Wine Talk

Snooth User: AdrianSmith

Your fave Cab under $20?!

Original post by AdrianSmith, Sep 19, 2014.

Whats your favorite penny saving cab and WHY?!  :)

To make it easier, feel free to follow this format!
 

Name: Belle Ambience
Price (roughly): $9
Why: Deep fruity notes of red berries, cherries and  a little vanilla dolce at the end. A perfect way to wind down and relax in the evening after a long hard day at work.

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Replies

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Reply by GregT, Oct 18, 2014.

Fox - K&L has another problem if you're on the supplier side - they discount a lot and it hurts your brand. That's one of the things they do that's really good for customers. They may jack the price when a review comes out but if they don't move the inventory, or if they get a closeout from somewhere, they sell it for a lot less than other retailers. Suppliers don't like places like that but if you're a customer, those are good places as long as you're careful. Wine Library, Winex, PJs and a few other retailers are like that.

Still not going to find a lot of sub $20 CA Cabs though. However, I guess you could look around Paso Robles - Beckmen, Justin, etc. And in Sonoma St. Francis and Chateau St Jean put things out under $20.

One of the problems is that if a CA Cab is under $20, it's not a small-production, hand-made wine. In other words, it's made in as large a quantity as possible. That's one of the reasons CA Cab at that level is often rather simple. If you have good Cab in CA, you can get a good price for it. So you charge as much as you can and the lesser stuff you just produce as cheaply as possible. The economies differ elsewhere so you're well-advised to look elsewhere, and as mentioned, also to look at other grapes, esp if you're going to stick with CA.

 

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 18, 2014.

GregT--interesting about the discounting.  A wine store owner I know cannot carry wines from a particular importer because the importer won't sell him wines.  Why?  Because he "discounts" everything, in the sense that he has a less expensive location (it's just plain inconvenient for most folks) and spends very little on fixtures (most wines displayed in boxes, no racking--K&L is much more posh), so he takes a smaller markup and every wine he sells is $1-2 less than the competition.  Other stores, on streets in rich neighborhoods, with lots of foot traffic, badmouth him.  He also knows that very few of his clients are interested in wines over $35.  But I just bought wine from that importer at K&L and, guess what?  It was discounted dramatically because people wouldn't pay what the importer demanded it be sold at.  That didn't help the brand of a excellent Italian wine trying to break into the W. Coast market (and generally underrepresented in US). 

Anyway, I was picking up that wine and some other things at K&L on my lunch hour--Internet orders--and I bought some of the Martin Ray, supposedly 85% Stags Leap fruit.  I also bought some discounted '05 York Creek because I loved the '04 or whatever the hell I had last year and it was $25.  But that was already on order when this thread started.

Last thing about K&L:  SF store is moving within the next year to a much bigger location with more parking.  Going to have room for far more SKUs.  They'll start stocking some of the stuff that's only available via web right now.  Whew.  Not quite Astor Place proportions, but it's going to be pretty big.

Emark, ignore DVogler.  You deserve the Reserve.  No need to start at the bottom and work your way up. ;-)

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 18, 2014.

Bottom line, look elsewhere for cabs at that price. Without having tasted every Paso Robles possibility, I'm sure I'd rather have some Bordeaux outliers or Aussie options or certain Italian super-Tuscans. Unfortunately Chono went haywire, but maybe even a Chilean, though lots of chaff compared to wheat there still.  Let K&L and others go to town. Anything that lowers CA wine prices is, in my book, a good thing. Producers need to think differently if they don't want to be relegated to certain types of niches or ultimately bubbled out of business as many already have. Producers that put their heart into more reasonable offerings certainly make me feel better about them, even if they also offer more expensive bottlings.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 18, 2014.

Producers that put their heart into more reasonable offerings certainly make me feel better about them, even if they also offer more expensive bottlings.

Brings me back to Hendry. They offer a bunch of really nice whites (Albarino, Pinot Gris among them) for $20. 

Anything that lowers CA wine prices is, in my book, a good thing. Producers need to think differently if they don't want to be relegated to certain types of niches or ultimately bubbled out of business as many already have.

And Amen to that!

 

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Reply by GregT, Oct 19, 2014.

Yep. Although some of that Bordeaux that's pretty cheap deserves to be out of business too! Bottom line is that there's a lot of good wine in the world these days and between $15 and $25 you can do really well. Between $10 and $15 it's harder, but still possible, as long as you look for discounts.

Big Cabs from CA? Nope. But if you're stuck with CA, there's Syrah, Zin, Petite Sirah, and any number of whites. If you move beyond CA, which you should, you can do very well indeed, even with Cab, as D has pointed out several times.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 23, 2014.

A propos of IK&L discussion and discounting, here's this from their own website:

Inventory Clearance - Home of the Wine Rogue

Welcome to the inventory clearance section of KLWines.com, home of the Wine Rogue. This K&L hall-of-famer and friend of K&L customers is the last person you want to see if you're a wine wholesaler, distributer, or winery. When he's salivating at a fresh supplier closeout list, you're in for a real treat. Most importantly, he's not willing to jump at bad wine, so regardless of how sweet the deal looks, it must pass the test of our tasting panel. When he's not devouring quality discounted wines from one of our vendors, the Wine Rogue can be found smiling at your enjoyment from his latest mission. Give him a head nod the next time you make off with another huge K&L bargain.

Letting the misspelling of distributor go...

I did see a bunch of Cali Cabs right around $20 that I would drink.  In my old, cab-centric days, I did drink lots of them.  Franciscan, Mondavi, Twenty Row and Twenty Bench.  The last two are pretty under the radar, use purchased fruit, and are respectable.  But you get mediocre to pretty good, not really ideally food friendly wine for those prices, and my shift has been to wines with a little more acid, a little in the savory area.  On the other hand, reading about those made me want to drink them again, so maybe I should do a comparative of Cabs in the range.  Kind of a follow up to FTI-Cabernet.

 

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Reply by Really Big Al, Oct 23, 2014.

So here's a tasty cab that I picked up from Wines Till Sold Out for $15 each (4 @ $60 including shipping/tax).  Not bad at all.  It's worth twice this amount now that I've tasted it.  It gets about 88 to 89 points

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