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I've had it with fruit bombs

I'm pretty sure it's been discussed before, but these big reds are so ubiquitous now...not just from CA but many from South America, and even Spain and Portugal (though often with less residual sugar and more tannin).

I'd welcome sub-$20 suggestions for more refined wines that don't insist on being big and "jammy."

Our local stores are rather downmarket....so Sherry-Lehmanesque suggestions may not help. :(

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  1. These are my 2010 purchases within your requested specs:

    2006 Pessac-léognan Ch. Picque-Caillou, $ 16.50
    2008 Muscadet-sèvre-et-maine Sur lie Cuvée Harmonie, Michel Delhommeau, $ 12.99
    2006 Côtes-du-roussillon-villages Mas del Rey (Jacques Montagné), $ 19.99
    2008 Beaujolais Fleurie Poncié Dom. du Vissoux ( Pierre Chermette ) , $ 16.25
    2007 Lirac, La Dame Rousse Dom. de la Mordorée (Delorme), $ 16.00
    2008 Dolcetto di Dogliani Sorì dij But (Anna MariaAbbona), $ 12.98
    2009 Jasnières Pascal Janvier, $ 16.99

    1. Look for dry wines from Portugal. Many are so dry they demand food. And Portugal has one of the weakest economies in Europe. Many of the single-vineyard wines are less than $20 and age nicely.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SteveTimko

        That's terrific general tip, Steve. Thanks.

      2. in relation to Steve's excellent suggestion, if you happen to have a Costco membership i highly recommend checking your store for the Quinta do Vallado 2007 Douro. great wine, terrific price - $14.99 for the bottle, while other stores are charging $20+ for it.

        1. Assumiong you are mainly interested in reds... Beaujolais, Chinon, Touraine Rouge, certain Cotes-du-Rhone, Dolcetto, Austrian reds such as Blaufrankisch and Zweigelt.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Brad Ballinger

            These are great suggestions. I'll add that Cotes-du-Rhones are my favorites out of this bunch.

            1. re: BelgianBeerMistress

              agreed...Perrin & Fils is probably my top choice for a good, inexpensive ($10 or less) Côtes du Rhône.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Yep, I think Comestible is wise to stick to Old World French/Italian wines...they don't seem to be as bent on making ALL their wines with ginormous fruit forward, high sugar and crazy-high ABVs...sheesh! I like Perrin & Fils too.

          2. Thanks for all these suggestions. I'll be keeping an eye out for these.

            Actually, I always knew a large percentage of red wines are not fruit bombs, but it seems that's what I've come across lately. I suppose I was venting more than anything...but I really am grateful for your suggestions.

            1. Buy Italian wine -> more Acidity, needs food. (very general rule of thumb, ask your wine merchant for more details)

              Get a rustic South African in your house: The Wolftrap from Boekenhoutskloof is very nice (and CHEAP!)

              Get your hands on some Swiss reds, dunno if they fit in the price range, but you're looking for the see through reds with wood. Lovely stuff.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Strauss

                Another S.A. suggestion - I've had some of the Kanonkop pinotages, and they're quite interesting. Herbacious and funky to my palate, despite the average description of this-and-that berry.

                1. re: Strauss

                  Tell you what: try some Bandol. Made mostly from Mourvedre they are massive and chunky. Very heady stuff.

                2. I would say in general you want wines from higher elevations. Look for Mountain fruit from just about anywhere, or cooler climate wines. Valley floor wines Aka alot of california, Australia, and Argentian wines tend to be very fruit forward and "hotter" or higher alcohol. Cooler climate wines and mountain wines tend to have much more structure and finese to them as well as offer acidity to them. Lean toward wines from coastal regions.

                  Also try some washington state wines. In general they tend to not be overy fruit forward and offer complexity and acidity. There are some fruit bombs in washington as well, but not near as many as california, spain and australia.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ReeseChiarlo

                    Washington does have some really nice bordeaux style wines. Check out the offerings at Tagaris, Cougar Crest, but most especially -- Cadence. http://cadencewinery.com/ We did a wine dinner with the Cadence folks a couple of years ago, and DANG. Lovely, restrained stuff.

                    1. re: Vetter

                      agree that Cadence makes some great wines, unfortunately they're not exactly budget-friendly. i think i may have found the Coda once for about $18, but even that usually goes for over $20, and their other blends tend to run $40 and up.

                  2. I love my family - and to each his own taste, of course - but having returned from a holiday week of nothing but heavy, alcoholic, low-acid, palate-fatiguing, boring wines with no sense of differentiation, much less place, I am so glad to be back to my own collection and preferences.

                    For sub-$20 wines, look to the Loire (muscadet-sevre-et-maine, Tourraine gamay, etc.) and Beaujolais (preferably cru for the latter, though village level is fine). Burgundy for that special occasion, or even a basic bourgogne.