Introduce Yourself

Snooth User: Casey84

New to Snooth and still new to wine

Posted by Casey84, Jul 27, 2011.

Hello everyone, and greatings from California. I have only recently staring to drink wine within the last 6 months or so, as i had always been more of a beer and spirits kind of guy. Due to this i'm still tring to find out what styles I like and ones I don't. As my wallet has more moths then bills in it I tend to by wine that is in the $10 or less range with the aditional thought that if I find a wine that i don't like at least i haven't spent to much on it. Most of the wine I have tryed has been Californian (suprise suprise) which I'v liked but I am looking to try more international wines. I have had a few Chianti's that I have liked but that about it. Heres looking at expanding my horizons.


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Jul 27, 2011.

Welcome to Snooth!

So what wines have been of the most interest to you. Always interested in learning what rings people's bells!

Reply by JonDerry, Jul 27, 2011.

If you like Cabernet, try the BV Rutherford Cabernet, 2008 and see what you think.  It's a little pricier than your usual, around $15, but not much.

There are probably some Spanish Rioja's in the $8 - $20 range that you would work well with expanding your horizons while staying close to your ideal pricing. 

Reply by Casey84, Jul 27, 2011.

I would have to say that Italian wines are probably what interest me the most, although  would like to try some German wines as well. Like I've said I liked the Chianti's I've had, in addition I've also liked the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Merlot that I have tried. The only wine I have tried that I was not thrilled by was the Zinfandel but that might have just been a bad bottle. I will also have to look for the BV Rutherford and the Rioja thanks for the recommendations Jon 

Reply by jamessulis, Jul 27, 2011.

If you strike out at under $10, lets say you spent 8 dollars and were not happy. You would have spent 8 dollars in vain so theoretically the next 8 dollar tryout will cost you 16 dollars to find one you like. This is not to say that you cannot find a wine you like for under $10 but your chances in my experiences put you in a better acceptability range of between 10-15 dollars a bottle. There are some great Washington wines under $10 and some in the $15 dollar range. - most all are excellent choices for under 10 dollars. I live in the Pacific Northwest and although I love California reds, they seem to be priced higher here and maybe due to shipping. You might find that Washington wines fall into the same category in California. Look around and if it's from Washington State you will have a great opportunity of finding some very nice buys. Check out Columbia Crest brand, Red Diamond in Paterson, Wa under $10), both good for the money. I also suggest you experiment with some of the fine Australian and Argentina reds, Malbecs and such. Welcome to snooth I can truly say, this is one helluva wine site, the site is incredible, the information is awesome and coninuous .. The people here on this website become people whom you feel you would be friends with if they were in your neighborhood.

Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest also known as the Pacific Wonderland

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Jul 31, 2011.


Wellcome - If you are looking for recos on Australian Wine just yell out

Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 3, 2011.

Hey, I totally agree with Lefty--Columbia Crest and Red Diamond are good for the money. I also agree that, on a blind buying program (i.e., you don't know much about wines, varieties of grapes, have a friend in the business who can tell you who is going out of business), you have more choices at $15 or so that could make a meaningful impression.  But there are good wines to be had for less, sometimes a lot less. All of the following are not hard to find and under $10.

If you like Italian wines, Montevina makes a good Barbera in California (Sierra Foothills--gotta get out of Napa to buy wine at lower than $10, as a rule). From Italy, Trader Joe's and some other places carry Epicuro wines that are good, if not excellent representatives of the types.  Salice Salentino and Aglianico are good.  TJ's also has a number of different makers of Nero d'Avola.

Two good California wines--I generally shy away from such a broad appellation as that, but not here--are Joel Gott Sauv Blanc on the white, and Ravenswood Vintners Select Zin on the red.  Both source from good appellations, but because they use three different growing regions, they can only use the broadest on the label.  They do a great job of blending for consistent and really good wine.  Cline Cellars often sells its Syrah for under $10--still family owned, although not small, and it's good, although never going to put the best N. Rhones out of business. 

Speaking of the Rhone, many Cotes du Rhone can be had for under $10, includng Perrin et Fils at Trader Joe's and Delas Freres a  few places. But they are not my faves.  I actually preferred the 2007 bottling of Ogier's Cave des Papes in the squat bottles at TJs, but even better are the Cotes du Ventoux from Delas and a few others that you can find for under $10 on occasion.  TJs has Ferme Julien or Vielle Ferme (if it's not the same wine, count me fooled) in a Rose from Cotes du Ventoux for about $8.  A terrific dry rose, perfect for backyard barbecues.

I like Charumba, from Portugal, in some vintages, and it's about $6. And I like Fess Parker Frontier Red, a cabernet-less but surprisingly cab-like table wine. In spite of the hokey name, it's good wine.  Fess Parker had a lot more years in the wine business than in Hollywood. 

I'm neglecting whites.  Vinho Verde is a treat for under $10, sometimes under $5.  (shocking.) Also a great cookout wine.  For other ideas to pair, see dmcker''s entry under "Everyday Food and Wine Pairings"--it might be the only wine he mentions that I could actually afford to drink everyday.

One more white, not under $10, but it comes in a full 1 liter bottle, so it's about equivalent:  Gruner Veltliner.  You could spend a lot on GV and there would be a difference--almost like a different wine, in some ways--but the low end stuff is a great summer sipper.  Berger is the one that comes to mind right now.

And don't ignore Spanish wines in general--there are areas just outside Priorat that are good bargains, and there are decent Riojas in the ballpark of what you are talking about.  Now that it's off the hot list, I think you'll even find Albarinos here and there that meet your price limits.

Welcome to Snooth.  PM me via my profile and tell me where you are if you want some retailers  to check out.

Reply by Casey84, Aug 3, 2011.

Thank you everyone for all the tips and recommendations. I now have a nice little list to refer to next time I go out to buy some wine

Reply by Kelsey Wilburn, Aug 13, 2011.

Hey Casey84, I'm relatively new to wine myself and I'm definitely not rolling in money to spend on wine. I actually have a wine blog I dedicate to finding great, accesible wines on a budget. You should check it out and see if you like any of the wines I've suggested. It's at I'm primarily a red drinker but I'm trying to get some roses and whites up as well for everyone.

Just off the top of my head I'd suggest you try the Horse Heaven Hills wines (merlot, cabernet, pinot grigio) from Washington. They're a great deal and just a bit over $10, but totally worth it.

Reply by ScottLauraH, Aug 13, 2011.

Welcome to Snooth.  I've been a member for over a year, but I am only recently becoming active.  I work in an independently owned wine shop in a tiny Chesapeake Bay town in Virginia and get to taste a lot of wines at different price points as a result.  The biggest thing I have learned from working here is that wine does not have to be expensive to be good, or even great.  The owners of this shop are passionate and knowledgable about wine and they have introduced me to some fabulous finds under $20.00 (in addition to allowing me the privilege of tasting wines I could never otherwise afford, such as a 2006 Chateau Montelena Estate Cab.)

You mentioned you like Italian reds, and I have three recommendations for you.  Fossetti Ross Toscano 2008 is a great Tuscan that retails around $12.  Monte Antico Toscana 2007 is another great find at around $13.00 a bottle.  Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona is currently my favorite value Italian red and it retails for around $14.00 a bottle. 

Another good wine is Castle Rock Pinot Gris as well as their Pinot Noir, both are solid and under $12.00  I'm also loving Ponga Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from New Zealand.  Their Sauvignon Blanc is smooth, refreshing and has a finish reminiscent of fresh pineapple. 

The most important thing to remember about wine is to drink what you like! 

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 14, 2011.

"that wine does not have to be expensive to be good, or even great.'


Nice Italian recommendations. One easy rule of thumb for exploring Italian wines is that the less well knownt he region is, the more likely you're gonna find some deals. Puglia, Campania, Sicily, Marches all have great wines at affordable prices. While Tuscany is one of the most famous regions, with plenty of expensive and over priced wines, great deals can still be found.

I know I'm going towards the top of most peoples budgets here but two wines I tend to buy every year are Selvapiana's Burcerchiale and Monsanto's Chianti Clssico Riserva. They typically run me $22 and I bring them up because they are also among the very best Chianti made, as ageworthy any, and just go to show that you can drink world class wine for about $20.

Spain, Portugal and Chile are probably my curent darlings when it comes to value priced wines. Lot's of old vine grenache in Spain is made into lovely, clean fresh wines. Portugal has some of the greatest values on earth for lovers of more traditionally styled wines, and Chile has figured out Carmenere and is producing wines that incorporate the grapes vegetal character while while toning it done so this it is not the wine's dominant feature. They've also figured out how to do this without going down the Argentine Malbec route of leaving in sugar while pushing the wines toward fruit bomb status. Lot's of wine out there!

Reply by duncan 906, Aug 25, 2011.

A wine does not have to be expensive for you to enjoy it and spending a lot is no garuntee of ultimate happiness.Most of the wines I have reviewed for Snooth over the last 18 months cost less than a tenner and most I have enjoyed.The exceptions werer a Saint Emillion Grand Cru and a German red.Casey;write up a reveiw of the wines you try on Snooth so others can see what you like and also look on the site to see the opinions of others on the wines you are drinking

Reply by cgplayer9, Aug 27, 2011.

Columbia Crest has a line of wines called H3 (for Horse Heavan Hills), that go for around $10-12. Both the Cab and the Merlot are really nice for the price. Osborne Solaz, from Spain, makes a Tempranillo/Cab blend for around $9-10 that is great for the price (this is my "house wine"). Argentina makes some really nice low cost Malbecs, like Norton and Pascual Toso. In addition to chianti, there are a lot of good lower cost Italian wines such as Barbera D'Asti (Dezzani has some good ones around $10 and are easy to find) and Barbera D'Alba.

Reply by David Wells, Dec 1, 2011.

Hi Casey, I am in the same boat! I recently starting working for, a website dedicated to increasing tourism in Wine Country, and have been able to start enjoying nice wines! I don't always have the wallet to buy from some of the wineries we're promoting, but I'm learning a ton! It's been great and reading all the comments above was a great help! Enjoy and visit Sonoma when you get some time!

Reply by theangles36, Dec 4, 2011.

Hi Casey, I too am also new to the "World of Wine".  Recently my husband (Kevin) and I (Cathie) went out to eat dinner at the Olive Garden, and just for the heck of it, we went with, by recommendation of the waitress, their wine for the evening that complimented our meal. I fell head over heels to the floor when I tasted their "Ruscato" wine ($23 a bottle and can only be purchased from them. According to them, it's their House Wine specifically for Olive Garden). It was the most sweetest, smoothest, delicious red wine I have EVER tasted that did not leave a bitter taste at the end.  From that moment on, I found my niche. I am all about finding the sweetest, deepest red wines. However, I have had no luck in finding others that hit my "must be the sweetest, VERY deep red wine" chart.  I have looked everywhere and even googled for the sweetest red wine. I may perhaps have the "expensive" taste syndrome for wine as I have expensive taste in everything else in my life (due to how I was brought up), however, I LOVE to shop for bargains that has quality and will not break my budget! IF anybody has suggestions that I may add to my "List" and that I can add to my wine cellar collection, I would LOVE it! We love ending our evenings with a glass of red wine.  

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 4, 2011.

Not sure if you're including red "dessert" wines, but I've recently had a very good late harvest Zinfandel from Lone Madrone.

Lone Madrone's "The Bad Shepherd" 2008


Reply by EMark, Dec 4, 2011.


Let me be the very next to welcome you to the world of Snooth and the world of wine.

It turns out that a few months ago there was a Snooth Forum discussion of, I believe, the very wine that you had at Olive Garden.  If you look over to the right of this screen at the top of this thread, you'll see "Search the Snooth Forums."  Type "Olive Garded Wine" in the box and click on the "Search" button.  The search, will point you to the conversation that I mentioned.  Or you can click on this Olive Garden Wine Link

I have only limited experience with sweet red wines.  Here are a couple things you might look for:

  • Port -- Very sweet, but very satisfying.  Prices are all over the place and, surprise, surprise, the best ones come with a pretty steep tarriff.
  • Quady Elysium -- Quady is a California winery that specializes in dessert wines.  They make Elysium from the Black Muscat grape.  This wine is definitely not a budget buster.
  • "Late Harvest" wines -- Such wines are going to be sweet.  Most Late Harvest wines are produced from white grapes.  However, there are a number of California wineries that make red Late Harvest Zinfandels.

While my knowledge on this topic is limited, I'm sure that you will get some more ideas from other Snooth correspondents.

Enjoy and please feel free, to report back on your findings.


Reply by JonDerry, Dec 4, 2011.

Good of you to bring up Port, Mark.

I've never had much from Portugal that I liked, but had CA Zin-Port recently that I really enjoyed:

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