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Jul 11, 2014 12:20 AM

Help picking Wine?

I want to bring a bottle of wine back for my boyfriend's family. I do not know anything about alcohol at all except red or white. They are chinese and their family usually eat white meat and seafood. Any recommendations? My budget is $25 and I want to buy the best napa valley wine for that price and that can be usually found at whole foods or target..

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  1. The best will never, ever be found at Whole Foods or Target. Ever.

    4 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      Untrue about Whole Foods at least here in Los Altos or Cupertino. Sure you won't find first growth Bordeaux but there is a lot of excellent local wines and decent European wines available (Costco here also has a good selection but it depends which Costco you go to)

      I would suggest going with a white or rose/blush wine. Each store is so different it is hard to say what you should get. If they are serious wine people I'd go to K & L, North Berkeley wines etc. . If they are not, I would pick up something recognizable eg Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay Rieslings. If you can find the Matua Sauvignon Blanc it comes at a good price and is enjoyable.

      1. re: goldangl95

        decent, yes.

        "the best", not a prayer.

        At least at WF you *might* get someone with enough product knowledge to make a good suggestion -- won't happen at Target.

        1. re: sunshine842

          Whole Foods carry Ridge, Kathryn Kennedy etc. You make it sound like they are not carrying some of the best all around producers in CA.

      2. re: sunshine842

        With a $25 budget, I feel there's a very good chance of finding the "best" in that category at our local Whole Foods stores. When's the last time you browsed the selection at SF's California St store, for example?

      3. You should start by asking your boyfriend about his parents' preference. I have teenagers who've known forever that our preference is red wine :)

        Also, you don't have to rely on Target & WF. Couple of great places to buy good wines at decent prices are K&L Wines in SF & Peninsula & Artisan Wine Depot in Mtn. View. In Berkeley, we really like the light, fun wines of Broc Cellars.

        1. See if you can get a Navarro Gewurztraminer (not Napa).

          16 Replies
          1. re: wolfe

            Does Navarro sell their wines retail now?

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Navarro sells wholesale only to restaurants, but bottles occasionally show up at wine bar / restaurants with retail sales. The Barrel Room has some.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                They also can be found retail at Mill Valley Market, grandfathered in from being a forever customer.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Navarro sells their wines at Farmer's markets. I have bought them in Kensington.

                  1. re: wally

                    Interesting. Looks like it's actually the Pennyroyal Farm dairy that sells them. Same family.


                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      The way it works is you purchase your wine via web or phone from Navarro. Then you can arrange to have Pennyroyal bring it to your farmers market for pick up.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        We where given tastes of a couple Pennyroyal cheeses last fall when we were at the Navarro tasting room in Anderson Valley. Quite good, the cheese is worth checking out too.

                        1. re: pamf

                          Yes, Pennyroyal's cheeses are good and have become more interesting over the past year. Here's more about them on the Cheese Board,

                          Edited to add: Some Pennyroyal cheese + Navarro dessert wine would be a good choice for the OP to take back. Delicious and a nice story behind them.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            The Pennyroyal Cheese Farm to Table program provides some excellent cheeses and just recently a wonderful tasting. We had a morning and afternoon comparison cheese from the same group of goats and sheep, interesting and detectable difference.

                        2. re: Melanie Wong

                          I walked up and she told me she had wine for sale. I bought rose. I had no contact previously.

                          1. re: wally

                            I've just looked at Kensington market's webpage, and it does indeed list Pennyroyal as selling cheese and Navarro wine on Sundays.

                            Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market May 24 blog entry says Navarro sells wine at its Saturday morning market.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              I can also confirm that Navarro is available at Kensington. I just picked up the gewertz. I was hoping for the rose, but they were sold out, more to come next week. And they accept credit cards via a tablet-based point-of-sale system. The receipt was in my email box when I got home.

                              1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                When I was there around 1:00 they had ros├ę, Chardonnay, Gew├╝rztraminer, Pinot Noir, and one other wine. They said they have wine every week at that market.

                      2. re: wally

                        I picked up some verjus from the Pennyroyal stand at the Healdsurg farmers market two weeks ago but they were just selling that and the grape juice, not wine.

                        1. re: sunnyside

                          At the Healdsburg Saturday market the Pennyroyal staffer said that I could arrange for delivery of Navarro wine purchases. I've had friends pick up wine they'd ordered from the winery at the Santa Rosa farmers market.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Ahh, good tip. I usually order when they have their one cent shipping deals for a case, but that's good if you want less than that.

                  2. I think you'll get more for your money at K&L and they have knowledgeable staff who can help you pick from the 400 or so California wines they have in that price range.


                    You'll also get more for your money by going with wine from an appellation less famous than Napa, such as Russian River, Alexander Valley, or Sonoma.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      2011 Ravenswood "Teldeschi" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel


                      Good luck,


                      1. re: boopa

                        That's 15.5% alcohol and will overwhelm some palates. The 2011 Dashe Dry Creek might be a safer choice.

                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Agreed, cgxy96 - I would just go to K+L and repeat what you said here. One of their wine experts will help you out.

                      3. Are they chinese in china?

                        The wine made in china has improved from filth to poor. It is unlikely any parents in china, unless they are wealthy enough to eat and drink at high end places in major cities, have ever had drinkable wine.

                        If this is the case, you should consider the following web page & providers:


                        America, in the 60's, was an upstart like China is now. And still, it triumphed, and there's even a movie. A low end wine from any of these providers is still excellent and would make a great story - and that would be a better value than a $25 bottle of "something from napa".

                        I see BevMo has a Sonoma Ridge on sale for about $25.

                        If boyfriend's parents are regular wine consumers, and know some things about wine, then you're best off with some of the other recommendations here.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bbulkow

                          The Ridge Three Valleys Sonoma Zinfandel could be a good choice. K&L has both the 2011 ($20, $5 cheaper than BevMo) and 2012 ($22).