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Good Wine Buys for under $10.00?

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I heard the married couple who write the WSJ Tastings column on the radio last night and they got me all inspired. They suggested wines from Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa as good bets for under $10.00.

I was amused when they stated that you should steer clear of "the critter labels"!

Any good suggestions?

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  1. I do question the appropriateness of this posting and would be understanding if it were not permitted, but do find that in the sub $13 range, there are a good many deals to be had at Bauer Wines at the Mass. Ave end of Newbury Street. The management there are knowledgeable and helpful even when you're trying to stay at the low end of their range.

    1. Since you posted on the Boston board, I'm assuming you want Boston-specific answers, so here goes:

      * After the the Globe ran its Plonkapalooza article (http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/... ), a number of local wine shops started prominently displaying bottles from the list. Of the places I've seen that are doing this, Federal Wine in Boston is my favorite all-around shop.

      * The Wine and Cheese Cask in Somerville has a really nice selection of inexpensive wines. I'm especially partial to what I've dubbed the "magic wine fridge", which is chock full of great-value whites, but they also have a number of good QPR reds. A few that come to mind from the WACC: many primitivos (aka Italian Zinfandels), such as A Mano and Flaio, Las Rocas garnacha (the QPR darling of the moment), and a 3L $28 box of not-great-but-ok Cotes du Rhone.

      Best advice if you have the cash on hand: talk to someone at a wine shop you trust and put together a mixed case. You'll get a discount (probably 10 or 15%), and they can tailor it to your tastes. You'll save money, and your palate will thank you.

      1 Reply
      1. re: finlero

        The Wine and Cheese Cask also runs "Wines of the Month" specials which are always under $10. Get on their mailing list or just check out their website. It is a good way to learn what you like and also if your taste follows their descriptions. We have been going there for years so have learned to trust their descriptions for our taste.

      2. Try "Alamos". They are a winery in Argentina. They have a fantastic Chard-- nice and buttery (the '06 is particularly good if you can still find it) and a great Malbec. Both for $10. Can be found at Martys or Brookline Liquor Mart... prob some other places too.

        1. If you can get a bottle or Rioja, any brand, for under $10 it usually constitues a good buy. Increase that a few dollars and you can get some superb Rioja for $13-$14. Derby Street Liquors in the Derby shops in Hingham as a nice, if small, selection of Rioja.

          5 Replies
          1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

            My current favorite moderately priced rioja is Bodegas Lan Crianza, which usually can be found for under $13.00. I've found it both at Bauer's and at Blanchard's.

            http://www.bodegaslan.com/en/view_vin...

            1. re: Blumie

              I've been drinking the Marques De La Concordia for about a year now; it's my favorite. Easily found at Derby Street in Hingham for $12.99.

              http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp...

            2. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

              You can never go wrong with a good rioja. I've been going to Bin Ends in Braintree lately. It's sort of a Filene's Basement for wine. Picked a box of 6 1996 Torre Rioja for a great price. (Sorry not in the $10 dollar range, but a good deal.) They have a lot of wine in the $10 - $20 dollar price range

              1. re: jjbourgeois

                I noticed Bin Ends a few weeks ago when we were shopping for a baby crib. It seems like the type of place that is goign to suffer from a severe lack of exposure to the general public. unless you have a reason to drive up that industrial road- you'll never know it's there. Didn't go in but what's their concept? do they buy closeouts from other stores and discount to the public?

                1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                  That's pretty much it. Close-outs from stores and distributors. Occassionally a distributor has one or two cases they haven't sold, so Bin Ends snags them at a discount. They also carry licquor and beer. Not sure how long they'll last, but i've found some pretty good buys there.

            3. http://www.mallliquors.com/index.html

              Cambridge Wine at Fresh Pond next to Whole Foods has some very helpful folks working there who can definitely recommend good wines under $10 based on your preferences - the store is large and they have a wide selection at this price point.

              -----
              Cambridge Wine & Spirits
              202 Alewife Brook Pkwy, Cambridge, MA 02138

              1. Cerajeras from Portugal, available at the Wine & Cheese Cask for well under $10.
                E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone, available everywhere for around $11.
                Definitely ask the sales staff at any good place that you trust, such as the Cask or Downtown, both in Somerville.

                1. You definitely want to stay clear of the critter labels. There's an inverse correlation between the cuteness of the name and quality of the wine.

                  Here are my go-to less than ten buck wines: Penfolds 2006 Koonanga Hills (sp?) Shiraz-Cabernet blend, a great value at $7.99 from Costco in Avon. Oyster Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, $9.99 at Costco (I have a slight preference for a couple of other NZ Sauvignon Blancs, but they're $13 or more); Alamos Malbec, from Argentina, which you can find at many places for $7.99.

                  1. I'm horrible with the names of wine brands, but that's why I just got a trust wine journal to now note things I buy. I can't wait to use it. Anyhow, Trader Joe's has a great selection of wines. Maybe it's worth a shot to go and check them out and see what you might find.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BackBayGirl

                      I've been drinking a Chilean Sauv Blanc from TJ's, label is Cono Sur, that really stands up to the slightly pricier New Zealand imports (which I love but are mostly over 10 bucks) Cono Sur is 7.50. Another white I look for is Torrontes from Argentina. I've had some good bottles of Torrontes for under ten dollars from Brookline Liquor Mart (the one on Comm Ave)

                    2. I heard the interview, too, and felt very smug, since I drink the categories they mentioned!
                      There is a Malbec, Argentinian, at Trader Joe's, that costs $3.99....Right on their $4 price point!
                      Given the choice, I adore Nobilo (Australian or NZ, forget which) Sauvignon Blanc, for $9.99, but I'm damned happy with King Stag (New Zealand) Sauv Blanc for $7.99.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: galleygirl

                        I've had the Malbec from Trader Joe's that you are speaking about and I enjoyed it very much.

                        1. re: BackBayGirl

                          I love Nobilo as well (large NZ producer) - it has increased in price over the years and the flavor varies, but it's particularly great this year. It is classic Marlborough SB flavor to me.

                      2. Marty's in Allston and Newton is also a good bet for the under $10 category and they have a whole section devoted to affordable wines. Several wines are even cheaper if you buy 2 or 3 at the same price point. Even though Argentina is getting a lot of press these days because the US dollar isn't as weak there, you can still get good deals on European wines, which is handy for folks like me who don't like sauvignon blanc from Down Under. My preference is for Casare Duetorre (sp?), a pinot grigio which is $8.99 or 3/$25. According to my favorite wine guy at Marty's, he recently saw the same bottle on a restaurant menu for $40. Picpoul de Languedoc is also a good white in the under $10 range.

                        1. I am a big fan of Malbecs overall- some good and inexpensive ones are Bodega Norton, Terrazas, Torrontes, and Sur de los Andes. I usually find all of these in the $9-12 range.

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: mem53

                            Regarding Malbecs: this is a great example of why the best thing you can do is learn what you personally like.

                            I'm clearly in the minority, but for whatever reason, I tend not to like Malbecs; I usually find them to have a slightly pruny element (even the well-crafted, not overdone ones) that doesn't appeal to me. I also personally seem to gravitate towards older-style wines rather than the current "international style" that seems to be in fashion. I'd generally much rather drink an inexpensive old-school red from Southern Italy, France, Spain, or Portugal over a new-school southern hemisphere red.

                            This is why I really recommend talking to the experts who work at a good wine shop. Even though I'm not especially skilled at identifying specific taste characteristics out of a wine (currant, framboise, tobacco, leather, ham sandwich, alligator scale…), I keep a list of bottles I've enjoyed, and even if *I* don’t necessarily know what I like, they can usually take my list and extrapolate a good bottle. Over time, I've figured out "big picture" notions of what I do and don't like (fruity vs. dry, prevalence of tannins, level of earthiness), and seem to have increasingly good luck (if you can call it that anymore) with the bottles I buy.

                            Federal Wine is my favorite place to talk to the staff. They'll chew your ear off, so you need to go in with some patience, but they've never steered me wrong. I also love rlh's suggestion of Cambridge Wine & Spirits in Fresh Pond; the staff there are both approachable and knowledgeable. And if you have a membership, winedude is right on the money with Costco; they don't have much in the way of wide selection or deep knowledge, but with the modest inventory they do have, they consistently deliver on value.

                            1. re: finlero

                              Interesting note: you do NOT need a membership to purchase wine at Costco. It's one instance in which the Massachusetts blue laws work in our favor. They have great deals there if you know what you're looking for, otherwise the staff is largley useless. I have no membership and purchase wine from there often. FWIW.

                              1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                                Wow, thanks for posting that info about Costco. I had no idea you could buy alcohol there without a membership.

                                1. re: VTtoMAtoCAfoodie

                                  You do know that only 3 Costco's have alcohol: Waltham, Avon, and I don't know the other. Dedham also has a wine store in it, but it's not actually owned by Costco. You can even use Visa there.

                                  1. re: winedude

                                    Chains in Massachusetts are only allowed 3 liquor licenses for the whole state. That's why TJ's and WF only sells wine in some locations. Do you pay the member price at Costco for the wine?

                                    1. re: galleygirl

                                      Yes, you pay the price marked. It's the same as the members pay.

                                    2. re: winedude

                                      Costco Danvers sells alcohol.

                                      1. re: Chris VR

                                        Does it still? I thought they closed that operation a couple of years ago, but maybe I am misremembering.

                                        1. re: Karl S

                                          Yep, still does- I was there last week and they were quite busy.

                                2. re: finlero

                                  Hey, what you like is what you like. Personally I love Malbec but can't stand Shiraz.

                                3. re: mem53

                                  Another one I forgot, Bodega Lurton (Argentinian, IIRC)Pinot Gris....Used to be dirt cheap, but you can still get it for around $8....I recnetly saw it at Concord Cheese Shop.....

                                4. Our Glass Wine Co on Route 1 in Saugus (www.ourglasswineco.com) has a "Steal" section in the middle of the sotre and I've gotten some decent wines from there.

                                  They are ding a "Grand Holiday Tasting" on Saturday from 3-7 according to an email I got earlier.

                                  1. I've been asking myself a related question - where are the good wine stores? My overall complaint is most places are selling the same stuff. Variety is lacking.

                                    Finlero, thanks for the Federal recommendation -- I'll take a look.

                                    Two places I have had some success -- There's a wine store on Charles Street, near the T-stop (Charles Street Liquors - not the one closer to the Common which is overpriced). They have an interesting, thoughtful selection, and flag staff recommendations and value wines in each section (though value here is closer to $12/13 than $10).

                                    Then there's Corporate Wines, which is essentially a wine ordering service. They have a shop in Woburn. The plus: huge selection, very plausible prices. The minus: most things have to be ordered by the case. But a plausible option for a party or to stock up on your house wine.

                                    BB

                                    -----
                                    Charles Street Liquors
                                    143 Charles St, Boston, MA

                                    Corporate Wines
                                    16 Cummings Park, A Woburn, MA

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: bombaybeauty

                                      Bauer Wine on Newbury Street has been our wine shop of choice since we moved to Boston. They always have some great values. I laugh because every time I stop in to buy a bottle of dirt cheap wine to steam mussels, Howie says, "Remember, you can drink that too."

                                      The staff has great knowledge and they seem to rotate favorites in and out so that you can stock up when they are featuring something you like.

                                      Get on their mailing list because the do great mixed case specials. We've discovered many a favorite wine by taking what they are offering in a mixed case at a great price.

                                    2. thank you for the good discussion. I'm a happy drinker of most Spanish reds and most NZ sauvignons. I particularly also like the Ripasso, a second growth Amarone, which usually goes for about 9 a bottle at TJs in Brookline. A great deal of wine drinking seems to me to be about discovering your own palate: i don't like Pinot Grigios but do like cheap orvietos, particularly in the summer, and I do like portuguese reds but don't much like malbecs. I doubt that makes my choices "better" wines but it helps me choose what I enjoy. If I'm spending "real money" I'll likely choose an expensive Spanish red like Alion while my husband would probably prefer a Bordeaux. Chacun a son gout and vive les vins.

                                      1. Great holiday sparkler for <$10 - Cristalino Brut Cava Non-Vintage from Spain. Found at TJs, Marty's and other major stores.

                                        1. OMG. I discovered this store today - Rapid Liquors on Main St. in Stoneham. Apparently there is a sister store - Vinnin's Liquors - in Swampscott. All I can say is '06 Las Rocas Garnacha for $8.99 a bottle. And that's just the beginning. I will no longer shop anywhere else.

                                          1. After reading many postings about places to purchase wine, I decided to go to corpwines.com in Woburn (on Washington St in a strip mall). Because of the warnings on their website, I had low expectations of what they would carry in the "showroom" but was curious since they offer 25% off 6 bottles if you pay in cash. So I went to see what they had.

                                            I was very pleasantly surprised by the selection and while I did not necessarily find all of the brands I was looking for, the gentleman there was able to suggest substitutions. I imagine they had 250 different wines to select from, if not more. They had about 6-7 different brands of Malbec, which you all know from this particular discussion, is a favorite of mine. Prices were okay- I have seen better- but the 25% off more than made up the difference. My advice to all of you- grab some cash and go there to stock up for the holidays.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: mem53

                                              Is this place really OK? The website is totally dubious. Can you give an example of the things you found there? From the warings on the website, It looks like the kind of place that sells things that fall off the back of a truck, if you know what I mean.

                                              1. re: winedude

                                                I can vouch for Corporate Wines. I used them to buy a case of a wonderful, but hard-to-find wine from the Puglia region of Italy.

                                                It took over a month, but it arrived without a hitch, and at a vastly lower rate than anywhere else I saw either online or off.

                                                A friend of mine fared less well; after a month, his order was canceled, but he lost no money.

                                                1. re: winedude

                                                  The showroom was pretty nice, I thought. Some examples of what I bought were Norton Malbec, Davinci Chianti, and White Haven Sauv. Blanc. I was shopping for "everyday" wines, so I didn't really look at their higher price range bottles.
                                                  My expectations were low too after seeing the website, but I found that they had a pretty decent selection. Aagain, the 25% off with cash is what makes the place. I feel like I got a great deal!

                                              2. I get the 1.5 liter bottles of Concha y Toro Cabernet-Merlot blend. It's $5.99/bottle at BJ's Wholesale. You just can't beat it for the price.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: hoohah

                                                  Which area BJ's sell alcohol?

                                                  1. re: lbfoody

                                                    The BJ's in Avon sells alcohol.

                                                2. I've been enjoying Yellow+Blue, an organic Argentinian Malbec that comes in an eco-friendly tetrapak. It's actually very tasty wine. The bottle holds a full liter as opposed to the normal glass 750ml bottles, and it's about $12. I served it at Thanksgiving and got rave reviews all around.

                                                  I know it can be found at Giles (Woburn and Arlington) and at Cambridge Wine and Spirits. It's becoming quite popular so I imagine you can find it just about anywhere these days.

                                                  http://www.ybwines.com/index.php

                                                  1. There are some great deals, though sometimes not as good as Costco prices, at Bin Ends Wines (www.binendswine.com). They deliver wine free within MA if you buy 12 bottles. or more. The convenience of the delivery is great. I've ordered wine online and have had them deliver it within the hour! At times they have some older wines that are hard to find elsewhere. The deals I have gotten on <$10 bottles are real values.

                                                    1. Jerry's Liquors in Union Square, Somerville, has a decent selection of Portuguese wines, especially reds, for reasonable prices, with several below $10 and a few just above it. Sorry I don't have specific names, but at those prices it's fun to be a little adventurous and try something new.