Great Value Reds... ($10 - $20 range)
I used to be a passionate wine drinker but my hobby's somewhat dissapated. I'm looking to build back up and would love any recommendations for great reds in the $10 - $20 range. I prefer medium to full bodied wines, preferably anything from Italy, Spain, South Africa, Washington State, etc. I'd like to avoid the oldworld California wines and French wines that are already way overpriced. And I guess most Italian varietals as well. I have always trended toward the old world style of cabs and bordeaus, loved some pinot noirs, but I'm otherwise very open. Just in general nothing too fruit forward (i've never been a huge zinfandel fan) but I have had a number of syrah's that blew my socks off. Thanks in advance!
I'm too tired to think up a complete list at the moment. I'll be more thorough later on. But, off the top of my head, just focusing on Italy, and without vintage reccomendations...
Ioppa Uva Rara
Mauro Molino Barbera d'Alba
Icardi Barbera d'Asti
(Poderi San Lazzaro) Podere 72 Rosso Piceno Superiore
Giacomo Mori Chianti
Morgante Nero d'Avola
Firriato Chariamonte Nero d'Avola
There are a TON, literally dozens, of Italian wines that I love in the $20-$25 range that I can list if you like...
I've been drinking the Ravenswood Red Zinfendel Vinters Blend Lately. I've also seen it marked down from 10 to 6.50 a bottle.
For that price, it really couldn't be beat.
As promised, here is more Italian. Sorry, my mind has been everywhere today so I cannot concentrate on any one thing for too long. I'll finish up tomorrow. BUT...
$20-$25 Italians that are worth seeking out:
Allegrini La Grola
(I would say Allegrini Palazzo della Torre, but for the extra $2, get the La Grola)
Piedmont (A lot of these you have to LOOK to get at $25 or under, but it can be done):
La Spinetta Barbera Ca di Pin
Icardi Barbera d'Alba
*One whose name I will get*
Ruche (I'll figure out if that is its full name)
San Giusto a Rentenanno Chianti Classico
Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino
Pertimali (Sassetti) Rosso di Montalcino
Ciacci Piccolomini Rosso di Montalcino
Again, I'll put together a list, there are a few Sicilians and some Aglianicos I really like, but I know them more by sight than name.
I've found that with this past years's release in particular, the prices on many of the Italian wines (particularly 2006 Rosso di Montalcino and 2003 Brunello) have really jumped. Not surprising, given the exchange rate and increased transportation cost, but it has taken most of the Rossos over the $20 mark (at least where I can get them).
Notwithstanding exchange rate and fuel cost, I find there are still tons of great values from Spain. Mentioned above is the Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos, there are many others - Las Rocas Garnacha, Castell del Remei Gotim Bru, Bodegas Castano Monastrell, Capcanes Mas Donis, Palacios Petalos de Bierzo, several others I'm not currently thinking of. Some of these, particularly the garnachas, may be too fruit-forward for you, but I find that the monastrells and bierzos (made from an indigenous grape called mencia) often having a pleasing earthiness that will appeal to your old world tastes.
You say you want to avoid overpriced CA and FR wines, but I think there's still plenty of wine coming from France - particularly the Rhone - that is very good and can still be had for under $20. Examples - Janasse CDR Terre d'Argile, St. Cosme Le Deux Albions CDR, Chave CDR Mon Coeur, Dom. d'Andezon Garnacha or CDR, Dom. la Garrigue Cuvee Romaine. Again the most recent releases of some of these may now push over $20, but even the basic Cotes du Rhone or Village bottlings from several of these producers are solid.
> Ruche (I'll figure out if that is its full name)
Ruche is a DOC... perhaps you are thinking of the Da Capo Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato 'Majoli'? I went looking through my tasting notes from last year's "try all the weird grapes" phase and this was a good one, albeit very different. Lots of cedar and tree bark, a bit alcoholic, spicy, medium-bodied. Memorably different.
>>"> Ruche (I'll figure out if that is its full name)
Ruche is a DOC... perhaps you are thinking of the Da Capo Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato 'Majoli'? I went looking through my tasting notes from last year's "try all the weird grapes" phase and this was a good one, albeit very different. Lots of cedar and tree bark, a bit alcoholic, spicy, medium-bodied. Memorably different." <<
2006 Cascina 'Tavijn Ruche (di Castagnole) made by Nadia Verrua. Really nice wine. $27
I like Firehouse Red by Tamarack Cellers from Columbia Valley Washington. It is about $16.00 depending on where you are.
If you really like old world, Les Rouilleres is a Lorie Valley Cab Franc, it is very rustic, and only about $16.00. Also, Chateau Clos Chaumont a Bordeaux, it roles in a about $15. Got that one at Cost Co.
There are a number of terrific Chinon, Bourgueil, and St. Nicolas de Bourgueil AOC offerings right now that are terrific values ($10-$15) if a person likes Cab Franc. The importer of the 'Les Rouilleres' you mentioned has been a consistently good source, and Joel Taluau offerings have also been delicious whenever I have tried one.