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Aug 27, 2008 02:46 PM

Suggestions For New Wines To Try?

Hubby and I are starting to appreciate red wines more lately. We've always preferred whites in the past, but reds are appealing to us more and more, and that's what I've been buying lately. I've been going to Costco and BevMo mainly. I'm looking for other nice reds to try.

So far, we've enjoyed:
Hess Allomi 05 Cabernet Savignon
Kunde Estate 05 Cabernet Savignon
Justin Isosceles Reserve
Silver Oak 04 Alexander Valley Cabernet (my boss is a wine lover and always gives me a bottle from his Silver Oak shipments)

I'd like suggestions for $10-$20 wines as well as wines under $50 (for special occasions).


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  1. Boogiebaby -

    Have you tried other red wines that you did not like? ( It would help to know what you like and do not like so far.)

    The wines you listed are all cabs and cab blends, all CA, and all emphasize the fruit in the wine. If you liked these wines I would assume you would like other similar wines, and could suggest some. On the other hand, if you are a relatively new red wine drinker, are you looking for suggestions of other red wine varieties or styles to try?

    I assume you are in CA based on the Bevmo reference. If this is so you might confirm as it will affect what wines are available to you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: scrappydog

      Yes, we are in Southern CA. I'd like to branch out into other types of reds. We know we like cabs, but I'm not sure what else to try. I'd also like suggestions for other cabs to try.

      1. re: boogiebaby

        Boogiebaby _

        We are in SOCAL also, so I can probably suggest some wines that you will be able to find locally. While I mostly shop at independent wine shops near us, I stopped by the Bevmo in the SFV on the way home the other day. (They are in the midst of one of their 5 cent sales). I was planning to pick up a couple of Malbecs from Argentina on sale, but they were sold out. You may want to look out for some of these and try one. You should be able to find wines that you will appreciate in the price range you are looking at. They will usually be somewhat close in style to the cabs that you have tried.

        I would second the CA wines that tlegray suggests, and would add that I also like the Merlot from Dynamite for the price. It is a wine that will emphasize the fruit like the cabs you have tried, but is less tannic ("smoother") than some of the cabs (If you read the "Sideways do-over???" thread on this board, you realize that recommending a merlot (particularly an inexpensive CA Merlot) can sometimes be a "duck and cover" situation, but I will offer it up anyway.)

        Pinot Noir is a little more difficult in you price range, but we like O'Rielley's (Oregon) which is available for $16.99 locally last time I checked. It will be "lighter" than the cabs you have tried - the kind of red wine you could drink and enjoy with lighter food - roast chicken, salmon, even grilled chicken or beef kabobs. We usually do the cabs and cab blends with steaks, roasts etc.)

        Rhone style blends, I am a big fan of the Edmunds St John "Rocks and Gravel" red wine. I consider it an "old world style" wine - it is less dominated by the strong fruit flavors than the CA cabs you have tried.

        Here is some information from Jason: (zin1953):

        We have been drinking two wines as our "house reds" this summer:

        The first is Bitch (pardon the Australian) Grenache (from Barossa) is a good wine for the money (At $9.99 to $10.99 locally.) It is unoaked, and has pleasent but not overpowering fruit flavors. We enjoy it with some lighter grilled fare and mediterraean cuisine. A nice summer red in my opinion.

        The second is Cotes du Rhone, a French red wine with a similar flavor profile. Most of the ones we have tried, we have liked and they have ranged from $6.99 to $10.99.

        This thread has some suggestions for wines from Santa Ynez and Paso Robles area that are in your price range. There are some good wine suggestions that are produced relatively close to the SOCAL area (if you want to try some CA wines that are from somewhere besides Napa / Sonoma.) The OP in the thread was able to find many wines from the area at her local Bevmo, I have never had much luck finding them in my local Bevmo.

        You do not necessarily need to spend more money for a wine for a special occasion, but of the wines we have been buying this summer in the $50 range, here are two we have liked:

        Orin Swift Papillon (we have been paying $53.99 lately):

        It is a cab blend like the ones you have tried and what I refer to as a new world style CA bordeaux blend.

        Also from the "What are you drinking right now" thread at $39.99:

        With a mediterranian chicken stew, Coya Malbec 2004, Oakville, Napa Valley. Actually a great match, but it would pair well with grilled steak also. We did not decant; poured it straight from the bottle. The wine appeared near perfect, as best I can tell. Deep garnet color, smooth and supple with a moderate fruit (blueberry / plum) presence. 14.5% abv. Recommended by a trusted wine shop owner. We generally do not drink a lot of Malbec, and usually look to Argentina when shopping for Malbec, but this wine was excellent. I would buy it again.

        Both of these wines were recommendations from a trusted local wine shop owner who knows me and understands the wines I like. As others will surely tell you, getting to know the owner and/or staff of a locally run wine shop can be a great source for finding wines you like in a price range that is comfortable to you. I agree.

    2. Hi Boogie..

      Those are pretty much ALL cabernets...

      If you're just interested in reds then .... I would recommend just trying a "round robin" of various other red varietals. Here would be a few to check out:

      California Zinfandel: Very affordable. In great years from good vineyards this is about as good a red wine as there is anywhere (IMO)...

      Spanish Tempranillo: Look for Riojas and Riberas from 2001, 2004, and 2005. Riservas and Gran Riservas are particularly nice bottlings that aren't released for several years after the vintage. Again, great values you can find superb wines from 20 to 50 or so.

      Stick to these vintages only, btw, vintages are extremely important in all wines but particularly big reds, IMO.

      A 3rd very nice, widely-available, and distinctive red is Syrah (aka Shiraz). Start with Australian Shiraz from the 01, 02, and 05 vintages of the Barossa region. There's alot of great, fairly priced wines in this category.

      SO, along with your cabernet, here's 3 new reds for you to try!

      1. We like to try various reds and that's our price range for everyday wines so I'll give you some of ours. We are not conissieurs though. I know there are others but these are what come to mind and what we tend to have on hand at any given moment in case company drops in.

        From Australia:
        Yalumba Y-series Cabernet ($10-12)
        Yalumba Shiraz Barossa ($15)
        Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz ($15)

        From Chile:
        Vina La Rosa Don Reca Cabernet ($20)

        From Italy:
        Allegrini Valpolicella La Grola ($24)
        Pellisero Nebbiolo ($25)

        From CA:
        Dynamite Cabernet ($14)
        Dry Creek Meritage ($24) but I haven't been able to find this one lately
        Alexander Valley Cabernet ($20)

        1. Instead of Costco and Bevmo, try a shop where the salespeople can get to know your taste and make recommendations.

          1. Hey boogiebaby,

            You've clearly tried and enjoyed some solid cabs. I'm a very predictable California cab lover and try desperately to branch out. Here are some that I've enjoyed and the app. prices I pay (I live in Maryland):

            Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon $14 - my "always a few bottles on hand" wine
            Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages $75 - for breaking the bank; over your $50 budget
            Sin Zin Zinfandel $15
            Truth Lindsey's Cuvee $20
            Worthy Sophia's Cuvee $20
            Cain Concept $52
            Morgante Nero 'd Avola $13
            Marquesas de Riscal Rioja Riserva $21
            Chalone Vineyard Pinot Noir $14

            From Paul Hobbs: must try IMHO
            Felino Malbec $18
            Bramare Cabernet Sauvignon $35

            *don't miss out on a bottle of Paul Hobbs 05 Beckstoffer to Kalon Cabernet Saunignon for a special occasion if you find you like the more affordable Argentinian wines recommended above*