Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Apr 2, 2014 11:39 AM

Best inexpensive wine?

What is the best yet inexpensive wine? I like earthy wines, and my go-tos are pinot grigio or chianti. I am on a college budget but don't like wine that doesn't taste good, any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Seven Deadly Zins. It's an earthy red zinfandel that sells for under $15.

    1. Bota Box Old Vines (California grapes) Zin works out to $5/bottle

      2 Replies
      1. re: kagemusha49

        Their 2012 Shiraz (CA) is also drinkable at the same price.

      2. Your question is really impossible to answer.

        However, if you like chianti, I would try the Falesco Vitiano Rosso and the Banfi Centine wines. The former should be available for under $10 and the later might sell in the $10-$12 range.

        Bogle in California produces pretty good red wines that are usually available for $10 or less (at least in California). Try their Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Cabernet to see which one you like best.

        1 Reply
        1. If you're still in Pennsylvania, WineSearcher shows Di Majo Norante is on sale there for $12 a bottle. This is made from sangiovese, which is the primary grape in Chianti.

          11 Replies
          1. re: SteveTimko

            Hell, if you're in PA, go up to Happy Valley. They win awards in worldwide competition, and prices start from about $9 a bottle.

            1. re: Chowrin

              Perhaps, but you'd still be drinking French-American hybrids and/or V. labrusca blends . . . .

              1. re: zin1953

                they also do pure raspberry wine. I definitely recommend.

                1. re: Chowrin

                  If I'm in the area, I'll do that, but Oak Knoll's Raspberry Wine (Oregon) was once described to me by a legendary Napa Valley winemaker as "the Chateau Lafite of Fruit Wines," and I've never found a reason to disagree with that assessment -- it's stunning!

                  1. re: zin1953

                    Thanks for the tip! The Happy Valley people serve Portland-style wines (it's where they retired from, I believe) -- I love the perfect balance between sour and sweet.

                    ... then again, I love sour cherries.

              2. re: Chowrin

                The Pennsylvania Farm Show and Finger Lakes International Wine Competition don't exactly constitute worldwide competition.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I'd say that depends on the category, wouldn't you?
                  Can you name me some good Concords that aren't stateside?

                  1. re: Chowrin

                    To me, "they win awards in worldwide competition" means the awards they won were up against wineries from around the world. Their Pinot Grigio and Riesling have apparently not yet won any awards.

                    The best V. labrusca wine I've ever had was a sparkling Clinton in the Veneto.

                    1. re: Chowrin

                      Can you name some good Concords?

                      1. re: zin1953

                        Well, Happy Valley's Appalachian red is certainly to my taste (it has a bit of blackberry mixed in, which adds a good overtone to the general sweetness of Concord).

                        My husband calls it Appalachian Jug Wine, which is probably true (and perhaps indicative of my utter lack of "taste" in wine), but it's a fine example of the style (and done with actually clean equipment, which is often hard to find. Half the Catawba's I've tried have contained toxic molds etc).

                        Finger Lakes had a whole category for Concord wines, the winners are probably all good.

                        1. re: Chowrin

                          >>> Happy Valley's Appalachian red is certainly to my taste <<<

                          And THAT is all that counts! ;^)

              3. Further to what DavidT already posted, this is a frequent sort of question on the Internet (more on that below), with constant threads on Chowhound, available by search. Another recent thread touching the same subject:


                Now: Wine has been an active public discussion topic on the Internet for over 30 years (i.e., since long before Chowhound, and before most people had ever heard of the 'net). Here from memory is something I posted to such a thread about 25 years ago and dang, it still holds!

                Good Riojas and Chianti-Classicos have sustained poor but astute graduate students in a state of estimable gastronomy, even as their higher-income but less-knowledgeable peers paid top dollar for the privilege of consuming wines advertised on TV, or more recently, deemed officially hip by Robert Parker or the Wine Spectator.

                Allan Tobey once added "As we didn't quite say in the 1960s, wine will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no wine."