Inexpensive wine recommendations
My wife and I will be passing through the Calgary/Red Deer area next month. We would like to stock up on wine for our return trip to BC.
We'd like to get some recommendations on wines (red or white) in the $8-$15 dollar range that we can purchase either from Costco or Superstore.
Share your favorite cheap and cheerful libations
Not so much wine specific rec's as what to do to find them:
1. Check out the weekly ads in the Herald online. You will almost always find weekly ads for Superstore and Co-op, and usually Willow Park. Once you see what is on sale, and in your palate zone,online research is pretty easy. Willow Park usually has sales on a broader range of grape varieties, and vintners than the others, Superstore usually will offer greater value.
2. Check the websites for Liquor Depot, Sobey's Western Cellars, Olympia, and Solo for their intermittent flyers. Then research. Be aware that Sobey's offer's an extra 10% discount on most Tuesdays.
3. Generally good value can be found in NZ Sauv Blanc's, Aussie wines, and Chilean. I notice that Wolf Blass varieties and various NZ Sauv Blancs go on sale often in the $10-12 range, to me very good value.
4. Costco sometimes matches the sale prices of other stores, sometimes not, in the sub $15 range. I find their wines in the $15-20 and above to be particularly good value, and usually accompanied by a review by the Dictator or some other snob.
Bottom line though is that pretty much any wine bought here will be less than BC pricing.
Why not try some local wine? I like the fruit wines from Field Stone. They sell at a couple of farmers' markets in Calgary and you can taste test before buying.
I have found that BC wines are mostly cheaper in BC so stay away from those.
My super cheap Italian pizza wine I find at Willow Park Liquor store is Mezzomondo Negroamaro, it is under 10$ in BC, I found it in AB for around 8$.
At Costco look for Urban Maule Chile wines. should be under $15.
I was at Costco Beacon Hill this past weekend and picked up Catena Malbec (my goes-with-spaghetti big(er) red) for $13.19. For another inexpensive red, I go for Liberty School ($14-$15). At SS I recommend Guigal's Cote du Rhone (again $14-$15). IMO if you're getting under the $12 mark, you're headed for the likes of Apothic and getting a lesser product for not much less $.
I find the staff at Costco Beacon Hill (Liquor store) is exceptional. Lee (in particular) and Ron are insightful and helpful. My standard question of them when they ask if they can help me find something is "what do you have today that is worth than what you're charging?" With a few parameters mixed in such as varietal and price, those guys "get it". The stock at Costco is switched up often so new options are available. Lee will certainly be able to tell you that Brazin for example is $21 but is worth, or is similar to, another that is $35. With only a few exceptions, I generally agree with him. He will also tell you that Gnarly Head "isn't terrible". He's honest, and I like that. The staff at SS (Country Hills) however "is terrible". I'm not entirely sure they've ever consumed vino.
Re: Seghesio's Zins, they start at $20.99 so sadly outside of the range the OP asked for. Don't get me wrong, it's still good value. Brazin for $20.99 at Costco is another great value and has become a standby at our house.
Ditto for Costco. Living close to High River we usually buy wines at Okotoks Costco. Excellent knowledgable staff, good pricing. Seghesio zin is a regular buy & occasionally, Brazin. The Kirkland Zin is also good but we haven`t bought it for awhile so it may not be available at this point.....you know Costco!
They have lots of decent wines in the $12-20 range so you shouldn`t have a problem.
Here are some cheap, cheerful wines I am enjoying, and yes, that is President's Choice NZ SauvBlanc, usually $11.99 got it on sale for $8.99; watch the flyers at the Coop, and Superstore, here is the Herald link;
Here is the Sobeys link
and Liquor Barn:
I have to say, two of my favourite stand bys are Graffigna and Trapiche Reserve, both Argentina Malbecs. G is usually on sale once every few months somewhere in the city for a super cheap $8.99, which is a steal for what I consider a great tasting Malbec
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions....
We went with what we knew..
Apothic ($11 vs $17 in BC), Santa Margherita ($12 vs $20 in BC) and Luigi Bosca ($12 vs $18 in BC)
Also, for the record single malt scotches were significantly cheaper in Alberta. We saved, on average, $25 per bottle.
On our $850 booze run to Alberta we saved $450.