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Choosing good and fruity red wine - need recommendations

I enjoy fruity red wine that is not too dry. Good example - some varieties of Shiraz from Australia, some Merlots and Cabernets from California. Generally, I noticed that the wines from the warmer climates are fruitier and less dry. Simple examples would Trader Joe's Shiraz or Whole Foods Shiraz from Australia - both are inexpensive, not very sophisticated, but match my preference.

I wanted to try better varieties at higher price points ($15-$20). However, whenever I go to the wine stores and ask about fruity wine that is not too dry, I always get recommendations that end up being very dry and not fruity at all. I guess I don't know how to explain my taste to the "experts" at the stores. They start talking about "big" and "bold" and "earthy", etc. Just a few days back, I asked for a fruity wine and got recommendation for Perrin & Fils Cotes du Rhone Villages 2007 which cost just 10.99. As usual, this wine ended up being just a bit fruity and very dry.

Any suggestions?

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  1. Beaujolais is what you should try, particularly from the communes such as Julienas. (Gamays from Touraine or the Loire will also be of interest--I think Eric Asimov from the Times wrote a column about them a few weeks back...easily checked on their blog site.) Since you live in NYC, apparently, check the BottleRocket store--they seem to favor this style of wine in many of their offerings. Other intensely fruity wines that may appeal are Grignolino or a well made Bardolino (Astor WInes has one that is reasonably priced, extremely fruity and not from a big commercial house.) I have found Freisas to often have an intense fruity quality (a bit too much for my taste.) Certain bottlings of Valpolicella will also work (it will depend on the vinification style of the maker.)

    1. Try some Lambrusco. Most of them are fruity and are better served slightly chilled.

      1. There are a lot of big, juicy California Zinfandels well within your price range that I believe you would like. IMO, this grape is the best of the California productions. Your wine shop can suggest the big ones to you, which I call cocktail wines because they are so big and fruity, they tend to overwhelm food. I’ve had several well-made but big Spanish Garnachas that you might prefer over French Grenache blends such as your Côtes du Rhône Villages.

        1. Try David Bruce Petite Shirah. I can get it at Costco for $16, and it's really nice.

          1. Using the Matrix analogy: will it be the red pill or the blue pill? If you're curious and maven-like, take the red and start buying books and stick with Chowhound Wine. Learn a ton, so that you'll quickly be able to discern for yourself and know why.

            If you're not inspired enough or not inherently maven-esque (no judgment), then go blue find a very talented wine retailer. Are you in NYC (LeoNYC)? I like Astor. Go to tastings. Tell them what you loved that you drank recently, and let them guide you to the next thing. Great retail wine shops make it easy.

            1. If you favor the sweeter wines that are less dry, why not try some Port Wines? Touriga Francesa maybe. Otherwise, like BN1 said, Zinfadels should match your needs pretty well!

              1. There are a lot of reds, that I would typify as "fruit-driven." A few that come immediately to mind are many Syrah/Shiraz, some Central Coast Pinot Noirs and some bigger Zins.

                Just a quick, short list, I'd look to those varietals from places like the Santa Rita Hills, much of the Santa Barbara area, and Zins from Turley and Biale. The latter will have higher alcohol (do not operate motorized machinery... ), but the fruit will very likely be forward.

                Now, those wines are seldom in the "bargain bin," but splurge for a couple and taste.

                God luck,


                4 Replies
                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Since you've been disappointed in what your retailers have recommended based on your stated preference, try requesting a "California fruit bomb" and a price range. It may well be what you are looking for, and worst-case it's just one more disappointing bottle.

                  A late-harvest Zinfandel may be a good fit.

                  1. re: Akitist

                    Sorry, but you have me confused with someone else. I know which wines I like and seldom need to go with the recs. from a salesperson.

                    You probably meant to reply to the OP, but not to me.


                      1. re: Akitist

                        No problem, but I was confused - though that is probably normal for me. [Girn]


                2. Thank you all for the thoughts and suggestions. Can you guys provide some more specific wine recommendations in the $12-20 range?

                  For those recommending the Astor Wine store - I am aware of it, and I love it, but it's a bit too far from my home (I live in Yorkville, on the edge of Upper East Side). We have a couple of great wine stores here as well (K & D on Madison & 96th and Wright Wines on 3rd & 90th St).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: LeoNYC

                    If you order wines costing more than $75 (check the website), Astor will deliver for free. Ypu can call in our order and at the same time get their recommendations on the kool-aid wines that you want.

                    Same with Garnet wines in the UWS,

                    1. re: LeoNYC

                      Go to http://www.wine-searcher.com
                      Enter location: NY, wine: BEAUJOLAIS, vintage: 2009, min price 12, max price 20.
                      Plenty of hits.

                    2. I'm going to go off varietals & suggest you try a few blends instead. Two specific recommendations would be Cline's Red Truck & Coppola's Rosso. I found the Red Truck to be more fruity & a bit less dry than the Rosso, so I'd try that one first. Both should be a good fit for your criteria.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Eiron

                        WARNING: I am definitely an amateur wine-wise. Most of the above posters have forgotten more about wine than I will ever know.

                        That being said, I would recommend an inexpensive blend that I like very much - Menage a Trois Red Blend (from Folie A Deux Winery in Napa). It is a blend of Zinfadel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

                        To my tastes, it is "fruity".

                        Also, I get it at Costco for around $7.30, so if you don't like it, you're not out much money.

                        Good luck!


                        1. re: HB_Jeff

                          Thanks Jeff, I forgot about Menage a Trois. I agree that it's another blend that fits the OP's criteria nicely. (BTW, if you like MaT, give the two I mentioned above a try!)

                      2. You like "New World" wines. Stick with those in all
                        price ranges and you'll be fine.