Six Wines for a Cheap Drunk

What to pour when you just want to drink

 


Someone recently asked me what I drink when I just want to drink. Well, actually they asked what I drink when I just want to get drunk, which, while a slightly different question, would elicit the same answer. I love great wine, but I am happy to tell anyone who’ll listen that great wine is only great with a little bit of perspective. I frequently like a little perspective with my dinner (to steal a great line from Ratatouille!).

So, what wines give me perspective? Well, they’re usually pretty inexpensive, and frequently on the lighter side, but not always. Since almost all white wines fit that bill, I’m going to focus today on the best red wines that thrill me on the cheap! With my old world palate it’s not surprising that my list is a bit skewed, but keep reading for a few surprising suggestions.

Join the chat on Snooth

Do you have a go-to "just for fun" wine? Do you have any favorite bottles for under $15? Head to the Snooth forums and let us know. While you're there, weigh in on our Global Tasting Initiative or the best and worst names for wineries.
Sangiovese, the grape responsible for Chianti, is one of my go-to wines. A good Chianti, or even Sangiovese from California for that matter, can really hit the spot and works with the food I like to eat. I'm a big fan of salumi and preserved meats and the acid of Sangiovese is a perfect match.

Two to Try:

2006 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico

2006 Bonny Doon Ca’del Solo Sangiovese

I’m guessing that I’m not surprising anyone with my second choice. Barbera can be so fresh and fruity that I sometimes serve it with a bit of a chill. It’s one of a few grapes that I think can really benefit from a touch of new oak, but that’s certainly not a requirement. One of my favorite food and wine pairings is a nice Barbera with a plate of grilled vegetables and fresh mozzarella all drizzled with great olive oil.

Two to Try:

2007 Montevina Barbera

2007 Burlotto Barbera


Pro tip: 2007 is one of the greatest vintages ever for Barbera.

Speaking of chillable red wines, Schiava, a pale delicate wine from the Trentino/Alto-Adige regions of Italy, is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a fresh, light bodied, strawberry and herb-scented wine that is perfect for just about any casual occasion. Schiava can be hard to track down, so I’ll recommend the next best thing – Bardolino! Either wine is lovely on its own, but Schiava with Polenta, sausages and wild mushrooms is a Trentino/Alto-Adige classic! Oh, it makes me homesick.

Two to Try:

2008 Alois Lageder Romigberg Kaltersee Classico

2008 Albino Piona Bardolino


Want more? Check out Part 2: 6 More Wines for a Cheap Drunk

Two Fun Easy-Drinking Wines

2006 Bonny Doon Ca’del Solo Sangiovese
This is almost a classic Chianti blend, with the feel of a big, powerful vintage. It's got a nice tannic bite in the mouth with dark earthy undertones to the rich flavors and a burst of spice on the finish.

2007 Burlotto Barbera

In the mouth this is perfectly proportioned with deep, lively fruit, a hint of round tannin, and snappy acides. The finish is dominated by the acids but with excellent length and reverb. Super Barbera.


Mentioned in this article

Comments

  • Snooth User: solomania9
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    6331 2,961

    Love this article!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 12:08 PM


  • Agreed! This is welcomed for the day-to-day stuff! Thanks.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 12:21 PM


  • Snooth User: cidilaj
    145085 1

    I too love Barbera and Chianti for everyday drinking. There are a couple here I haven't tried so I'm running right out to find them!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 12:30 PM


  • Snooth User: SDR777
    83920 24

    Ok ...but why no price ranges and/or price estimates?
    I look for good wines (true values) under $12, (not $15-16-17 as some of these are or as you suggest in your 'just for fun'), I find some under $10 and some for even less. You list only a couple of wines under $12 in here (if they are even available to readers locally).
    I have no interest in just "getting drunk", but once the taste buds are saturated, the very best "box" wine can suffice, and can be had at an equivalent of $5/750ml (and less), and the best are not as “light” or “thin” as those you list for getting drunk on. My wife and I are nearly '1-2 glasses every day' people, but how many people really have a budget of $5,000 a year for their "everyday" wines? I'd enjoy your pronouncements more if you'd adjust your eyeglasses to some real-life demographics (even if just adjusted to the level of the well-above-average wallet).

    Apr 14, 2010 at 12:42 PM


  • So it's all Italian?
    "a bit skewed" might be a bit of an understatement...

    Apr 14, 2010 at 12:57 PM


  • Snooth User: Nicki Gig
    Hand of Snooth
    178306 4,202

    loved that Montevina Barbera. yum!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 12:58 PM


  • Snooth User: scagan
    212959 84

    As usual, the articles offer another/different opinion and remind us of options we may overlook or be unaware of. Granted some of the price ranges may not agree with everyone's budget, but then again, you are free to search for a bottle in your budget; it's the exposure to new varietals that catches me and keeps me coming back every day (sometimes more than once a day :-) ). Keep 'em coming!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 1:02 PM


  • Snooth User: Chickadee
    288237 1

    Fun article! Thanks for showing that the experts are willing to 'let go' too! And although my wallet may not be fat you definitely offered some suggestions that I will be willing to try for 'fun'!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 1:06 PM


  • Snooth User: kebohs
    347125 19

    this is great!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 1:19 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 220,960

    Ok, a couple of points are in order.

    First off, I have suggested specific wines but I am recommending Grape Varieties that YOU should try since they are frequently great deals.

    I'll write an article on Box wine soon. It's a worthy subject and one worth exploring.

    Schtroumpf, You're right. I'll start on a follow up aith more international choices for next week!

    Scagan, Thanks for chiming in. You got it!

    Chickadee, I hope you find some of these wines to your liking. they're what I drink when I 'let go', which seems to be not infrequently. Expert or not, drinking great wine can be work, and sometimes I just want to relax and have fun.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 1:24 PM


  • Snooth User: Cinemapen
    442149 124

    Great article! Thank you!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 1:25 PM


  • Snooth User: goplatt
    393283 3

    And the problem with only Italian wine is......? Gregory, you bring the wine, I'll get the pairings going. They all sounded delicious, and reminded me of our week in Siena a couple of years ago. Excellent salume, fabulous cheeses. The wine is so good and easy to drink, that 8 of us drank 70 bottles in a week. And three of us were not drinking so much. I probably should not share that information!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 1:55 PM


  • Snooth User: JMoriarty
    425278 3

    By chance I just had that "Bonny Doon Sangiovese" last week and was surprised at how nice it was with dinner and over the next few days... I had bought it at my local store on a half price sale for $6 bucks... which is how I often buy wine... Im going to look for the "Barbera d'Alba" for fun... thanks for the tip!

    By the way... Ive tried just about every box wine and by the time I get to the end of a good red one like the "Black Box Cab" it grows tiresome... the price is right at about 5 bucks a bottle but with for a dollar more and a little shopping the sales...I can have much more "fun" ...thanks for the article...

    Apr 14, 2010 at 1:55 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
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    Goplatt, sounds great! Where do you want to meet for a little Tuscan throwdown! The salumi picture is from Orvieto, but here are a few from delicious Siena! http://www.snooth.com/articles/the-...

    Jmoriarty - Thanks for the kind words. I've already got a few under $10 wines in mind for next weeks follow-up.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 2:01 PM


  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,830

    Good one, Greg. Looking forward to your non-Italian recommendations....

    Apr 14, 2010 at 2:16 PM


  • Snooth User: normi
    255617 1

    Loved this!! Thanks!!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 2:18 PM


  • Snooth User: BBQ Phil
    330232 13

    Terrific angle and insight! My wife and I enjoy Chianti and Barbera often. At the risk of lifting a line from a famous beechwood aged beer, Chianti seems to have a characteristic of "smoothness" and "drinkability"!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 2:31 PM


  • Snooth User: tamyjoyce
    453439 1

    I guess I'm spoiled with my every day drinking red wine. This week I bought 2005 La Ramillade Gigondas, 2005 Chateau Poitevin medoc Cru Bourgeois and 2006 Domaine Wardy Private Selection, all of which were just over $10 a bottle. My friends and I are always looking for great deals and needless to say all inventory on these were bought. Of course they were all great deals, but that's what I look for. Even a couple to try that are not on sale that I would suggest under $12 for every day drinking are Red Pillar Box and Jacobs Creek Reserve Shiraz.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 2:35 PM


  • Snooth User: nonyabizz
    129930 12

    We enjoy Rocca delle Macìe chianti and Sangiovese. Usually $11-$15

    Apr 14, 2010 at 3:05 PM


  • Excellent post. As a former wine rep of old and new world wines, the most important training we had was about the grape...not the vineyard. So, it is refreshing to see Bonny Doon (which I represented) and Italy's sangiovese and d'albas mentioned. With summer coming, I can wait to dig back into gewurtraminers, viogners, albarinos and a host of refreshing blends. Send me your best lychee tasting wine, and I will bring the food.
    On the reds, I am shoe leather, tobacco, barnyard nut....And how nice it would be to see some of the wine producers around the world actually put quality wine in the cask (box). There is only one detriment to the box wine, regardless of my wish for better wines...and that is that the 2 glasses per day seems to mysteriously become 3 or four...and of course, the occasional "just get a splash"...well they don't count. I remember talking to a higher up from Lyeth (I think) about box wines many years ago...and I think the industry considers it a bad avenue...but then, I distinctly remember stelvan closures (screw caps) being poo-pooed by the French...and look see...they are doing it too!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 3:08 PM


  • Snooth User: Greg Roberts
    Hand of Snooth
    100798 227

    Great post, some of my favorite wines that are inexpensive quaffers are Beaujolais wines and good dry rosé. During the heatwave of 2003 in France we must have consumed 2-3 bottles a night of freezer cooled rosé.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 3:24 PM


  • All great choices, I have no problem with Italian overload! Would also suggest '07 Louis Martini Cab, around $12 in Boston area and '07 Stonehedge Cab from Trader Joe's (about $12 also) They're bigger (and higher alcohol no doubt) than Greg's suggestions, but with bread, salami and cheese they work just fine in our house! Cheers

    Apr 14, 2010 at 3:35 PM


  • Snooth User: miami82
    262769 10

    Great article... also I would like to add that if you are on a budget, trying making your own awesome wine from Spagnol's wine kits. Total cost is 4-5$ a bottle and some of the wines I've made revial some top 20-30$ wines. I'm hoping that Snooth starts reviewing some of the wine kits out there.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 3:52 PM


  • For next week, how about a quick look at the current prices of Chilean wines...we all know they are going to go up because of the quake...but I have to believe there are still many in stock to be found. While you are at it...Argentina also has great wines...and both for low price. Malbecs are quite interesting as well. Spanish wines - another favorite, but not quite as plentiful because they don't export as much, but they do a lot more than they used to not so many years ago.
    I am not usually a huge fan of merlot, but Opollo is fabulous and for pinot noir...no one does it better than Merry Edwards. Two more faves! Don't even get me started on Shiraz and Cabs...

    Apr 14, 2010 at 3:55 PM


  • Yea, that's cool, but what about Spanish Rioja? A gazillion of those out there....

    Apr 14, 2010 at 4:04 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 220,960

    There are so many great choices out there. Where to start? I'll see if I can get them all covered but I've already outlined newt week's follow up.

    Reviewing wine kits, now that's a new one for me!

    I'll look into it though.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 4:11 PM


  • Snooth User: KIWIwines
    352690 32

    :-) Nice article!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 4:15 PM


  • Benjamin (Mendoza, Argentina) Malbec would be my choice.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 4:20 PM


  • Snooth User: Soulkeeper
    194063 10

    I don't always like what you suggest, but then that's what makes us individuals, isn't it! :) All in all, I like what you have been doing.

    My wife and I recently embarked on the adventure of making my own wine. The first is a Piesporter. I like reds and whites, but my wife likes the whites and reds sparingly. We both like Piesporter, so it became our first choice. It might be interesting and challenging to match the wine from a wine kit with a comparable purchased wine. Being able to taste a wine that would be similar to the wine a person is thinking of making would help them decide if this the one they would like to try. The purchased wine would also provide a gauge of to measure the finished wine by. Just a thought! :)

    Keep up the great work!!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 4:23 PM


  • Snooth User: Carly Wray
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    196958 852

    Now all I want is a great Barbera and two glasses! Loving this article.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 4:31 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 220,960

    Do they serve Barbera in flight? I'm sure they can get you the two glasses.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 4:34 PM


  • This actually helps with what I've been struggling with lately--trying to find good, flavorful, lighter red wines to enjoy with vegetarian, since I've been eating that way more lately. Maybe that would be a good article--red wines to pair with vegetable dishes. Especially Eastern Ethnic foods such as Chinese, Thai, Indian. Thanks for the tips!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 4:39 PM


  • Snooth User: mrchili
    420561 7

    I found a pretty good box wine at Costco, and it was an organic white blend....Badger Mountain.....it was about 15 bucks for the box and worth every penny. Last time I checked, though, they were out of it.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 4:48 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 220,960

    Hey My Vin Madame, that's a good idea and I think you'll see more of those sorts of suggestions as the weather turns warmer.

    Mrchili, I wish Costco sold wine in NY, but the best we can get is a discount liquor store attached tot he Costco. Not the same thing, but thanks for the tip about the badger box!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 4:52 PM


  • Snooth User: wineyme2
    421147 1

    Always looking for ways to enjoy more reds, and price is a deciding factor. Enjoyed the view, thanks.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 5:04 PM


  • I'm totally in agreement with SDR777. My wife and I are middle-class folks who like to have a glass or two of wine with most every dinner. Almost all the wine I buy is under $12 a bottle, and I find that by shopping carefully and looking for sale prices, we're able to enjoy some very good wines. I'm always amazed at reading professional wine writers and reviewers describe $20 and $30 bottles as "inexpensive" -- they're clearly not writing for people like me! I suspect there are a lot more folks out there who feel the same way, but who are too embarassed or intimidated to express it. How about a little more recognition and attention paid to this "silent majority", many of whom are pretty discriminating wine drinkers.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 5:16 PM


  • Love a cheap drunk or a good wine, depending

    Apr 14, 2010 at 5:16 PM


  • As a host I always like to start with "the good stuff" ($45+) and then once my pallet is satisfied switch to a yummy, lower priced wine. It saves big money at dinner parties as well. Thanks for the suggestions, I am out to buy a bottle of each!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 5:19 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 220,960

    OK, a bit about pricing then.

    I was suggesting you try certain types of wines that are inexpensive and made specific suggestions about what I drink.

    Let me repeat - What I drink.

    The wines I chose are available for the following low prices.

    $8.99
    $11.99
    $10.19
    $13.99
    $13.99
    $9.99

    You might even be able to get a discount on these if you buy by the case, mixed or solid. I don't know whether you can take advantage of these sorts of deals but I think these wines are very reasonably priced for the quality they offer.

    I am making changes to next weeks follow up piece to include some wines at lower price points though. I still stick by these reccos though. They offer great drinking at value pricing.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 5:34 PM


  • Snooth User: canto1951
    420996 63

    Have you tried a lovely blended wine from Australia called Stump Jump? Don't know when I've had a red wine that was more friendly for casual drinking. If you forget the name, it can feel like you're drinking a much more tony quaff!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 5:40 PM


  • Snooth User: duncan 906
    Hand of Snooth
    425274 1,889

    Do I detect a slight Italian bias here?

    Apr 14, 2010 at 5:53 PM


  • Snooth User: steveca
    86628 101

    One of the most outstanding buys I came across recently for about $5 was the 2007 Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles. This Paso Robles blend is 45-50% Grenache, 25-30% Mourvedre, with the balance being Syrah, Petite Sirah and six or so more grapes. It's a relatively big wine with good structure, and it would be a good buy for anywhere under $15. Actually, most of the Rabbit Ridge wines are pretty good. I've had many a nice Syrah from RR.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 6:09 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 220,960

    Hey Canto, Good call, I've tried the stump Jump, you can check out my review here.http://www.snooth.com/wine/darenber...

    Duncan, just a bit, after all it is what I tend to eat and drink. I'm hard at work on part II - The non-Italians!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 6:10 PM


  • Your article really hit the spot for exactly what I am thinking and discussing with friends right now! Affordable, quaffable reds. I look forward to the box wines article. I have been experimenting with "premium box wines" as the HEB grocery stores here in Texas call them. Black Box reds can be good - I have also tried Target Wine Cube cab sauv and merlot. Would like to try some other brands as well. I agree with Elissafeinstein, though, there is a problem with "portion control" when drinking box wines!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 6:18 PM


  • Snooth User: BenLCW
    Hand of Snooth
    173303 16

    Nice article. Lava Cap Winery has both a nice light Sangiovese and a superb 2007 Barbera (won silver at the San Francisco Chronicle Competition). However, my choice is Lava Cap American River Red 2006 - @ $15 a bottle it's easy on the wallet and tastes great. Goes with anything. And the dominant grape is barbera.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 6:49 PM


  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,830

    Well, Greg, definitely seem to have hit a chord with this thread. Going even further, would be fun to see a tasteoff of the absolutely cheapest, at some point, too. Carlo Rossi, anyone? ;-) Some of them work fine for casual drinking, and certainly for cooking and sangria. I've found garnacha from Spain at $4 a bottle that is just fine...

    Apr 14, 2010 at 7:00 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 220,960

    Thanks Cindy!

    Ben, we had the Lava Cap Barbera just last Friday nice wine but I have to agree with you. Their American River Red is really a more interesting wine. Great call!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 7:01 PM


  • In the month of March I went to Italy and stayed in the town of Greve, I stayed B & B Di Fizzano.
    Fantastic place where we can try fine wines.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 7:10 PM


  • Snooth User: winemaestro
    Hand of Snooth
    91615 4

    Hi Gregory,

    I'm all for inexpensive wine, but from an industry perspective it is best to avoid the "cheap drunk" angle. With governments around the world trying to raise taxes on wine, and the health lobby giving the drinks industry a hard time, we should at least appear to be responsible.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 7:20 PM


  • Snooth User: oliclews2
    184818 1

    Wot - no 2 buck chuck from Trader Joe. It can vary but the Cab and Shiraz are often fine plonk!

    Apr 14, 2010 at 8:01 PM


  • THE SITUATION IN BRAZIL IS THIS:
    THE VENDORS WANT TO EARN A LOT
    THE GOVERNMENT WITH HIGH TAXES

    Apr 14, 2010 at 8:15 PM


  • THE SITUATION IN BRAZIL IS THIS:
    THE SELLERS WANT TO EARN A LOT
    THE GOVERNMENT WITH HIGH TAXES

    Apr 14, 2010 at 8:16 PM


  • Snooth User: Ewen
    232417 5

    I have my cellar which includes a shelf of what I call my mid-week quaffers. With the huge wine glut in Australia I am buying cleanskin wines (the winery is not identified just the grape variety and the vintage) from South Australia - either Cab Sauv, Cab Merlot or Shiraz for an average $NZ7.99. The kiwi dollar is around .70 cents US. These are very good wines. Mostly vintages around 2006 so quite well bottle aged. Someone above mentioned D'Arenburg Stump Jump, I rate that wine as well. It sell here for around $NZ11 on special. The wines I mentioned above do not fade much from Stump Jump so you can see there are amazing bargains out there if you look for them.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 8:46 PM


  • Snooth User: sddave
    195636 1

    I'm with SDR777 and vineaste on "cheap" wine pricing. In fact, for me and my wife, a cheap (everyday) wine is more like $6-$9 per bottle. Or less.
    Not that I don't enjoy reading about more premium wines. And I also enjoy a good single malt now and then. But anyway, I wanted to give my perspective on how I quantify "cheap" wine.

    Apr 14, 2010 at 9:16 PM


  • Just tried Dan Akroyd's Cab. $10.99 with coupon from New Hamp. Liquor website. Pretty drinkable right out of the bottle, med. body, fruity yet dry, o.k. finish !

    Apr 14, 2010 at 10:51 PM


  • Snooth User: esteeco23
    279166 1

    inspiring.. love them italian wine..and men

    Apr 14, 2010 at 11:23 PM


  • I am with you on affordable everyday wines that are more than just cooking wine. I too enjoy pasta dishes and one of my current favorites to reach for is:

    D’Aquino Italian Importing Co VI.TRA - Firenze, Italy

    It runs under $8.oo in a couple of grocery stores in my area and is the best of the least expensive Chianti’s I have found.

    Apr 15, 2010 at 1:19 AM


  • Snooth User: Saimarval
    454687 3

    I am sure that the headline is meant to be funny but I felt disappointed to read it. Your reviews were interesting and well written. I feel that it portrays you as a possible alcoholic. Enjoying fine wines does not necessitate getting drunk either irresponsibly or in safe environs... You are a professional and as such I would not expect you to be getting drunk. Excuse me if I have offended you, I felt you would appreciate my feedback.
    Every good wish...

    Apr 15, 2010 at 5:57 AM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 220,960

    Thanks every one!

    If you think my selections, coming at 410-$14 a bottle were too expensive for everyday use I urge you to get out there and search around, like Flamefighter for instance. There are plenty of great Chianti's out there, and some Barberas, that can be found for less than $10 a bottle.

    I'll be following up with another article next week that will include less expensive wines.

    As far as the title, a few points.

    First of which is that wine is an alcoholic beverage and, Frankly, I doubt we would be so enthralled by it if it was not. Yes the title was supposed to be a bit funny, and yes perhaps it is a bit irresponsible, but, I for one, refuse to succumb to the level of political correctness that has us denying that we enjoy the buzz wine gives us.

    I love wine,the taste, texture, and smell. But I also love the fact that when you get a few folks around a table with several bottles the conversation flows, laughter ensues, and tension gets released. That is note due to the fine nose and exceptionally long finish.

    No that is due to the alcohol and I am always for the responsible consumption of such, but that does not preclude one from getting a little tipsy, which of course is a previous generations polite, and politically correct, way of saying drunk.

    Saimarval, you have not offended me, I hear where you are coming from and appreciate the sentiment, but in today's world were a single glass of wine can make you drunk in the eyes of the law, and believe me I do not condone nor do I encourage driving while under the influence, I think a little humor, and some honesty about the subject, are due to my readers.

    Apr 15, 2010 at 8:27 AM


  • Snooth User: Saimarval
    454687 3

    Thank you for your prompt response. I appreciate you writing to me and I knew what your response would be as I was writing to you. I am not surprised as I feel that you are viewing from a different perspective than I....Which is fine...The view can be admired from all angles.

    Alcohol is not the only thing to give one a high and whilst I enjoy a glass of wine some of the most fun parties I have attended have been alcohol free.

    I am writing to you from India where I have spent at least half of each year for the past eleven years. I receive Snooth updates by email. I will be returning to UK soon and, will know doubt, enjoy a glass of wine.

    I request you to understand my sentiments on an inner level and not simply at face value. I feel that you would benefit from this as well as I have from your point of view.

    My sentiments remain the same and would take too long to reveal here but we have the choice to bicker about this or we can cheerfully agree to disagree...

    You have been applauded by other readers as well as myself for your reviews and writing. You have an interesting and enjoyable career and I wish you continued success.

    Margaret (Saimarval)

    Apr 15, 2010 at 9:15 AM


  • Snooth User: Saimarval
    454687 3

    Excuse 'know doubt' pls x

    Apr 15, 2010 at 9:20 AM


  • Snooth User: vinolover7
    133386 23

    There is nothing wrong with Italian wines with all that food. I love it! This time of year, I do start looking for interesting Rose, usually from Bordeaux. It's a hard sell with the rest of the family they are all pretty sold on Washington Merlot blends and California Cabernet.

    Apr 15, 2010 at 10:47 AM


  • All most interesting and entertaining. Living as I do in Italy, I haven't any difficulty in finding lots of pleasantly drinkable wines at lowish prices. There are not a few villainous ones, too, but one learns to avoid them. For good white wines, with a bit of character, one has to dig a little deeper into the pocket — and I fancy that this is true everywhere, not only in Italy.
    In Burgundy last year, I stocked up with some items in the Beaujolais area (Fleurie, Chiroubles, etc.), fairly unpretentious, deliciously fruity, and costing no more than 7 euros a bottle.
    Of the Burgundy whites, Rully is reliable and not madly expensive; but it seems that, with a lot of the Burgundy wines, when they leave the area for export their prices threaten you with a bad quarter of an hour with your bank manager. Ug!
    My few experiences of being drunk were sufficiently unpleasant to teach me to eschew the condition. Nothing wrong, however, with two or three glasses a day of the divine juice.
    It does you all sorts of good.
    To add to the pleasure, time was when I used to travel down to Tuscany or Umbria, or up to the Veneto, to fill my 54-litre demijohns, then back home to bottle the wine myself. Alas, for reasons I won't bore you with, that is no longer possible. Ahimé!
    A word for keen cooks: when making a stew or braised beef (or the marvellous eel in red wine known as matelote d'anguille) it really pays to use a fairly good wine, i.e. not "basic red" from your local supermarket.
    Prosper!

    Apr 15, 2010 at 11:57 AM


  • Snooth User: ViveBene
    Hand of Snooth
    195149 252

    How long does a wine stay a favorite. Do you compare all that you drink to these 6. You mention price as a descriptor for drinkable is that right. Thanks for the update I will be looking to try some of your favs soon. As always thanks for the insights.

    Apr 15, 2010 at 12:06 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 220,960

    Hi Margaret!

    I've got no problem with what you wrote, and writing truly fails to conveys so much. I am just being a bit playful here. This, the wine business, needs a bit more of that I think. This whole idea of democratizing wine requires that we be a bit more up front about the whole issue and not hide behind archaic descriptors. Embracing the fact that wine is the world's greatest social lubricant is one of my missions. And to be honest with you the greatest times of my life have almost all been nased on a table filled with good friends and fine or fun bottles of wine.

    I wholeheartedly agree to amicably disagree with you, but in truth I'm not sure I am disagreeing. Differences in life is what makes life worth living! Welcome my friend.

    Vinolover - looking at roses is something I look forward to all winter long!

    Tomothy, so that narrows things down quite a bit. Emilia-Romagna someplace? Not a lover of Lambrusco. Only kidding. While I lived in Trentino it was unusual for friends to drive down for some Soave now and again.

    Vive bene - My favorites tend to vary a little, but not much. Price as a descriptor for drinkability, not quite following you.

    I might have been alluding to the fact that less expensive wine often is less ripe, concentrated, and marked by new oak. All factors that contribute to the drinkability of wine to my mind. Does that make sense? And thank you for the kind words!

    Apr 15, 2010 at 12:47 PM


  • Snooth User: BBQ Phil
    330232 13

    Yes! The idea to pair with lighter fare and Asian influenced dishes is a great idea. I tend to like things on the spicy side, and I have yet to feel as though I have found a good match. Also, I struggle to match well with sushi and sashimi, made more complex with a touch of salty soy sauce and and a hit of wasabi (I usually give up and just go with a little of traditional sake!)

    Apr 15, 2010 at 2:04 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 220,960

    This might be a bit of a cop out, it includes bubbles and a hint of sweetness, but Lambrusco works well with many spicy dishes.

    I've paired it with Thai basil beef and it rocks.

    Wine and sushi is a tough one that will tend to generate a lot of discord. I've found that certain wines from the Jura work particularly well with sushi but sushi present such varied flavors and intensities that it can be tough to say one wine really works with "sushi".

    Fluke, tuna, and salmon all interact quite differently with any one wine.

    Apr 15, 2010 at 3:56 PM


  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,830

    Margaret, Sai Baba?

    Timothy, check out this thread in the Snooth Forum for my encounter with said matelote:
    http://www.snooth.com/talk/topic/se...
    I did use cheaper red than what we were drinking, but 'cheap' was a very relative word in that context....

    Phil, you're not 'giving up' when you choose to go with Sake. Plenty of good stuff out there, worth a little exploration, and it will always go better with sushi across the board, not least because of that troublesome soy sauce or wasabi. 'Sushi', however, has a variety of styles and ingredients. Depending on the combination some wines can work in specific instances. Champagne or other dry sparklers have the broadest range of success, in my experience, maybe even more than Greg's Jura chardonnays, though they are a very good idea when you can find them. Both of these when Sake's not available or otherwise suited to the entire evening, that is... ;-)

    Apr 15, 2010 at 11:05 PM


  • Well done, Greg — yes, I have been domiciled in Modena for the past 40 years. However, I can't drink Lambrusco any more, because you really need to drink the whole bottle (or most of it) in one session — and cruel fate decreed that in the autumn of my life I should contract diabetes (type 2)...so, easy on the sugars. Bologna and Romagna produce some nice Sangiovese (and horrible white Pignoletto, which savours of rusty pennies — I once bottled some, only to turn it later into vinegar). Oddly enough, the flat reclaimed marshland near Ferrara now affords a drinkable Merlot. The valley of the River Trebbia, running westwards from Piacenza, makes some goodish whites (including Ortrugo, a fizzy one, just the thing for a sweltering day), with Malvasia in first place.
    Dmcker, if you care for a couple of recipes for eel, I have them — tried, tested and approved. But a real taste of absolute heaven is smoked eel, to obtain which I must drive 100 kilometres out to Comacchio on the Po Delta, with my phagocytes cheering me on like a whole regiment of majorettes.

    Apr 16, 2010 at 6:41 AM


  • Off on a tangent re the SUSHI, the best matches are chilled Sake, and if you cant get that, chilled Fino from Jerez or chilled Manzanilla de Sanlucar.
    Both the latter are nice places to visit too, and there is a USAF base at Rota, nearby, and lovely beaches in the area.

    Apr 16, 2010 at 10:23 AM


  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,830

    Timothy, yes I'd be interested in those recipes. I currently live in Japan, and eat a fair amount of eel here, though prepared quite differently. Please message me on Snooth when you can...

    Apr 16, 2010 at 6:20 PM


  • There are some great Sangiovese and Barbera wines coming out of Washington State these days. I'd look at Maryhill and some of the other Columbia wineries. Good value and great taste. Also, there are some Sangiovese rose wines that I haven't tried from these wineries. Might be interesting.

    Apr 16, 2010 at 8:56 PM


  • Snooth User: dirkwdeyoung
    Hand of Snooth
    231231 328

    I like this article and find some of the criticisms a bit silly. I like that you focus on the grape for the direction and then provide a few detailed suggestions. It is hard to count on the specific recommendations, because they are not universally available. What's wrong with going Italian when the only qualifier is "here's what I like?" To some extent the measure of a successful article is how much balanced commentary does it provoke and on that score very successful. I love those Italian varietals, but most everything else too! Vive les differences.

    Apr 17, 2010 at 9:47 AM


  • Snooth User: cjinca16
    417486 2

    Love Barbera, especially from the Sierra Foothills in California, Findleton Estate Barbeara is fantastic, reasonable priced and always good, but the 2006 is the best, if there is any left! Also, their Red Raven Estate Syrah!

    Apr 17, 2010 at 1:38 PM


  • Snooth User: thyme4ma
    304193 5

    Thanks for the great info. I usually end up with what ever is on sale. But now I have some more choices to consider. ;^)

    Apr 17, 2010 at 2:55 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 220,960

    Dirk, thanks so much for your well thought out comments.

    I appreciate the support!

    CJ,
    I've had a few great Barbera, and Sangiovese, from the Sierra foothills, and I'm looking forward to trying more!

    Thyme, keep your eyes on the discount racks, I'm sure some of these might show up!

    Apr 19, 2010 at 11:08 AM


  • I like this line of discussion. These wines are certainly fun to drink. One of my favorites is Villa Sopita Sangiovese di Puglia, Usually about $8.50- $10.00 a bottle. Great wine, small price!

    Apr 25, 2010 at 8:51 PM


  • Snooth User: toml544
    470598 1

    How about California reds for less than 10 bucks?
    Maybe throw in some Australians reds as well and compare.

    May 03, 2010 at 5:25 PM


  • Snooth User: Manoavino
    456606 227

    Great article and comments. Love cheap wine and there is so much to be found these days. Lucky us.

    May 04, 2010 at 11:38 PM


  • Snooth User: kysmet
    473820 1

    the hardest thing for me to find on any wine site. Somebody tell me a red wine that just
    tastes good.(like ripple) can't find that any more. Please NO(Has apple cider flavors as well as floral touches; honeysuckle. balanced out at 48 hours, with sweet jammy orange-apricot flavor. In the finish there are some slight piney/foresty tastes, hinting at it's origin)
    That's a description for coffee I roast. Seems wine drinkers do that too
    I would like one under $15
    Thanks

    May 07, 2010 at 11:52 PM


  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 3,258

    toml544 wanted a Cal red for under $10, so here we go: Fess Parker Frontier Red for $9 to 10. (8 at Cost Plus if you give em your phone number and email.) The Montevina Barbera is 8-9 USD at BevMoand it's a Cal wine, too--don't let the name fool you. (Good call on that one, Greg--a real fave at my house.) Cline Syrah (Sonoma) can be had for about the same at Cost Plus. Fruit forward and not super-sophisticated, but real Syrah flavor. The Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zin is a good one for 9 or so, it's a blend from 3 great Zin AVAs--reliable big Zin. It's French, but, if you haven't had it, the Cave Des Papes Cotes du Rhone at Trader Joes in the short funny bottle is quite good for $5--I suspect it is leftover from a better producer/appellation, since it's made by Ogier, according to the cork, a well-known negociant in Chateauneuf... Recently, I bought some Pinot and Syrah from "Barn 85" which is really Truchard, a premium grower in Carneros/Napa for 5 or 6 USD--if you have a Grocery Outlet near you. The Syrah was delicious, the Pinot not bad at all, esp at that price. On the white side, I cannot go without mentioning Joel Gott Sauv Blanc, also a blend of three great AVAs, hard to find, but available at Safeway sometimes ($8-9) and MAN Chenin Blanc from South Africa, $7.

    Jun 29, 2010 at 7:21 PM


  • Snooth User: normg
    40328 5

    A nice surprise: "Naked Grape". an $8 Pinot Noir from Ca. that I found at our local Hannaford's.

    Sep 22, 2010 at 3:39 PM


  • Snooth User: Marsan
    586480 1

    An interesting collection of comments and opinions. Naturally, where taste is concerned, there is bound to be considerable disagreement. Among those who really know their wines and have had the opportunity to taste a wide range from very expensive to inexpensive, there is still disagreement. Still, I think there is a tendency for wine drinkers who are not experienced to think that their preference for a wine that most experienced drinkers would not be impressed with, should have great weight.
    Unpleasant as it may be to acknowledge, drinking wine and becoming discerning about it takes time and education. I think one's palette changes significantly over time as it is exposed to different flavors.
    But the subjective factors are also strong: if you lived or visited Italy and had powerful experiences with friends, family or whatever, the flavors of chiantis, or barberas, or nebbiolos become linked with those experiences, and every time you drink those wines some of those memories enhance the experience.
    And even equally experienced wine drinkers simply have their preferences which they cannot really defend, except as their preferences.
    I, for example, really like the Italian style of wine making with high acidity and tannins, little oak, geared for drinking with food. For me, even a mediocre Italian wine is likely to be at least inoffensive and drinkable whereas a comparable wine from California or Australia is likely to be undrinkable. This is a question of style. Many producers around the world, even in their cheap wines, think that adding strong oak flavors, residual sugar and reducing tannins and acid makes a desirable wine.
    There are California producers making Syrah that have never even heard of, let alone tasted, the classic Northern Rhone wines. They don't even see the point! This is embarrassing. If you want to know how a varietal ought to taste, start with the place in which it has been grown and made into wine for centuries. It is probably very good, the product of much experience. Then, you have a point of reference for experiments elsewhere....
    Personally, I am interested in native varietals and have little interest in Italian Merlots, or Greek Cabernet Sauvignon, etc. These countries have their own delicious varietals. If you have no tradition of wine production then naturally you will have to imitate other countries that do until you find your own way.

    Sep 22, 2010 at 5:41 PM


  • Snooth User: steve3060
    179203 1

    OK so you like Italian wines. Couple of others - 2009 Shaya Old Vines Verdehjo, '07 Martini Cabernet - both should be about $13.

    Sep 23, 2010 at 8:39 AM


  • Snooth User: steve666
    392767 154

    CA has so many cheap good wines for under $10 it is amazing, and some of the best sangio in the 20-25USD range. Costco sells Louis Martini cab, from Sonoma, which I prefer to the Napa, for 10.99 -- lay it away for a few years and it gets much better.... it is a good cab. Trader Joes has lots of good wines in the $5-10 range including some rieslings from germany that are great for the price.

    Mar 23, 2011 at 4:09 AM


  • thanks for the help. the choices are overwhelming and it's easy to go astray.

    Jun 01, 2011 at 5:17 PM


  • Snooth User: wstark
    449183 1

    You guys must be kidding.....a gallon of Gallo California red...at $4...a loaf of garlic bread from Safeway and a ton of sliced salami.....now that's a $10 cheap drunk night out. BillyB

    Jun 22, 2011 at 7:24 AM


  • Snooth User: JayCee84
    951555 4

    Anyone know where I could buy a pineapple, banana, peach wine??

    Oct 12, 2011 at 8:50 PM


  • Snooth User: Terry191
    1176610 19

    Have you tried Frontier Red 9.99 a bottle, Really pretty good, My wife loves the Black Box Chard. 19.99 Hot buttered garlic bread MMMMMMMMMMMM

    Jan 10, 2013 at 5:28 PM


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