev Mo so will check it out, as well as the local wine shops. I just need some suggestions to know where to start--the number of local wineries is staggering compared to 10 years ago! And my favorites of 10 years ago are now out of this price range :(

        1. re: scrappydog

          >> and Norman. (I know they bottle some Zins and some blends in this price range.)

          I would never recommend a Zin from Norman. Very "hot" - and this is coming from someone who generally doesn't mind hot Zins. I love however some of their other wines.

          1. re: scrappydog

            Actually SD, I did try the new BevMo in SLO on Los Osos Valley Rd near the Home Depot/Costo complex.

            Eric, the manager, came from several years managing at the local TJ's and is now in his element. He enthusiastically took my parameters and showed me at least a dozen wines as good buys in their category.

            I selected:

            Makor Merlot '04 $13.99
            Eberle Vineyard Select Chard. $17.99
            Domaine Alfred DA Red (blend) '05 $17.99
            Four Vines Naked (stainless) Chard '05 $9.99
            Firestone '06 Gewertz '06 $9.99
            La'Adventure Rose Cab '06 $15.99
            J Lohr Riverstone Chard '05 $9.99
            Presidio '06 Chard (small french oak barrel fremented) $14.99
            from certified organic and biodynamically farmed vines--Eric suggested comparing this with the Naked SS fermented.

            I'll take most of these wines as ticket payment and Host gifts, then keep the rest for myself!

            All in all a pleasurable experience at BevMo that I was not expecting from a chain. They had a lobby grouping of local wines, a grouping of "90 Points" wines and then the regular aisles of Calif wines, as well a a large variety of imports.

            They were having a sales staff tasting with a winery rep during my visit, so it looks as if they work on product knowledge with the young college-age staff.

            I also got
            Foley Santa Rita Hills Pinot '05 $32.99
            Alma Rosa " " Pinot '05 $32.99 (Costco) for a coming special ocasion.

            thanks all for your comments and I'l keep this list for further research!

            1. re: toodie jane

              If you like your local BevMo, and it sounds like you do, sign up for the BevMo card. They mail you a 5% off coupon after each $250 you spend. Your beer, wine and liquor purchases count towards this total so it is easy to accumulate the $250. The outlet near us has some selections from the CC, like Justin, but it sounds like the BevMo near you has a great local selection. I see that you were willing to go a little over $15 for some of the selections. There are a lot of good choices still available in the $15 to $20 range - Tobin James, Eberle, Norman, Justin, Opolo, Summerland, Qupe, Koehler, etc. If you pair them up with some of your under $15 finds, you should be able to average around $15, and pick up some above average wines. Sounds like you found a great source.

              1. re: scrappydog

                yes, the experience was very posititve. I doubt I'll be getting many coupons at the rate I buy wine--lol!

                the $15 was a starting point, and though I did go over, I also went under, so it works out. I also found some great wines to share while we are there.

                Any suggestions which whould be the best with bbq-d leg of lamb and green salad?

          2. In Paso Robles, Estancia is a pretty good winery. I had their Meritage red blend recently and found it to be very good value, though it may be a little higher than your price range.

            In Santa Ynez, I like Qupé, which makes an excellent Marsanne. It should be right at the high end of your price range.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mengathon

              Hi, toodiejane,
              Eberle makes a red table wine called Full Boar Red, that is consistenty very good & very reasonable (often sells out).

            2. Tobin James has a broad range of wines @/under $15 (at wine shops) that are very good values. It's also a very fun tasting room experience. Not sure what the retail distribution is in that area but they are a Paso winery.

              1. I just love the Albertsons in Morro Bay. Whenever I visit my sis I make a point to stop there, or is it the other way around. For a lamb dish you might want to try Toby James rock n' roll Syarh that is not to expensive. For some Whites, You might want to check out Tangent. It is the second label of Bailyana. I bought some at the winery and I really liked them, however I am really not sure of avail. in the local stores. Talley's second label, Bishops Peak are also tasty values. Another winery you may want to check out is Hahn. I know it is in Monterey, but I still consider that the C.C.

                5 Replies
                1. re: littlestevie

                  does justin still make "the orphan"? if so, i remember it was something like $12.99.

                  1. re: TBird

                    The Justin site does not show The Orphan as available and the SoCal wholesaler's catalog does not list it either. I believe it was developed from what wine they had left after they lost a lot of finished product in the Vallejo warehouse fire and may have been dropped after they recovered from that situation.

                    1. re: Midlife

                      nope, can confirm we had an 2005 orphan last night. still being made, but i seem to recall it only being offered while visiting the winery...??? maybe? either way, had an 05 last night and still singing for under $15.

                      1. re: TBird

                        You're correct, of course. Wineries sometimes drive me a little nuts by what they show on their sites and what they don't. The Orphan is available through Justin's SoCal distributor, and I now see it on several online sites, though it is not currently for sale on Justin's site (but they do show a release date and technical notes for '05 Orphan). What I was basing my comment on was an online article about the wine that said it was made to have something from Justin for people who couldn't get the wines lost in the fire. I guess it proved to be an idea worth repeating.

                        1. re: Midlife

                          Wineries often make wines for special purposes or markets.
                          They are intended to reach a specific segment where their other wines will not sell. Sometimes only available at the winery on a limited basis or to restaurants, and not otherwise in the Market.