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Good cheap wines

Robert Lauriston Apr 18, 2009 10:32 AM

I can't find a relevant topic, so I started a new one.

  1. Robert Lauriston Apr 18, 2009 10:34 AM

    Veuve du Vernay Brut Rosé is the best cheap bubbly I've come across in a while. It has a nice strawberry nose, toasty, creamy, floral flavors with a hint of white pepper and rose petals, and a long, dry finish. Though quite fruity, it's not sweet at all, and has bracing acidity.

    Per the label the wine is made in France and has 11% alcohol. The Veuve du Vernay Web site says it's 100% Tempranillo, which means the grapes are probably grown in Spain, but it nevertheless tastes French.

    The label recommends serving it at 6-8° C, which is around 45° F (refrigerator cold), but I think that's bad advice. The wine tasted much better after it had warmed up a bit. I'll serve it cellar temperature or slightly cooler in the future, around 55-60°.

    I bought this at K&L $6.99. http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku...

    The Veuve du Vernay Brut, made from Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay, is the same price, but not nearly as tasty. I drank one glass and used the rest for cooking.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      Niki in Dayton Apr 24, 2009 01:23 PM

      The 08 Gazella Vinho Verde is out and it's another good year...the price here in Ohio has gone up to $7 per bottle, but it's still cheap and yummy and low alcohol to boot. I also had a Steltzer Gruner Veltliner that was $14 for a liter that was very good last weekend.

      1. re: Niki in Dayton
        vinhotinto75 Apr 27, 2009 05:28 AM

        Going price for Gazela in most states is anywhere from (4.99 to 6.99), however if you go to Trader Joe's, they have a private label by Sopgrape (the producer of Gazela) called Espiral for 3.99. It is essentially the same wine, but a different shaped bottle instead of the newly designed one that Gazela currently uses.

        1. re: vinhotinto75
          Robert Lauriston Apr 27, 2009 10:08 AM

          Didn't taste like the same wine to me. Maybe I'll do a head-to-head.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            janethepain Apr 28, 2009 08:05 AM

            would love to hear results. I love Gazela but wouldn' t mind saving a few bucks.

        2. re: Niki in Dayton
          westsidegal Jul 20, 2009 05:38 PM

          in southern california bevmo is offering a non vintage gazella as part of their 5cent sale (going on right now) at two bottles for $9

      2. Robert Lauriston Apr 18, 2009 10:36 AM

        Some other good buys at K&L, they're closing out some Touraine-Amboise wines from Grange Tiphane (Damien Delecheneau).


        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          baron45 Apr 18, 2009 12:11 PM

          I haven't tried this one yet, but I bought a couple of bottles at K&L. It's on closeout and now less than 1/2 of the original release price:

          2006 Willowbrook "DuNah Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir


          1. re: baron45
            bubbles4me Apr 18, 2009 12:16 PM

            Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc ($9.99)
            Chidaine Touraine ($11.99)
            Moulin de Gassac red and white ($9.99)

        2. SteveTimko Apr 19, 2009 10:32 AM

          I haven't had the 2006 Tessier Couer-Cheverney, but the 2004 is very nice. The 2006 is being closed out for $8 at K&L. From Romarantin, what they call the riesling of the Loire.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SteveTimko
            Robert Lauriston Apr 19, 2009 10:56 AM

            Mmm, I'll have to try that one. $8.99, actually ("was $16).

          2. Delhiwala Apr 21, 2009 02:57 PM

            Santa Rita "120" Sauvignon Blanc ($9.00) from Chile is really good and a best buy.

            1. d
              duck833 Apr 21, 2009 03:02 PM

              Got a case of 14 hands Cab from Washington the other day for about $6.80 a bottle, would be a good WBTG for a bar.

              1. b
                bricap Apr 28, 2009 04:55 PM

                Summer is getting closer. With that in mind, it's hard to beat the $4 bottle of Espiral vinho verde at Trader Joe's. Most vinho verde is priced in single digits, but for some reason this is the brand I keep going back to.

                I keep finding cheap bottles of Bonarda from Argentina, also. I've never been disappointed by a bottle that was under $10. Most recently I had a bottle that was 70% Bonarda / 30% Malbec made by Vinas de Balbo. I wish I could remember this other $7 bottle of 100% Bonarda I got awhile back. Bonarda is a great wine to drink by itself. I have heard there's a $2 or $3 bottle of Bonarda at Trader Joe's that is an absolute must, but I haven't seen it here in Chicago.

                1. ibstatguy Apr 28, 2009 06:05 PM

                  Domaine des Baumard Crémant de Loire; Langlois-Château Cabernet de Saumur La Bretonnière Sec; Fontaleoni Vernaccia di San Gimignano

                  1. c
                    comestible Apr 28, 2009 08:27 PM

                    JP Azeitao, from Portugal. Six bucks, bright & snappy med-body red, well made.

                    1. a
                      Ali Apr 29, 2009 11:02 AM

                      Like the others, vinho verde is my go-to for cheap wines. Dirt cheap and delicious. May even edge out beer and iced water for cooling summer drinks. :)

                      With summer, there's also the plethora of good to great rose wines - I very rarely pay above $15 for a good bottle (though my absolute favourite runs about $18), and my average rose bottle runs around $12 (half the time, we're talking single digits since I run into sales for rose wines all the time) for a nice, cooling summer drink.

                      For something "special," I look toward the cremant d'alsace and other sparklers. There's a particular bottle of cremant d'alsace I'm thinking of that runs $16 (and I dare say can stand up to most well-made NV Champagne), but both cava and proseco can be had for less.

                      There was a period where I could find a nice (if not great) moscato d'asti for about $11 per bottle, but I feel like I don't even see moscato d'asti around much anymore, much less know what they cost.

                      Mostly, though, I drop into Moore Bros and give them a price point. Nothing beats a knowledgeable wine guy for buying good, delicious wines! :) My best find there was the Marigny Neuf - a whopping $9, lovely acidity, and the secret ingredient in my apple crumble.

                      1. Robert Lauriston Jul 8, 2009 04:53 PM

                        Trader Joe's is no longer carrying the Espiral, but Gazela vinho verde is currently $4.52 a bottle at Bevmo on their 5-cent sale. I'm not sure how long the sale lasts. The date on the label is 2009, so I guess that means bottling date rather than vintage.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          BigWoodenSpoon Jul 8, 2009 05:26 PM

                          The Esprial goes in and out of stock all the time and its quite popular. We had some on my store's (Alameda) shelves as of last night. I don't remember seeing anything on the bulletin about it going away anytime soon. Lots of new value-priced wines came in last night so I guess I'll need to change my Crew Tasting for next week to include them.
                          I'll report back with any interesting findings.

                          1. re: BigWoodenSpoon
                            janethepain Jul 9, 2009 07:33 AM

                            I looooooove Trader Joe's for wine. Such a good deal for the price. Please report regularly on any cool new wines, would love to hear

                            1. re: janethepain
                              BigWoodenSpoon Jul 18, 2009 11:27 PM

                              I very much enjoyed the VINTJS Sauvignon Blanc ($6) we tasted on Thursday.
                              Crisp, refreshing, tart & tangy. Jason noted in his review that it's a Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion blend and I'm looking forward to work tomorrow so I can pick some up.

                            2. re: BigWoodenSpoon
                              Robert Lauriston Jul 9, 2009 09:12 AM

                              Nice to hear that the Espiral is avaialble again, but I like the Gazela better. Definitely worth the extra 53 cents.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                janethepain Jul 9, 2009 09:17 AM

                                I actually like Gazela better too, even though they're supposed to be the same?? I saw Gazelas on sale at Warehouse Wines & Spirits in NYC for $3.99. I've seen Gazelas go up to like $8.99 at some other places

                            3. re: Robert Lauriston
                              PolarBear Jul 11, 2009 05:48 PM

                              Just arrived back in town, but TJ's still had the Espiral when I left two weeks ago. BevMo, in their questionable wisdom, hiked the price of the Gazella to $8-9, when they finally responded after three weeks that they had a case for me I said never mind, just put it back in stock.

                              1. re: PolarBear
                                Robert Lauriston Jul 12, 2009 08:27 AM

                                Bevmo's regular price on the Gazela is $8.99, but on the 5-cent sale (still going on today) it's $4.52 when you buy an even number of bottles.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  Niki in Dayton Jul 13, 2009 07:29 AM

                                  I bought a bottle of the Gazela rose this weekend; first time I've seen it. It's priced the same as the vinho verde in our Ohio market ($6.99), and was quite good. The rose is slightly frizzante, and has a good deal of strawberry fruit, but finishes dry. For $7, I'll buy more, especially since most Roses are inching up in price in our market.

                              2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                westsidegal Jul 20, 2009 05:40 PM

                                the 5cent sale is still going on as of today

                              3. b
                                BigWoodenSpoon Jul 12, 2009 08:27 PM

                                Had a really nice wine today: 2007 J. Lohr Monterey County White Riesling ($8.50: winery)
                                With just 4% RS & 11.5% alcohol it was lightly sweet with some nice lemon notes and a spritzy finish. Imagine combining the best elements of a Riesling and a Vinho Verde. Delicious!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: BigWoodenSpoon
                                  Robert Lauriston Jul 13, 2009 08:26 AM

                                  How's the acid level? 4% RS could be flabby (as CA rieslings usually are) without a lot of acid.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                    BigWoodenSpoon Jul 13, 2009 02:00 PM

                                    I think it was pretty good and the frizzante on the finish definitely helped.

                                2. b
                                  burlgurl Jul 12, 2009 08:39 PM

                                  A very cheap white that is great and really enjoyable is Two Oceans, Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa. Very light and easy drinking and only about $18/ 2L..

                                  1. Midlife Jul 19, 2009 12:34 PM

                                    There seem to be lots of good value deals around these days, likely due to the economy and winery/distributor's need to move inventory. I just bought some Domaine Alfred Goss Creek Chardonnay at HiTime (in Costa Mesa) for $7.98 a bottle; it used to go for closer to $16. A couple months ago they, and another SoCal retailer) had a New Zealand Pinot and Chardonnay on sale for less than half it's regular retail. I missed the Pinot but the Chard was amazing ($14.98 for a regular $35 wine) and tasted like every penny of the original price.

                                    Price discount certainly is NOT the only meter for getting an exceptional value, but it IS a guide when you know something about the winery or the vineyard location if not the specific bottling. I'd suggest getting on the e-mail lists of several of your local wine retailers as they are now very aggressive competitively.

                                    There is plenty of info out there about major quality California vineyards having to sell off fruit or finished wine to turn cash lately. A label like Cameron Hughes (direct and at Costco) should have some really good values in the coming months.

                                    I find BevMo to be a bit of a challenge. Their 5-cent sales sound like a great deal, but you need to compare their 'regular' price to other retailers to be sure of how good it really is AND, like anywhere, you need to know what you're buying. Just my $.02 on their $.05.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Midlife
                                      westsidegal Jul 19, 2009 07:24 PM

                                      the best deals i've found at bevmo have not been part of their 5cent sales.
                                      it really requires some picking and choosing to dig out the good deals there. . . .

                                      bevmo, though, is a great resource to use to evaluate the deals offered by others, such as wines 'til sold out. sometimes the 'specials' offered by such online retailers are no better deal than the regular price offered at bevmo.

                                      i'm really lucky that i live near LA wine co.,. . .

                                    2. t
                                      texascarl Jul 24, 2009 07:28 PM

                                      For 'good' and 'cheap' I really like A Mano Primitivo and Laurel Glen 'REDS'. Another fine QPR choice is Columbia Crest - their offerings all present good value but their Grand Estates series is really amazing quality for the price.

                                      1. westsidegal Jul 28, 2009 06:53 PM

                                        if you are anywhere near southern california,
                                        the albertson's grocery chain is now having a sale on their chalone wines.
                                        the monterey cab is on sale for $9
                                        the chardonney is $8
                                        an additional 10% discount if you buy 6 bottles or more (mix and match works for this deal)

                                        amazing values for the quality

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