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Best place to find Italian Wines in LA or OC... inexpensive please help!

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Hi chowhounds!

I'm having an Italian theme party for about 25 people and we are mostly wine drinkers
I would like to find somewhere in LA or OC that I can buy good drinkable red Italian wines for about $10 a bottle ... (a bit more or less) less is better.

Any suggestions where to go?
Any particular wines also would be helpful.

Thank you in advance!

Yesi

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  1. Wine Expo in Santa Monica is known for its selection of Italian wines. The $10 or less price range, I'm not sure about - a Chianti maybe?

    1. Tough price point.

      KL is all out of their 2010 Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo @ $17.99 or that would have been my first recommendation. Great stuff slightly chilled.

      Winex in Orange has good prices and some interesting stuff from $17-$20.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Porthos

        Thanks to both!
        Yeah it's a tough price point for sure! Would it be acceptable to serve say a malbec with Italian food? Since my theme is Italian.... But I rather serve a good malbec then a mediocre Italian, right??

      2. trader joes has a number of italian wines at that price point.
        that said, i'd guess that the majority are not drinkable

        2 Replies
        1. re: westsidegal

          Trader Joe's wines are pretty subpar, as a general rule- I'm in the wine business, and I can find a good bottle there if need be out of the sea of mediocre juice but the discount prices on the good stuff are not as discounted as they seem.

          1. re: jdwdeville

            i'm in FULL AGREEMENT with you on this jdwdeville.
            there are only a couple of wines that i get consistently from TJ's:
            they are white, summery, non- offensive wines that work well for large gatherings made up of people who are not chowhounds nor (is this even a word?) winehounds.

            the last red i got from them was Tribunal.
            that's about it for the reds.

        2. From a wine biz insider: Try out Wine House on Cotner near the 405. Stick to non-premium Italian regions/wines (i.e. a biodynamic Orvieto from Sergio Mottura for white and a Primitivo or Nero d'Avola for red) and you ought to be paying $9-12 for some good stuff.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jdwdeville

            I love wine house. Great selection, too.

            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

              Yea....wine house has lots of options. Good prices.

          2. Costco

            4 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              Thanks!! I'll check out Wine house!
              If I don't find anything good in my price range, would it be acceptable to setbe a good malbec?? Even if it's not Italian? Since my theme is Italian food... What do u think?

              1. re: yesilovestotravel

                Start off the party with copious amounts of negronis and then move to a half-decent primitivo or nebbiolo as suggested above. If people have a couple (or four) cocktails first you can lower the number of bottle you need to serve with dinner.

                Leave the Malbec on the shelf and stay on theme!

                1. re: yesilovestotravel

                  I agree w the above. Skip the Malbec. Stay out of Tuscany (unless it's Rosso di Montepulciano) and likely Piedmonte- these marquis areas command pricing premiums. There are great options in the Veneto, Abruzzo, Lazio, and Apulia that are relatively undiscovered still...
                  You could even consider Alto Adige for some low end beautifully crisp whites.

                  1. re: jdwdeville

                    omg, thanks a million!! to all!
                    this really helps me narrow it down... I'll stay on theme and check out wine house and the "undiscovered" regions/wines.

              2. I agree about Wine Expo, they focus on Italian wine and will have interesting things at that price point.

                1. Wine House on Cotner in West LA is usually a good bet.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Thor123

                    Wine House on Cotner and Wally's on Westwood would have a good selection. The staffs at both places are very knowledgeable.

                    Also, Wally's is currently having a sale on Italian wines through the tomorrow, the 15th. There are some wines in the $10-$15 range, and I saw several under $10. If you worked with the staff, they could probably help you come up with a nice collection of Italian's that average $10 per bottle.

                  2. I've had a lot of luck finding very good reasonably priced Italian reds at K&L like Porthos mentioned. Some of the ones I think would be right at the $10 range
                    Fontanafredda Barbera Piemonte "Briccotondo
                    I had a Montelpuciano but can't remember the name.

                    We bought our wine for our wedding at the K&L near the Arclight in Hollywood. If you have some time go there and speak with one of the employees. They will let you taste wines in the back cellar room before you decide to buy. We ended up buying 3 mixed cases of white and red wine after doing a tasting.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: js76wisco

                      I had a good $10 barbera from K&L. Wine House has an even larger selection. If you get to K&L or Wine House, and explain your needs, I'm sure they will point you in the right direction. No need to do Malbec, there are plenty of Italian bottles at the price point. (As for Trader Joe's, there are definitely "drinkable" cheap Italian reds, they aren't awesome, but I certainly buy them for my non-special table wine. The D'Aquino line is pretty gross though.)

                      1. re: js76wisco

                        Thanks!
                        I'll try both wine house & K&L... hopefully i can come out with a good wine within my price range.. I like the idea of a cocktail before hand!

                        1. re: yesilovestotravel

                          You will definitely find good choices @ LA Wine Company-- 4935 McConnell Ave #8 (just south of Culver in Venice/Marina). Tell them what you're looking for & your price range; the staff is very knowledgable & will give excellent recommendations. Their wine is heavily discounted; they should have a good selection of Italian in the $10--$12 range. Agree w/ above recommendation for Nero D'Avola, Primitivo, etc.

                      2. No one has mentioned Silver Lake Wine?
                        They will be able to help you.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: cls

                          Thanks archer and cls!
                          Now I have too many options! LOL how to choose... Im wishing to go to one and if I'm not "feeling" anything in particular, I'll go on to another one... But I don't want to be all over town , I live in Downey so all the places are a drive away anyways, so I'll have to go this saturday... I want a place with a larger selection of inexpensive Italian wines... I've been looking at the suggestions I guess it would be wise to call first each one, right?
                          I very much appreciate all the CH help! There's so many Italian regions and variety of grapes it's confusing to say the least! Thanks again CH!!

                          1. re: yesilovestotravel

                            I find SLW pretty pricey, fwiw. Was at Wine House today and saw multiple options in the $9.99-13 range... there is usually their Italian buyer there, too, so you can ask questions.

                            1. re: yesilovestotravel

                              Go to the Wine House. It has a large selection of Italian wines and the employees are very knowledgeable.

                              Here is a link to their list of Italian wines (hopefully ordered low-to-high in terms of price): http://www.winehouse.com/result.php?o...

                            2. re: cls

                              I was going to suggest Everson Royce in Pasadena, but remembered that they are run by the folks at Silver Lake Wine. Give them a call to see if they have what you need if Pasadena is a reasonable trek for you! http://eversonroyce.com/

                            3. BevMo has a large selection that meets your criteria.
                              While many are rated by their in-house expert Wilfred Wong, I think they still have a wide range of modestly priced Italians from various regions that would meet your needs.

                              In our wine club the price ceiling is $20, which makes it a lot easier to find. BevMo's 5 cent sale can help also.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: suvro

                                Thanks! I think I'll check out wine house and k&L ... I usually go to bevmo for their 5c sell when they have great prices on malbecs my favorite for value wines... But for Italian wines, I'm not very knowledgable so I don't like that most of the reviews are from w Wong... Kinda hard to trust reviews from a person who wants you to purchase a certain wine because they have to get rid of it, ya know.. LOL

                              2. Bay Cities has a pretty good selection. $10 a bottle? I don't know about that.