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Aug 13, 2012 05:49 PM

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

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!


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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

     house has lots of options. Good prices.

            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.