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Inexpensive Wine

I'm having a party in May, sort of a mediterranean vibe and am looking for good, inexpensive (below $10 a bottle) wine to serve. Red and White and a Prossecco. Any ideas?

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  1. What part of town are you in? There are a number of good wine stores around that have interesting selections that should fit the bill.

    11 Replies
      1. re: bosanova99

        I did notice a huge ad in the LA Times today for this brand new (as of today) wine store called "Total Wine" in Thousand Oaks. Probably worth checking out. Looks like they are having a real "grand opening" sale: http://www.totalwine.com/

        1. re: Servorg

          Total wine also has a coupon that allows you to take $10 off every $50 worth of wine you buy.

          1. re: Servorg

            Thousand Oaks Total Wine place link

            Total Wine
            394 N Moorpark Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

          2. re: bosanova99

            If you're on the westside, call Wine Expo and ask for Roberto. They have a lot of interesting inexpensive Italian wines (including a good selection of prosecco), which should fit your mediterranean vibe. Just tell him what sort of wine you want (e.g., your reds more fruity or funky, etc.). He also knows food, so tell him what you're serving as well.

            Wine Expo
            2933 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

              1. re: Robert Thornton

                Wine Expo is good for sparklers of all sorts, and they know their stuff, but I find them a bit pricey.

                Good for finding interesting stuff though. LIke a Marquis de Sade champagne. (not remotely painful to drink however!)

                Wine Expo
                2933 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                1. re: foodiemahoodie

                  I've tried to like and patronize this place, but the guy behind the counter (guessing he's the owner) wouldn't give me the time of day the few times I went. I must have picked up at least a few cases between those visits, yet I didn't even merit more than a couple of shrugs and a nod or shake of his head from behind the counter - wouldn't budge from his seat behind the counter. He definitely has some stuff you won't see elsewhere (the bulk of what I saw is Italian, some Spanish, South American, French) but there's too many other wine shops around that I'm more than happy with.

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    That's Roberto, the manager. He's a little gruff, but not as bad as the "soup nazi" ;)

                    Unless it's a specific grower champagne that I already know I want, I just ask him, "what should I buy in this price range"?

            1. re: Robert Thornton

              Any decent wine store will be able to meet that price point in a fairly interesting way.

              1. re: JudiAU

                I've picked up my share of just okay or worse wines by relying on advice from sales associates at so-called decent wine stores. For instance, Wally's, K & L and Wine Expo come to mind (although to be fair, I have also gotten good wines at Wine Expo based on their recommendations; at K & L based on scouring the website and deciding what might be to my palate and at Wally's by going in to buy a specific wine that I already had in mind). Your mileage may vary.

                Wine Expo
                2933 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

            2. Los Angeles Wine Co
              4935 McConnell Ave Unit #8 #8
              Los Angeles, CA 90066-6756
              (310) 306-9463

              Wine House
              2311 Cotner Ave, Los Angeles, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: vinosnob

                the last time i went to LA Wine Company they were selling 2005 Renwood Zinfandel Old Vine at $7/bttl.
                the wine was given a rating of 88 by Wine Spectator, and i personally like it a lot.
                fantastic price for this quality.
                i've already bought a case for myself.

                1. re: bosanova99

                  If you come back and let us know where you went and what you got for what price that would be helpful. I did notice in the ad for Total Wine that their price (not for the inexpensive buyers) for a half bottle (375ML) of 2005 Chateau D'Yquem was $199 (contrast that with Wally's online price of $444 or the Wine House for $389). Not at all bad.

                2. Silverlake wine does a great job recommending with in this price range. And all the prices on their bottles include tax!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: emosbaugh

                    Silverlake Wine, or Top Line, on San Fernando Road (LA/Glendale border)

                    Silverlake Wine
                    2395 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                    1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                      im pretty sure silverlake wine also gives you 10% off purchases of 12 bottles or more

                      1. re: emosbaugh

                        I recommend Silverlake wine as well. They will even find you something that's good for $10 a bottle.

                      2. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                        For a red, I found a cote du rhone at Topline that is quite good for $7.99 a bottle. Probably purchased 6-8 bottles already.

                        1. re: carter

                          Topline is just a great place. Great selection and they really know their stuff!

                        2. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                          Topline is terrific. Best prices in town.....and they're really nice and know their stuff!

                      3. Last time I was at K&L (on Vine in Hollywood) they had few boxes of Mezzocorona CS, which I think is pretty good for a $8 bottle of wine.


                        It's great with strong foods.

                        1. i've gotten some great cheap wines at silverlake wine. there's an $8 white that's really good. watch out for this one chick that works there. she's not too bright, and i've had a few run ins with her that's made me not want to shop there, but the wine and the price is too good to pass up.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Clyde

                            if you get either of the owners they are amazing as are most of the staff. very excited about wine. they are a boutique store and everything they have is there cause they would recommend it. a lot different from wine house, kl, etc... you really cant go wrong.

                          2. Look for the Gruner. It's a liter bottle of Gruner Veltliner from Etz - so it's sometimes called Etz Gruner. K&L and Domaine LA both carry it- some other places around town as well. It's really good and the price is around $12, but that's for a liter. If you google it, you'll see all kinds of good reviews.

                            Here's a link: http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku...

                            1. Thought of another one that's good and inexpensive: Azienda Santa Barbara Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2009. Light white from Italy. They have it at Wine House.

                              Wine House
                              2311 Cotner Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                              1. L.A. Times food section this week had an article on $15 a bottle wines being the new normal. http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

                                Recommended wines under $10 in the L.A. Times article were 2009 Tarima Monastrell (Spanish red), $6.99; 2008 Aguinon de Abeja Malbec (Argentine red) $8.99.from the Wine Exchange in Orange County (good discount wine shop -- I order from them all the time online) and 2005 Conde de Valdemar Rioja Crianza (Spanish red), $9.99 from the Wine Country in Signal Hill.

                                If you are looking for a white, Martin Weiner's "Martin's Guide to Wine Bargains" (which recommends locally available wine bargains and to which you can subscribe to at http://www.vintagewineenterprises.com...) recently recommended the 2008 CHATEAU COUSTAUT, Appl GRAVES – Chateau Btld, which is available from Los Angeles Wine Co. and which he said was a steal at $9.95. http://www.lawineco.com/ (Update - just checked online and Los Angeles Wine Co. says they are out of stock, but expect more in soon).http://www.lawineco.com/2008-chateau-...

                                On Prosecco, I think it will be hard to find anything decent at $10. I think you might have to go to $15 to $16. One way you can stretch a bottle of Prosecco though is to mix it with St. Germain liquor, which makes a great drink. (Although I haven't actually done the math to see if you are saving money since a 750ml bottle of St. Germain will run you about $33.95).

                                Wine Country
                                2301 Redondo Ave, Signal Hill, CA

                                Wine Exchange
                                1500 E Village Way # 2368, Orange, CA

                                3 Replies
                                  1. re: omotosando

                                    Its actually 2008 Aguijon de Abeja Malbec ( there was a typo in the Los Angeles Times Article ) Great Malbec at the price.

                                    1. re: omotosando

                                      There's a nice Prosecco at Costco for $12.....LaMarca I think. Highly rated. Very nice.

                                      Prosecco Restaurant
                                      10144 Riverside Dr, Toluca Lake, CA 91602

                                    2. I have always found good wines from Italy, Spain and Portugal at Trader Joe's for under $10.

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: senzanome

                                        Trader's Joe's has a great semi-sparking pinot grigio (frizzante) - ask them for it because I don't think it says frizzante on the bottle. And it's only $4.99. Very drinkable (with a bif complexity even.) GREAT party wine. GREAT bang for the buck.

                                        Santa Margharita has a prosecco at Pavillions for around 15 bucks if you buy 6. Gruet is a champagne style sparking from New Mexico - I think that's somewhere between 10 and 15 a bottle.

                                        Tried a couple proseccos for a party last night - liked both of them. A Camul and a Metico, both available straight from the distributor (I assume) at Guidi Marcello in Santa Monica.

                                        Around the same price, a little more.

                                        Guidi Marcello
                                        1649 10th St, Santa Monica, CA

                                        1. re: senzanome

                                          although trader joe's sells LOTS of wines for under $10, most of them are not very good.
                                          this means that you can waste a lot of money trying to identify which are good and which aren't.
                                          i've learned that it's best to go in there with a few specific recommendations rather than just flying blind.

                                          that said, a nice, simple, crowd-pleasing white wine that drinks well with or without food, that trader joe's sells for $4/bottle is the Villa Cerena Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio (60/40). I found the initial recommendation on the chowhound "wine" board and it was given to me by a wine-lover who works at a trader joe's. i've since had this wine MANY times myself and served it at parties. it WAY outperforms it's price.

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            > although trader joe's sells LOTS of wines for under $10, most of them are not very good.

                                            True. For what it's worth, two of the better cheap European reds I've tried from TJ's lately have been the Epicuro Salice Salentino for $5 and the Réserve Perrin Côtes du Rhône for $7.

                                            1. re: Bradbury

                                              I think outside of taking semi-educated shots at many of TJ's wines, if you're lucky enough to have a wine-oriented employee there, that's your best bet. I don't know if all do this, but the TJ's around the Westside usually have wine tastings for the employees. This can be a futile exercise for those staff who are not truly wine wonks, but for those who are, they are a valuable resource for making recs on the <$10 wines. I've gotten a few good recs on wines there, but most have left me wanting much more. And this is why I like places like L.A. Wine Company. They excel at offering wines that at least match if not exceed your expectations relative to price. They can't afford to have plonk in their warehouse - it's too easy to lose customers to big-box stores and TJ's.

                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                i go to both places regularly.
                                                i don't think of LA Wine Company as a wine "store," i see them more as a wine broker that has constantly changing inventory.

                                                imho at this moment they are not at all strong in the 'very cheap' segment.
                                                this is not always the case, at times they are very strong there (such as when they were offering the Two Brothers red wine --can't remember if it was a cab or a malbec-- for about $4/bttl right after the earthquake in Chile. It was a reserva (sp?) and was phenomenal for the price.

                                                at this moment, to my palate, the 2005 Renwood Zin Old Vine is the best of their low priced wines at $7bttl.

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  >>i don't think of LA Wine Company as a wine "store," i see them more as a wine broker that has constantly changing inventory.<<

                                                  I think just about all wine shops with interesting selections (or brokers as you mention) fall in this category. Aside from a few standard wines that are from the same maker and the same type of wine only with different vintages, wines in general are constantly changing. What I like about LA Wine is the fact that they weed out the stuff that they feel doesn't merit taking up space on their floor - like any reputable wine shop should.

                                                  My sweet spot for wines has already been mentioned - around $15. It just seems to open up a lot more options if one is willing to go with that as a starting price. Now if a rec for a nice wine comes in under that, then I'd obviously bite...

                                                  I was just at Bristol Farms today and forgot that they have been pushing bargain wines ever since things went flat in the economy. Lots and lots of displays for wines around $10. I'd rate most around the 88-90 point area - nothing wrong with that for the price - but maybe the OP might consider stopping by there as well.

                                            2. re: westsidegal

                                              "although trader joe's sells LOTS of wines for under $10, most of them are not very good."

                                              I agree. I gave up on them years ago - make that decades ago - when I'd buy five bottles, go home, open them up with friends and all five were dogs. When I would get a good wine from TJ, I'd go back the next day - and it'd be gone.

                                              This more recent discovery came at the insistence of a couple of friends - and I tried it and liked it. Now become my low level "house" party wine.

                                              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                I shop at Trader Joe's a couple of times a week, so I'm a fan, but have to agree that the wine selection isn't so good. It's very easy to pick up inexpensive wine there, but you're much better off finding a good wine shop that you trust and going with their less expensive selections. Although Trader Joe's does have a $5.99 Muscadet that I buy, no Pepiere or Luneau-Papin, but not bad.

                                          2. As some have mentioned, $15 is a price point worth considering - it will open up your choices (and quality/value as well). Beverage Warehouse and LA Wine are in the same warehouse complex (warehouse = lower overhead). They both carry very good selections of what you're looking for. LA Wine focuses almost exclusively on wine and they can steer you to great values at any price point. Beverage Warehouse carries a slightly larger selection - I did see at least 1/2 dozen prosseccos last weekend - but I feel the advice on wines is stronger at LA Wine. And if you choose to pick up some St Germaine, BW has that as well. The two combined are great.

                                            Prosseccos are very popular right now because they're relatively inexpensive, pair well with party food/apps/tapas and lend well to mixing. You may also consider some Spanish sparklers. They're usually the best value for sparkling wines, and you can also consider getting some sparkling rosé at or near that price point as well. IMHO, sparkling rosé more versatile with a much broader range of foods.

                                            I really like sauvignon blanc with white wine-friendly food. New Zealand producer Villa Maria offers a sauvignon blanc (Cellar Selection - Marlborough) that is probably the most amazing example of kiwi wine I've tried for the money. I picked up a case at Costco (a half a year ago?) at $15 a bottle - it's the 2009. Kim Crawford is the also readily available and I think around $12. Another wine worth considering is albarino - again, very food-friendly. They usually range from $10-20. Martin Codax or Condes de Albarei are good examples.

                                            To me, reds are a more wide open category, as reds are consumed much more than other wines; thus, a broader selection in every aspect. Are you looking for a pinot, a syrah, a cab, a blend? I think the average person thinks first to reds with heavier body like cabs, but when we have guests over, we'll ask them to bring a bottle (usually cabs, cab blends) and we offer pinot noir. As the night lingers, it seems people gravitate toward the pinots (maybe our pinots our more likeable than their cabs?). But since you'll be offering a white and a sparkler, I'd think a more robust red would work. Zaca Mesa has an excellent 2006 syrah for around $15-$17. I saw it (again) at Costco for a long time, but I believe their inventory is gone now. If interested, you can try any of the major wine shops.

                                            Beverage Warehouse
                                            4935 McConnell Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                            1. ménage à trois from Costplus does not disappoint. It's $9.99 (in your price range) and drinks like a wine thats more than double the price. You can thank me later.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: iamemmaparker

                                                i bought that wine from LA wine Co. for $7 recently and was completely underwhelmed.
                                                i know lots of other folks like it, though.

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  And to be underwhelmed at $7 says LA Wine Co had it priced right... :)

                                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                                    it's still $7 at LA Wine Co, and this week's flyer from Ralphs shows it on sale there for $8.

                                                    despite this one, there are wines to be had at LA Wine Co. priced at $7 that do taste good to me

                                                2. re: iamemmaparker

                                                  Cost Plus is way too expensive, relative to the competition, as succeeding comments have proven.

                                                  1. re: carter

                                                    although, for a long time cost plus ran unbelievable specials on rene barbier, a pleasant everyday drinker.
                                                    within the last couple of months they had a good price on their A by Acacia wines, but that special is over now too.

                                                3. a great blog to check out is goodcheapvino.com for bottles that are on sale at BevMo, CostPlus, TJ's & Costco. They sip & spit through a lot of drench so you don't have to.

                                                  oh I just read on another LA-based wineblog site about '09 Kirkland Cote du Rhone Villages (that's right Costco-branded wine). It's supposed to be very good for $7 a pop.

                                                  1. New edition of "Martin's Guide to Wine Bargains" (great publication for those who love carefully crafted wines, but not paying big bucks). Here are this month's sub $10 recommendations:

                                                    2009 Cotes du Rhone St. Esprit from Delas -- $9.99 from L.A. Wine Co. (he says Delas is one of the great producers of Cotes du Rhone)

                                                    2008 CHATEAU de VAUGELAS, CORBIERES, Estate Btld.-- $9.99 at Greenblat's Wine & Deli on Sunset Blvd. ((he describes it as fun, fruity and zesty and great with spciy food or with hamburgers or pizza)

                                                    2006 CHATEAU PUY-BLANQUET SAINT-EMILION, GRAND CRU -- $9.99 at Greenblat's (he says an astonishing price for a Bordeaux and an incredible value)

                                                    I have been to Martin Weiner's wine tastings and he has a great palate, so I trust his recommendations. His link on his website for his Bargain Wine Guide seems to be broken, but if you want to subscribe (he emails out the guide monthly), his contact info is at his website http://www.vintagewineenterprises.com...

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: omotosando

                                                      I bought the Chateau Puy-Blanquet at Greenblatt's; it's really very nice and a steal at that price. I find that, overall, Greenblatt's has very good specials. His overall prices are high, but Jeff always has several things on sale at very good prices. If you get on his e-mail list, almost everything he recommends is a real steal. I've never been steered wrong. And he doesn't send them constantly; he really tries to be selective.

                                                      1. re: perk

                                                        Just checked out Greenblatt's website. Drat, I am outside their delivery area - they deliver wine from Doheny to Highland east west and Mulholland to Melrose north south for $5.95 with a $25 minimum order. Sounds very convenient for those in the delivery zone.

                                                        Do you know what parking situation is if you drive there?

                                                        1. re: omotosando

                                                          There is a free parking lot behind Greenblatts's and with K and L

                                                    2. For a red, it's hard to go wrong with a Rosemount Shiraz. It's readily available, generally $7-$10 a bottle (depending on where you buy it) and has never disappointed. Also, it's particularly complimentary to flavors of the Mediterranean . . . tomatoes, capers, peppers, oregano, etc. We always keep several bottles around and whenever possible, buy the magnums.

                                                      1. Trader Joe's Top 10 Wine List http://jasonswineblog.com/trader-joes... (maybe about a year old, though); and Trader Joe's Classic Wines (standbys) http://jasonswineblog.com/trader-joes...

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: hpsquared

                                                          jason's palate and recommendations are top notch
                                                          he often posts on the Chowhound Wine board.
                                                          his handle is:

                                                          he is a real gem.

                                                        2. If you want a sparkler but not necessarily a Procecco - go with Poem cava. Around 9 bucks at BevMo.

                                                          Pure Evil chardonnary was my white pic for 10 bucks, but not sure if it's around anymore