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Oct 6, 2008 11:14 PM

Recession wines

After watching the Dow plunge yet again, I am finding myself much more open to recession wines.

Wine lovers, any favorites? I'm open to red or white, any varietal. In this case, I'll set the bar at $15 and under and exclude the Turning Leafs of the world.

Extra points to those easily obtained in SF without the whole mailing/shipping hassle....

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  1. My "regular" wines are in the $10-20 range. These are NOT recession wines. Rather, these are great wines that I consume regularly. One never needs an excuse to open great wines, and I find it silly that certain wines cost what they do.

    Were I you, I would visit -- not shop online, but actually go to the wine merchants listed below. You will find dozens of wines available, not the Kendall-Jackson's or Turning Leaf's of the world, but great wines from all over the world . . . and to be sure, there are many more options than these, but these will certainly "fit the bill," and then some!

    This is far from being a complete list, but each of these stores I've listed -- as opposed to, say, BevMo -- have knowledgeable people on staff who can help you find wines that will be to your liking. While I applaud your openness, to say you are "open to red or white, any varietal" is far too broad to be of much help. Style? Weight? Level of sweetness? In order to help you -- both here on Chowhound, and in the individual stores -- you need to be a bit more specific. Were I still in retail, I would ask you the following questions in order to help me select wines I have in the store that will best suit your needs AND your price range . . .

    1. You say you are "open to red or white, any varietal." Any country as well?
    2. Do you like your white wines light-, medium-, or full-bodied? Dry, off-dry, or sweet? Crisp or round?
    3. Do you like your reds light-medium-, or full-bodied? More fruit-driven, or "terroir-driven"? Smooth and supple, or more tannic and/or rustic in character?
    4. What are some specific wines you've enjoyed in the past?
    5. And finally, are you looking for wines for current consumption, or for cellaring?

    Normally, I'd also ask your price range, but you've already provided that information. I might also ask what sort of foods you generally eat at home, so as to have an idea of food pairings as I offered you various wines . . . .

    * * * * *

    I am happy to make some specific recommendations, but I would feel more comfortable knowing answers to the above questions, so as not to waste your time suggesting wines you won't like . . .


    K & L Wine Merchants
    638 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

    Spanish Table
    1814 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

    Jug Shop Wine & Spirits
    1590 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

    Vintage Berkeley
    2113 Vine St, Berkeley, CA 94709

    Paul Marcus Wines
    5655 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

    Solano Cellars Bistro & Wine
    1580 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

    Wine Mine
    5427 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

    Wine House
    129 Carolina St, San Francisco, CA

    1. There are a lot of threads on inexpensive wines, BUT...

      2005 Mattei Barbera ($15 @ Biondivino)
      2006 Garnacha del Fuego ($7 @ Cost Plus)
      2007 Mason Sauvignon Blanc (<$15 lots of places if you keep an eye out)
      NV Mumm's Napa Blanc de Noirs (<$15 Safeway)

      My guess is that the 2006 Morgante Nero d'Avola is pretty good.

      There is an excellent $12 Prosecco with a regular cork and a very good $11 Tuscan that Ceri bought a ton of last vintage at Biondivino right now. Sorry I forget the names, but if you stop buy and tell her that the kid who is in love with Donabaum's wines reccomended them, she'll know what you are talking about. I'll try to get the names later. The Prosecco comes with a *strong* reccomendation from me at the price.

      2 Replies
      1. re: whiner

        Thank you, Whiner, for these recs. I will have to inspect the Mumm blanc de noirs soon! Bubbles bring levity to these dark financial times. And any decent Barbera under $15 is bound to be a go-to. Hope I can find it out here.

        1. re: whiner

          I just discovered the Morgante Nero d'Avola at Costco ($13.99) about a month ago. DH loved it (I'm off alcohol for a few months)!. Went out of stock soon after & is back in stock. I've bought it at both Foster City & Redwood City locations.

        2. If you like Italian wines, I bought a case of wine at Biondivino on Green St. 3 months ago of which 6 were $15 or less and 4 more were under $19. Those I have tried have been great, especially the stainless steel Mattei Barbera, which was an eye opener for me.

          1. I don't buy "recession wines" so much as I drink from my cellar, and replace less than I used to.

            2 Replies
            1. re: dinwiddie

              As do I . . .

              The key for me is, as I said above, I find many of the prices of wines today to be so inflated as to be ridiculous. (That's ME; YMMV.) I refuse to pay them. I can *afford* more than I generally spend, but I just see no reason to do so. I find some delicious, excellent wines mostly in the $10-20 range, with some as much as $30, and rarely have any "need" to spend more . . . EXCEPT for Champagnes, Porto, and certain high-end Rhones for which I have a soft spot for . . . .

              1. re: dinwiddie

                We also are happy we have a stocked cellar, especially the 2000 Barolos we bought three years ago.

              2. Actually, I don't think I will need to lower my usual $15-$30 range.
                what I expect is that there will be very good deals on my favorite wines.
                I see that the Vino Noceto Linsteadt Barbera which is normally $25+
                is down to $20. I expect a sharp decline in overpriced Napa Cabernets
                or Oregon and Russian River pinots. I stand ready to buy when the
                price is right. At some point, there might even be opportunities
                to buy a winery at a decent price [vulture hat on].