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Origin of best QPR Wines

zin1953 Sep 26, 2007 12:51 PM

Taken from another discussion ("Have you researched your local 'boutique' wine store?" http://www.chowhound.com/topics/426352 ), what country and/or region do you think produces the best QPR wines (i.e.: the best value for the money)?

For the sake of this discussion, let's try to avoid the plummetting dollar vs. foreign currancies, and just look at the market as it is today.

Clearly much depends upon one's own personal taste preference -- it doesn't matter how mnya people rave about that $$$$ bottle of Shiraz from Antartica -- if I don't like it, it's not a very good wine TO ME, and I'm not going to buy it. Conversely, even if that bottle of Icelandic Pinot Noir is only $1.99, if I don't like the way it tastes, it holds no QPR for me. Be that as it may . . .

While I don't think anyplace on the planet makes better jug wines than California does, I don't think there is anyplace on the planet that offers better QPR than France. Spain and Portugal, along with Italy, come close behind . . . for me.

What about you?


  1. r
    RicRios Sep 26, 2007 01:06 PM

    QPR, as all ratios, are tricky.

    Let's say for the sake of discussion we use Q = WA rating, P = price.
    Then let's say we have two bottles, one with Q=100, P=100, Q/P = 1
    The second bottle has a Q=70, P=70, same Q/P=1.
    Which one would you choose?

    Going back to your question, Jason:
    A region with consistently low quality AND low prices could fair pretty well in a Q/P contest versus another region with consistently high quality AND high prices.
    In order to make your question more meaningful, some other parameter must be thrown in. Perhaps limit quality and/or price within a certain range?

    2 Replies
    1. re: RicRios
      zin1953 Sep 26, 2007 03:06 PM

      While I agree that there can be *great* QPR in a bottle that's $10, and in one that is $100 (if it tastes like a $500 bottle!), I reject the notion of using a numerical ration (i.e.: point score) as the guideline. That presumes that we all agree that "x" writer/publication is the arbiter of all things tasty . . . blech!

      Furthermore, I strongly disagree with your comment that, "A region with consistently low quality AND low prices could fair pretty well in a Q/P contest versus another region with consistently high quality AND high prices." On the contrary, they would BOTH fair POORLY! The nod, however, would go to the high quality/high price, because -- to coin a phrase -- "quality is Job 1." ;^)


      1. re: RicRios
        Midlife Sep 26, 2007 05:35 PM

        I don't agree with your logic either. Great QPR is really not Q/P but HighestQ/LowestP. Everyone I know is looking for a wine that costs $10 but drinks like it costs $40, not a great $40 wine priced at $40 (though there's nothing wrong with that). I think that's why the wine mags make such a big deal of their "90 Point Wines under XX$" issues. The concept is more value for less money.

        For a while now I've seen really good QPR (my definition) coming out of Spain and Argentina, although there are still occasional values in most regions.

      2. scrappydog Sep 26, 2007 02:30 PM

        I agree with you on France (particularly southern Rhone), Spain, Portugal and Italy. I would add New Zealand for SB.

        1 Reply
        1. re: scrappydog
          TBird Sep 26, 2007 02:39 PM

          grenache(garnacha) from spain and sauvignon blanc from new zealand

        2. Frodnesor Sep 26, 2007 02:55 PM

          Spain - from all over but especially "lesser" regions; garnacha, tempranillo and blends. For my money the most drinkable and interesting sub $15 wines (often under $10) wines out there.

          Cotes du Rhone - again, lots of good wines around the $15 and under range.

          1. oolah Sep 26, 2007 06:26 PM

            I agree with France, especially the Loire Valley. Lately I've found some nice values in the Languedoc-Roussillon region too, although that's more of a minefield.

            But one of the best $10 wines I ever had was a Romanian "Burgundy" called Vox Populi that drank like a $25 Bourgogne. Haven't had the opportunity to sample other Romanian wines, so I don't know if that's atypical.

            1. Bill Hunt Sep 26, 2007 07:59 PM

              For the ultimate "bang for MY buck," I still go to Spain and Portugal, regardless of the $ vs. the Euro (could not find its symbol in my character set... ). I've had better fortune with excellent wines from FR, but at higher price-points. There are some, and problably many that I've miss, as I'm in AZ, that do well at the lower end of the price spectrum, but most of those, that I encounter in London, just do not do it for me. Same for OZ - the cheap ones are, well cheap, and the good ones cost, but are worth the expense in many cases.

              I've seen comments on the wines of Chile from the '80s. I never experienced those, but, with one glaring exception, have not found one that I'd actually pay for, and at all price ranges.

              South Africa has some good value wines, but one has to be lucky, or know what to buy, to get the values.

              I am always surprised, when I find a "value" wine from the US. I love US wines, but from about US$20/btl. up.

              After all of that - it's Spain and Portugal.


              2 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt
                RicRios Sep 26, 2007 08:34 PM

                There you are: € (now copy & paste)

                1. re: RicRios
                  Bill Hunt Sep 27, 2007 12:04 PM

                  Thanks RicRios. I have it in WordPerfect, but my XP-MCE Character Set seems to need an upgrade!


              2. d
                domaine547 Sep 26, 2007 09:24 PM

                Spain, though it's creeping up in price. Portugal offers many values but the non-Ports are hard to track down.

                10 Replies
                1. re: domaine547
                  zin1953 Sep 27, 2007 06:17 AM

                  >>> . . . but the non-Ports are hard to track down. <<<

                  Hmmmm -- perhaps that's true in some locations of the US, but certainly not in California, where I live and where several importers of Portuguese wines are based. Too, Portuguese table wines are widely available in Massachussetts and in the NY/NJ area, imported by companies based there.

                  1. re: zin1953
                    Frodnesor Sep 27, 2007 07:48 AM

                    Dry Portuguese wines are not well distributed at all in South Florida. Only a couple smaller shops (that I know of) are just starting to get them in, and only very limited selection.

                    1. re: zin1953
                      domaine547 Sep 27, 2007 10:35 PM

                      While there are many distributors who carry Portuguese wines, the selection is not great. It is actually significantly better in Northern California than Southern California. I've been hunting for these wines, and have looked through so many distributors books...Bibulous in NoCal has a rep for its Spanish portfolio in LA, but not for its Portuguese wines. Don't know why. There are great importers in MA (New Bedford) but again they don't seem to be represented by SoCal distributors often.

                      1. re: domaine547
                        zin1953 Sep 28, 2007 06:50 AM

                        Never heard of Bibulous.

                        Adventures in Wine, Angeles Wine, Diamond Wine Merchants, Epic Wines, Estate Wines, Kysela, Martine's, Regal, Wine House . . . even the large companies like Henry Wine Group, Wine Warehouse -- even Southern and Young's -- carry Portuguese table wines, in addition to Porto.

                        And I'm sure I'm leaving a number of companies out . . .

                        1. re: zin1953
                          Dr. Debs Oct 12, 2007 04:32 PM

                          Nice list, but I went to 10 wine stores in LA before finding 2 bottles of Portuguese wine at Beverages and More. They were not inspiring. Hit 2 more stores and found 1 bottle of white. domaine547 is right about the wine being hard to find in SoCal.

                          The Portuguese wine I have had (limited) has been much better QPR than the Spanish wines (a lot) that I've been drinking lately. Portuguese distributors and importers have a real opportunity on their hands to reach a wider market. I was actively looking to buy Portuguese table wine and couldn't find it.

                          1. re: Dr. Debs
                            zin1953 Oct 13, 2007 02:29 PM

                            I did not mention retail wine stores. Not living in LA, I cannot comment on current inventories in various stores, so I can't help you there. I mentioned 13 wholesalers, all of whom carry Portuguese table wines. Whether or not the buyer at "Jean Deaux's House of Wines & Spirits" decides to buy any of them is not within my control.

                            That said, I've found them in the past at places like Mission Wines in So. Pasadena, Wine Country is Signal Hill, Woodland Hills Wine Co., as well as Wine Exchange and Hi-Tyme in Orange Co., etc. Also, now that K&L has opened a store, there should be some there -- I know there is in the K&L locations up here.

                            1. re: zin1953
                              Dr. Debs Oct 16, 2007 07:11 PM

                              Mission Wines had 1 bottle of Portuguese wine. I bought it. Yes, K&L had some Portuguese wine in Hollywood, but most of it was up north or in the warehouse. Orange County is not in LA. Just FYI

                              1. re: Dr. Debs
                                zin1953 Oct 16, 2007 07:43 PM

                                I know; lived in LA for a total of 19 years; lived in Orange County for a year and a half . . .

                                What can I say, Bill Drewry carried more Portuguese wines than Chris Meeske . . .

                                Last time I looked Randy Kemner had them at Wine Country; there were some at the Wine House on Cotner; so, too, did Geoffery Senior at Larchmont Village Wine, Dave at Duke of Bourbon, Roberto at Wine Expo, and several other stores in LA proper . . . I know, because I used to sell it to them.

                          2. re: zin1953
                            domaine547 Oct 28, 2007 08:12 PM

                            I buy from AIW, Henry, Martine's, Regal, Henry, Wine House (SF), Southern, Young's...believe me when I say there is limited availability of the table wines. Maybe one or two producers (sometimes just one or two wines) per book. Martoletto has a better list, as does Maddelena.

                            1. re: domaine547
                              zin1953 Oct 29, 2007 07:21 AM

                              Sticking strictly with Portuguese tables wines, one or two per book adds up to a great deal.

                    2. c
                      Chicago Mike Sep 26, 2007 09:33 PM

                      Cabernet: Chile

                      Chardonnay: Tough one, but I'd say anywhere but France, lololol

                      Syrah: for the money, probably California, although for the "best" it ain't California.

                      Riesling: The USA has some very good pedestrian rieslings, but for that matter you can get an incredible bottle of German R for 10 or so... I'm sticking w/ Germany.

                      Sparkler: Italy, Moscato d'Asti

                      Sauvignon Blanc... for the money, probably the USA.

                      Best Red Wine "for the money": California Zinfandel

                      Best Red Wine sitting on the wineshop shelf after 8/10 years of harvest: Spanish Tempranillo (is there any other tempranillo?)

                      1. w
                        waffleman Sep 26, 2007 11:17 PM

                        Austrian Gruner in the liter bottles are a pretty smoking deal. Most around $10 - $14 per bottle.

                        Cotes du Rhone are a pretty good deal.

                        Spanish whites are pretty cool.

                        1. j
                          jonasblank Sep 27, 2007 12:32 PM

                          Reading all the posts about France and QPR, I guess I must have bad luck or make some bad decisions when I buy inexpensive French wines, because what I get has been uneven at best, though I've gotten some white burgundy in the $10-20 range that I enjoyed.

                          Would it be fair to say that there is very little red bordeaux or burgundy in the $10-15 range?

                          I've had Southern Rhone and Loire Valley wines I liked that I'd consider value wines, but I might go so far as to say never a "value" Bordeaux.

                          Using those criteria, I'd say I've been better off, though I still feel like the good French wines I've enjoyed have had to be relatively more expensive than what I thought was a good value from Spain/Italy/Portugal, etc.

                          But that all may be my own failure to understand French wine as fully as I probably should. On that note, is there a good book or even website that can give you a useful, not-completely-basic intro?

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: jonasblank
                            zin1953 Sep 27, 2007 01:35 PM

                            >>> Would it be fair to say that there is very little red bordeaux or burgundy in the $10-15 range? <<<

                            Yes. The Bordeaux and Burgundy available in that range is virtually non-existent, coming out of either large caves-cooperatives or from well-known "branded" wines like Mouton-Cadet.

                            You CAN certianly find some really wonderful white Burgundies from the Maconnais (e.g.: Macon-Villages) as well as some excellent Beaujolais in the $12-15 range, but even domaine-bottled Bourgogne rouge is running around $20-25 these days.

                            There are many wines in the $10-15 range -- and even less -- from areas like the Rhone, the Loire, the Languedoc, the Sud-Ouest, even Provence.


                            1. re: jonasblank
                              oolah Sep 27, 2007 03:27 PM

                              Totally agree with zin1953. I'm not much of a bordeaux drinker, but most red burgundy that costs less than $35 is hardly worth buying or drinking. The sweet spot, at least in NYC, is probably around $50-60, where you can get lesser known value appellations from a good producer. You get good QPR in that range, but it ain't exactly cheap.

                              Most cheaper good value french red wines are blends made from the lesser known grapes: gamay, grenache, carignane, mourvedre and cinsault, and occasionally syrah. They won't reach the heights of a grand cru burgundy, but they're often surprisingly delicious, a great match with lots of foods, affordable and widely available.

                              jonas, I noticed you're in Manhattan. I recommend dropping by a shop like Chambers St Wines or Moore Brothers and checking out their selection. It's hard to walk out of there with a bad bottle and they have a great selection of nice french wines in the $10-$20 range.

                              1. re: oolah
                                jonasblank Sep 28, 2007 11:09 AM

                                Thanks. I had heard good recommendations about both before, and will definitely check them out. Moore Bros is close to where I live, and Chambers is close to where I work, so it's perfect!

                              2. re: jonasblank
                                Chicago Mike Sep 27, 2007 04:00 PM

                                On the subject of French wine, while there is alot of "overpriced" wine from France, the following IMO are reasonable to excellent values...

                                Gewurztraminer: Considering the quality, top-growth Alsace gewurztraminer is reasonably priced IMO... you can get incredible bottles from the high 20's to low 40's and in good years this drinks as well as any wine in the world.

                                Chenin Blanc: About a ditto of above.... a super-elegant varietal from the Loire Valley produced in a wide variety of styles from dry to very sweet and good to great values can be found in almost every style. The Loire in general may be the home of France's overall greatest wine values... look at abundant and reasonably priced Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, for example...

                                Sauternes: Non-trophy Sauternes in great years represents an excellent value in world-class luscious sweet wines.

                                1. re: jonasblank
                                  jock Oct 13, 2007 09:20 PM

                                  Red burg $10 to $15 - not likely. Lots of very nice red Bdx in that price range. You need to kiss a lot of toads to find the princes.

                                  Great QPR in So France, Loire, all over Italy and Spain. IMO not many in CA. Also great QPR in Germany and Austria. If the damn $ would get off its death bed they would be even better QPR.

                                2. m
                                  mengathon Sep 27, 2007 03:47 PM

                                  For my tastes, France is ahead as well, but far ahead; Spain and Italy don't really come close behind. Not sure if Washington and Australia count for me, since I really only buy Chateau Ste Michelle and Penfolds if I'm looking for value.

                                  Within France:
                                  Loire, Côtes-du-Rhône, Beaujolais, Crozes-Hermitage, and, of course, Champagne.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: mengathon
                                    Frodnesor Sep 27, 2007 04:11 PM

                                    Not sure why you'd say France is far ahead of Spain. There are any number of $10-15 Spanish reds (often similar grenache-based blends) that I find to be the equal in quality to equivalently priced Cotes du Rhone and, maybe it's just the local supply chain, but I find there's often a lot more choices from Spain than from France (I like both).

                                    1. re: Frodnesor
                                      mengathon Sep 28, 2007 06:07 AM

                                      Probably just my personal taste buds preferring grenache with syrah and mourvèdre than with tempranillo and carignan. And on average, I've had much better luck with Côtes-du-Rhône against their Spanish counterparts in the same price range. I've had some Jumilla that were interesting, but most stores don't carry too many selections.

                                      As for the grenache-based rosés, I've yet to have one from Spain that I'd buy again.

                                      1. re: mengathon
                                        Erk877 Sep 29, 2007 03:02 PM

                                        Spain, Spain and Spain again. Both in the sub-$10 bargain category and the $15-$30 range Spain is outperforming just about everyone. There are also some interesting values emerging from Languedoc.

                                    2. re: mengathon
                                      Cancuk Dec 23, 2008 08:11 PM

                                      "and, of course, Champagne."

                                      of course?

                                      1. re: Cancuk
                                        zin1953 Dec 24, 2008 07:12 AM

                                        Well, for my tastes, yes. No other region produces dry sparkling wines of such depth, complexity, and character.

                                        There are some specific individual producers capable of making superb sparkling wines elsewhere, but typically I find that an overwhelming majority of the sparking wines made elsewhere to serve as a "more affordable Champagne substitute" than as a direct replacement for a Champagne itself.

                                        But I suppose YMMV.


                                        1. re: zin1953
                                          mengathon Dec 24, 2008 07:20 AM

                                          Agreed. A bottle of Gimmonet or Peters at $35 is a bargain relative to other sparkling wines, as well as a very good wine from another famous region, for which you are usually spending twice that amount.

                                          1. re: mengathon
                                            ibstatguy Dec 24, 2008 10:28 AM

                                            hmmm, maybe I'll open some Pierre Peters tonight!

                                    3. w
                                      whiner Oct 14, 2007 12:44 AM

                                      For me, the best QPRs come from Spain and the lesser known regions in Italy (and, by extention, Sicily). Although Piedmont is a well known Italian region, I would add that I find Barberas can be equally outstanding QPRs... actually, perhaps Barberas do make up my very favorite QPRs in the world.

                                      1. f
                                        fussycouple Oct 14, 2007 10:18 AM

                                        I've always thought that the Italians make the best inexpensive wine in the world, particulary if I'd have to drink it every day for the rest of my life.

                                        France gets the overall award for price ranges that run up to the high end.

                                        German riesling is a special case award.

                                        Probably of "new world" wines, New Zealand comes next, for me.

                                        I used to like California wine better, but either my tastes have changed, or the phylloxera plague of the 80s changed it for me. And I rarely think they have the best price to value ratio anymore, with a couple of specific exceptions that I've mentioned in these pages among other places.

                                        1. tacostacoseverywhere Oct 19, 2007 05:00 AM

                                          I am absolutely astonished that no one has mentioned South Africa. A wide range of varietals, overall vine age that competes with almost anywhere in the world, and a winemaking tradition that goes back a long way. Additionally, they learned from the current state of Australian wine not to go for the lowest common denominator and put out acres of cheap schlock, but rather to brand themselves as quality to price-type wines.

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