Wine Talk

Snooth User: chooki666

Looking for Suggestions: Best wines under $15

Posted by chooki666, Feb 11, 2011.

I usually buy wines priced from $9-$13 and I'm wondering if anyone has some favorites in this price range.  I'll try any type of wine.  Thanks!!

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Reply by outthere, Feb 11, 2011.

Cline Sonoma County Zinfandel - Around $12

McManis Petite Sirah - $8-10 Outstanding value

Great Oregon Wine Company 

  1. Rascal Pinot Noir $8-10 Great Daily Drinker
  2. Rascal Pinot Gris $8-10

Stone Wolf Pinot Gris $14

Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Feb 11, 2011.

Chateau Haut Rian Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend.  Crisp, great food wine.  Probably around $12 retail.

Reply by sjmiddlebrook, Feb 11, 2011.

Here are 3 wines with retail prices under $13 that were all included in the wine spectator's 2010 top 100 list:

  1. Rioja Crianza
  2. Albariño Rias Baixas
  3. The Stump Jump Red



Reply by dmcker, Feb 11, 2011.

If you want to sample what Chile has to offer in the $10-$14 range, from chardonnay through rose made from syrah to cabernet sauvignon and carmenere, you can try those from Chono available here.

You could also try K&L Wines, then search for those under $10, like I did here. Just on the first page I'd go for the:

2009 Andezon Côtes du Rhône  

2009 Perrin & Fils "Reserve" Côtes du Rhône 

2007 Masi Serego Alighieri Bello Ovile (Elsewhere $16) 

2007 Mas Que Vinos "Ercavio" Roble VdT de Castilla (Elsewhere $13) 

I'd probably also go for the chardonnay from the Loire there. Both the Bodegax Lan crianza and the Stump Jump from above are also on that page, though I'd consider the

2006 Penfolds Limited Release "Koonunga Hill Seventy-Six" Shiraz-Cabernet South Australia

if I was looking at the Stump Jump.

Reply by spikedc, Feb 12, 2011.

Hi chook,

Casillero del Diablo Cab  (Chile) around $12

Reply by dmcker, Feb 12, 2011.

Was running out of time in that last post, but to amplify on what I was trying to get across, you should try a few examples of various types of wine, e.g. Cotes du Rhone, Australian shiraz, and Spanish tempranillo as I suggested or Oregon pinot noir, zinfandel and petite sirah as Outthere did. Ditto for the others.

That way you'll get a feel for that type of grape and wine style rather than just through one example. Then when you find a grape and style you like you can explore further in that area. And when you have both more scratch and confidence coming from knowledge, you'll know where to spend larger amounts of money to your greatest pleasure.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 12, 2011.

There's a whole thread about wines under $14, I think.  Have to dig back, but you can search.  Adding to spikedc, I would recommend the Casillero del Diablo Carmenere, and I think you can get both the Cab and Carmenere in the states for under $11 at Trader Joe's.  I think the Perrin Reserve CdR is okay, but it doesn't wow me like it does others.  But there are many CdRs in addition to that, also Cotes du Ventoux (Delas makes one), at under $15 that are really good. GregT could give lots of recommendations on the Spanish side, but I will say that Protocolo has been popular in the Bay Area, and with good reason:  It's very pleasant for about $8. There are other bargains in the Spanish world, but I've bought for variety and can't speak much for reliability.   I also picked up two bottles of a Rioja at Beverages and More the other day, $11 for the first bottle, 5 cents for the second, and it was tasty, but I can't remember the name.

On the California side, I like Fess Parker Frontier Red as a table wine (don't laugh--in addition to being Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, he was a serious force in Cal winemaking), Montevina Amador County Barbera (great pizza wine), Liberty School Paso Robles Cab (second label of something fancier), Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zin (one of the few "Cali" designated non-sub-AVA wines I drink, because the blend is from three good AVAs), and, in some years, on the white side, Joel Gott Cali Sauv Blanc.  (2008 was better than 2009.) All of these are regularly available under $10. Cline has a Sonoma County Syrah that's good, although a bit of the too-much-fruit school, and it can be found under $15 easily.

None of these are going to make you forget a top-notch, or even $35, Napa Cab or Dry Creek Zin, but we're not talking birthday bottles here.  Quality will vary a lot from year to year, and certain varietals are not usually going to come in at these prices and any quality.  Pinot Noir is tough at this price, although some like the Poppy bottlings.  Castle Rock is a negociant that had a really good Monterey County Pinot a few years ago, but when I tried a subsequent year, nowhere near as good.  That's because they aren't controlling the vineyard, so their product might vary a lot, unless they can buy enough different grapes to do a "cuvee," or house style.  But that's not how negociants at that level work--they are buying opportunistically on price.  It might be as good, and really different, or they might have had to settle for what grapes they could get to keep their distribution channel full.  

Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 12, 2011.

Okay, the Rioja was Antano, also available for 10.99 at K&L.  Really tasty.  If you go to the K&L site, ignore the user review who says it drinks like a $40 wine.  It doesn't.  But at $11, it's completely solid.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 12, 2011.

Take that, back it's 9.99 at K&L.  Still a better deal at BevMo, but get it where you can.

Reply by dmcker, Feb 12, 2011.

Not sure where chook is located, but those two online merchants (with realworld storefronts attached) I recommended are very useful in a one-stop-shopping way--NorthBerkeley being much smaller but still offering a decent and interesting range of Chilean at the price, K&L always having good prices and a very wide selection.

I'm not a huge Perrin fan either, and find their more expensive offerings (even in CA) hit-and-miss, and I tend to favor CdR with larger proportions of syrah in them. Thus the other one I included. Hell, the Guigal CdR probably outdrinks them both, and should be findable below $15.

The multiple-options-for-each-region/style approach is a good one until a decision is reached about continuing in more depth in it, or leaving for more desirable climes. I particularly wanted to throw in European options since they're generally better bang for the buck at that level these days, and I thought others might step in anyway about the Californians or Washingtonians (which are still underrepresented here).

Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 12, 2011.

dmcker--I think there's a good amount of tasty lower priced California wine, but it's true that a huge amount of CdR, just for one example, is good in the lower ranges if it makes it to the states.  I think the Yank who drinks wines not just from Cali is more discerning than the Yank who drinks only US/Cali wines, so importers don't bother with the bad wines made over there.  Plus their home consumer has a longer history of drinking wine and there's probably not a big market for sub-par wine, so why even try to make stuff at the level of Knottage Head/Yellow Stripe/Two Buck Regurg?  Sorting out the lower priced Cali wines is tough, but you were correct that someone here would be up to the task, and your input on (esp.) French wine is well beyond most any, so you are right to highlight that.

And you are right that WA is again underrepresented here.  There's such an embarassment of riches in California that a lot of locals here, like myself, will drink Euro wines to better understand the origins of what we have here, but ignore WA wines.  I have bought some successfully and have been given others by my sister who lives up there, but my lack of knowledge (and even opinions) is pretty glaring.  Where's someone from the northwest when we need him?  (Besides enjoying a glass of Layer Cake Malbec, I mean.)

Reply by outthere, Feb 12, 2011.

"...I thought others might step in anyway about the Californians or Washingtonians (which are still underrepresented here)"

One might think those were naughty words here. I have found so many California wineries making exceptional wines that I have not ventured out much. I've always wondered if it was that Snooth only attracted those who like other than US wines or if people are just trying to impress everyone with their "knowledge".

Not trying to

just wondering out loud.



Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 12, 2011.

I also want to endorse another point of dmcker:  Try a bunch of offerings from a region at the lower/middle end of the price spectrum and go up from there, especially when you can get some good recommendations and avoid the bad examples on a site like this.  Also remember that some vintages the wine in a region can be really good down to the lower priced things, others not so much.  I was loving a certain very cheap ($5 bottle!) negociant CdR from the 2007 vintage.  Lots of growers had lots of grapes the Ogiers could buy.  Other years?  Not so good.  Same for the Joel Gott Sauv Blanc--2008 was great, 2009 just okay. 

One last good inexpensive wine, this time white:  MAN Chenin Blanc, form South Africa, a place where chenin does well.  $7 or so. 

K&L is always a good place to start, just because you can research so easily.  But never forget the great resources often behind the counter at your specialist wine shop nearby.

Reply by JonDerry, Jun 11, 2011.

On the Spanish Tempranillo side, just tasted a great $9 bottle last night.  Was at the shop to finally try a bottle of 05' Fleur Cardinale Bordeaux, and picked up an 09' Tres Picos (which also qualifies for under $15), and an 04' Anciano Valdepenas Tempranillo Reserva.  Tasty sweet and sour fruit, with soft oak and moderate tannins, a beauty. 

Reply by zufrieden, Jun 11, 2011.

Outthere, you're not really out there for, I agree that you don't need to go outside of even one AVA to get the juice that hits the spot.

However, for fun let's say that Perrin et fils Rasteau (2007) is perfect at the 15 dollar price - easily a 3.5 to 4 cup selection by snooth standards.  No offense to the Cali crowd; just a personal favorite.


Reply by dmcker, Jun 12, 2011.

Don't see why that's necessarily a can of worms, outthere. You are in a prime position to know what's cutting edge good in Napa, Sonoma, etc. these days and I'm not. It's a much smaller subset of what you encounter that gets to me over here, and the price has often doubled.

Many bottles I do encounter over here these days in the lower-to-medium range of CA bottles are too soft and amorphous for my tastes, with not enough cut. Etc. (could go on at length)  Not all, of course, and CA remains one of my favorite sources for wine.

I have spent a lot of time in Europe (France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, others, pretty much in that order), and drinking European wine wherever I am, though, and this has greatly affected my sensibilities.

Reply by DEBarbie, Jun 13, 2011.

Colona Las Libres Bonarda, Mendoza Argentina about $8.  YUM

Reply by 1rockiesfan, Jun 13, 2011.

Just discovered the Mcmanis Zin...WOW! its really good!

Reply by outthere, Jun 15, 2011.

Sherman & Hookers Shebang! 4th Cuveé

An offering by Morgan Peterson of Bedrock Wine Co which utilizes a blend of the wines that didn't quite make the cut in his #1 brand. This year it's a nice North Coast blend of '08 Syrah, '09 Pinot Noir and '10 Alicante. @ $9.99 per 750 ml btl locally it's a real no brainer. Not really available anywhere outside the north bay at the moment but look for it.

My recent note: "This one is predominantly Syrah and it's evident on the nose with that nice funk and a splash of smoked meat. Ripe blue and black fruit up front, a little thin on the mid-palate but fans out with tartness, acidity, pretty gritty tannins and no heat on the finish."

Reply by wes77royce, Jun 15, 2011.

12 bux a pop Cline Zinfandel 2009.... spicy sour cherry flavours.

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