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Robin Garr

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Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Robin Garr » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:06 am

What’s wrong with cheap wine? Given that fine wine requires time-consuming, hands-on efforts in the vineyard and in the winery, it makes sense that there’s a price floor below which a cheap-wine producer can’t afford to invest in quality.

Still, I’ve had plenty of wines around $10 – and a random few for less than $10 – that fully meet my criteria for enjoyment, so I can’t write off the single-digit category entirely. Neither should you. This month Wine Focus gears up a quest for over-performing wines under $10 (or so). You're invited to nominate your favorite cheap wines and share new discoveries. Let's hear 'em!
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Robin Garr » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:10 am

I got off to an early start with a surprisingly good French white, Domaine de Pouy 2016 Côtes de Gascogne. This Southwestern French blend of Ugni Blanc and Colombard is priced locally at an inviting $7.99 for a bottle, but can compete in quality with a wine at double that toll.

Domaine de Pouy 2016 Côtes de Gascogne ($7.99)

Clear, bright straw color, with a marked melon aroma, a mix of musky cantaloupe and more subtle honeydew. Fresh and tart flavors carry over the melon character and add a bright squirt of lemon. Medium-bodied, its texture becomes more evident as the wine warms in the glass, and a hint of pleasant peach-pit bitterness joins in on a very long finish. Its rather light 10.5 percent alcohol makes it an easy sipper. It’s fine now but will become even more appealing as spring returns and warms into summer. U.S. importer: Domaine Select Wine & Spirits LLC (DSWS), NYC. (Feb. 21, 2018)

FOOD MATCH: The back label declares it a perfect aperitif, good with salads, seafood, fish, tapas and, generically, “Asian food.” It was fine with the slightly sweet flavor of mini crab cakes.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and locate vendors for Domaine de Pouy 2016 Côtes de Gascogne on Wine-Searcher.com.
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Tim York

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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Tim York » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:59 pm

Here in France there is no shortage of very enjoyable wine costing less than €10, even a few at less than €5.

Here is a nice one from a couple of days ago with a TN from just over a year ago as well as the new one.

2014 Clos La Coutale Cahors - France, Southwest France, Cahors (1/5/2017)
I still marvel at being able not only to drink but, more important, to enjoy a two year old Cahors. It would have been unthinkable 20 years ago. Colour more transparent and not quite so black as some. Nose typically Cahors but hard to describe, perhaps a mix of savoury bright black fruit, earth, wet leather and olives with a touch of anise and liquorice. Palate medium+ bodied, virile and sinewy, replaying the aromas from the nose with an underlying roundness of fruit which no doubt owes something to 15% Merlot in the blend with fresh acidity and firm backbone. Good wine and stunning QPR at €7.


2014 Clos La Coutale Cahors - France, Southwest France, Cahors (2/26/2018)
Robustly tasty and virile, very similar to the bottle on which I wrote a TN about a year ago but perhaps better integrated with more raspberry in the fruit. Great QPR at c.7€ and hopefully there is some still left at the store.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by David M. Bueker » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:44 am

Tim-I will be near Cahors all next week.

I was at a small walk around tasting of Italian wines early this evening, and the number of sub-$15 quality wines was impressive.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:45 am

Well this should be an interesting month but I have to say that up here in AB, the only wine I see is Blossom Hill for $7.00!! I will see what I can enjoy for my hard earned $16 plus!! Yellowtail Pinot Gris is usually quite good plus an average Riesling.
Tims Cahors is $20 here, has at least 10% Merlot I believe?
Last edited by Bob Parsons Alberta on Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Tim York » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:49 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Tim-I will be near Cahors all next week.



Nice part of France. In many ways I would have rather settled there than here in Normandy. They have been having a lot of snow round there lately. Cahors wine scene quite dynamic with lots of new producers as well as more established ones. Good QPR is still quite easy to find in the appellation.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:38 am

Working around there David? You should have some fun wine buying and sampling!
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by David M. Bueker » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:28 am

No time for wine buying. All work, no play. :(
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:58 pm

How low can I go? Looks like $16 where I shop :lol: .
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Jenise » Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:40 pm

Picked up a Dry Creek Vineyards chenin blanc at Costco the other day for $8 and change to try. Not sure of vintage, but either 15 or 16. It's so good that I am going to include it in a wine and cheese event next week and even bought two extra bottles for myself. Bright, limey, great acidity, drinks like a cold vintage wine--would never mistake it for Vouvray, but it kills for the price.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Jon Leifer » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:41 pm

As David said, there is an ocean of lovely, very drinkable wines from Italy available < $15..Tonight, 2016 Ottella Lugana, delightful, bright flavored wine with crisp acidity, went well with Caesar salad followed by a crusted fish dish served over rice. Wasn't sure how it wd handle the Caesar salad dressing but no problema
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Tim York » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:02 am

Bordeaux has the underserved reputation of only producing expensive wines. I picked up a bottle Cru de la Maqueline 2015 from a producer in Macau (where Ch.Cantemerle is located) for €5,50 the other day but needed a rounder wine than from those parts for last night's food. So we will have to wait for my report on how good it is. Meanwhile we drank this Right Banker which cost €9 at a Foire aux Vins.

2014 Domaine de Courteillac Merlot Cabernet - France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur (3/7/2018)
Since 2000, I have enjoyed many vintages of this wine made in the eastern part of the Entre-Deux-Mers area from Merlot 70%, Cabernet Franc 10% and Cabernet Sauvignon 10%. It is a reliably good ringer for a lesser Saint-Émilion GC and represents remarkable QPR at <€10. This bottle of 2014, like the 2012 at a similar age, is not yet firing on all cylinders but is already good. It is medium bodied with bright berry fruit, some depth, fresh acidity and tannic backbone but not so rich, integrated and velvety as it will hopefully become in a year or so.

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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:11 pm

Very nice Tim, would be at least $30 Cdn here :( .
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Jim Grow » Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:39 pm

How low can I go? $10.00 and just for one wine, the Domain Ehrhart 2012 Pinot Auxerrois from Alsace. A very nice white that can age and improve, especially if made by Albert Mann.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:42 pm

This wine was as low as I could go last week when visiting my fave store downtown! I had the usual discount so paid $18 Cdn.

2015 Chateau La Croix des Pins Les Trois Villages Ventoux, Southern Rhone.

Good natural cork, 14% alc, opened for one hour. Nice depth of color, spice red fruits on the nose. Initial entry thought was slight spritz at first, tip of the tongue sweetness. Ready to drink style, soft tannins here.
Raspberry, framboise, very nice and easy to drink eventhough it shows some complexity. Went well with pork scallopini.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Jenise » Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:36 pm

I'm shopping bargains right now for a wine and cheese tasting I'm doing. Charging $25 at the door, and my budget has to pay for cheese, a main course soup, and a dessert, so the wine cost is by neccessity as low as I can go while still providing tasty wine. One I bought yesterday is made here in Washington, an unwooded 2015 Thurston Wolfe Pinot Grigio-Viognier blend from WA state that isn't perfumey, and is in fact more appealing to me than either grape usually is on its own (particularly in WA). White stone fruit and pears with some minerality and soft acidity, with a biggish finish that takes you by surprise after the soft entry. The lineup will also include a chardonnay, probably a Sauvignon Blanc, and a dry syrah rose from Chateau Ste Michelle that amazed me. Even when that winery says 'dry' you hesitate to believe them as their regular dry wines lean, to my tastes, toward off-dry. My price? About $5, via a friend who worked there as a pourer to supplement his teacher's salary before retiring. CSM generously offers a whopping 50% discount to all ex-employees, even part timers.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Jenise » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:10 pm

2016 Domaine Guindon Gamay Coteaux d'Ancenis
This is what a local fine wine retailer drinks while sitting around playing cards with his wife--he recommended it for my wine and cheese tasting next week. Unfortunately, for the American palates I serve, Columbia Crest Merlot would be better. However, for the rest of us? A great little quaffer. That is, better balanced, tasty and true to the grape than one expects for $8/bottle.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by YossiD » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:06 pm

For quality wines at bargain prices, South Africa gets my vote.

During a recent visit we drank many outstanding wines below 100 Rand (~$8.50). One winery we visited - Black Pearl, run by a father and daughter team of expatriate Brits, was selling a lovely refreshing unoaked Chenin Blanc for 40 Rand (~$3.50!). Of course, not all the wines we tried were that inexpensive, but there were plenty of outstanding wines below the $10 mark.

Of course you have to visit South Africa to get them, but for wine enthusiasts it's heaven. Lots of friendly small family owned wineries to visit.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Jenise » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:54 pm

YossiD wrote:For quality wines at bargain prices, South Africa gets my vote.

During a recent visit we drank many outstanding wines below 100 Rand (~$8.50). One winery we visited - Black Pearl, run by a father and daughter team of expatriate Brits, was selling a lovely refreshing unoaked Chenin Blanc for 40 Rand (~$3.50!). Of course, not all the wines we tried were that inexpensive, but there were plenty of outstanding wines below the $10 mark.

Of course you have to visit South Africa to get them, but for wine enthusiasts it's heaven. Lots of friendly small family owned wineries to visit.


I too am a fan, Yossid. South African wines generally give me everything I love about traditional methods and new world fruit in one wine.

Would love to visit and have long been planning a trip later this year, but their water situation is too distressing to plan a trip now.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:35 pm

No bargain prices for SA wines up here but have to agree that this area is producing some terrific wines over the past 5 yrs or so. Entry price here in AB is around $22.00.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Joe Moryl » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:14 pm

Stopped by a wine shop on my way home to pick up a Barolo that I had my eye on and, with this thread in mind, maybe some daily drinkers. Yossi's post made me take a look in the SA section, but there was nothing interesting in the sub $10 range so I moved on. Wound up with this one:

2016 Alcaria old vines, Bodeges Castano, Yecla (Spain):
This turns out to be a special bottling for the importer, Eric Solomon, which is 60% Monastrell, 25% Syrah and 15% Garnacha Tintorera (not Grenache, but Alicante Bouchet). Very appealing young ruby with violet tints, this is not a jammy, hot thing like some wines from this hot corner of Spain (still, it is 14% abv). It is really quite polished and appealing, but nothing stands out as unique. Certainly worth $10, but there may be other cheapies that are more interesting. To use the Chirs Coad classification from Boatloads of Cheap Crap: Buy again? Maybe.

Reflecting on Coad's Boatloads notes made me nostalgic and I went to see if I could find any of the compleatwinegeek.com posts. I was sad to find that they were not readily available, although perhaps they are archived somewhere. Raising a glass of Alcaria to his memory!
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Peter May » Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:34 pm

Jenise wrote:
Would love to visit and have long been planning a trip later this year, but their water situation is too distressing to plan a trip now.


Don't get things out of proportion. Water shortage affects Cape Town area, but Zero Day has been pushed way back to 2019.

But nearby Hermanus, for example, isn't affected. That's a centre for visiting Hemel en Aarde Valley, home of great Pinot wineries.

We didn't have any issues in restaurants, and many wineries have their own water source via bore holes. If considering stay outside Cape Town, e.g. Stellenbosch, Paarl or on a wine estate email to ask about their water situation.

If you want to stay in Cape Town.,Cape Town govt issued this in Feb

THE MEDIA
Much of the hype around the drought has been to ensure citizens are aware of the situation and that everyone is doing what they can to reduce consumption. A side effect of this awareness campaign has been a number of sensationalist headlines in the international press and ‘fake news’ about civil unrest.

It is important not to lose perspective in light of these headlines. Cape Town is not unique: droughts regularly affect dozens of top international tourist destinations. And many top destinations exist in far more severe climates.


YOUR STAY
While all Cape Town hotels, bars and restaurants have taken extensive measures to reduce their water consumption, tourists are encouraged to be mindful of the situation and to play their part in the water conservation initiative.
All hotels are making guests aware of the situation on check-in and through innovative communication techniques. Among other things, guests are encouraged to
• Limit shower times
• Flush toilets less often
• Reuse towels
• Not use bathtubs


Cape Town hotels remain confident of delivering an experience commensurate with that experience offered before drought conditions and as such cancellation policies remain unchanged. Although guests are asked to be mindful, their overall stay will not be affected and we look forward to welcoming international visitors to our remarkable city. South Africa has overcome many challenges in the past and will no doubt overcome this one. Now more than ever Cape Town needs the support of international tourists.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Peter May » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:09 pm

Last night had a simple meal, and a simple wine 3C Cariñena 2015 (Spain)


This cost me £5.25 as a bin-end The price of the currently listed 2016 vintage is £5.75
That price includes duty of £2.16 plus 20% VAT on that, plus 20% on the value of the wine.

So cost of wine without tax is about £2.50 - (2.5+2.16)*20% or 3.50 USD

Its a lovely drinkable wine with enough character, claen, lots of fruit, cherry, and minimal tannins.

Name 3C refers to that its
Grape variety Cariñena (Carignan)
From town of Cariñena
In appellation of Cariñena
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Jenise » Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:15 pm

Peter, thanks for the information about the water situation A bit different then the impression I got from the TIME magazine article of several weeks back written by a SA journalist who lives in Capetown. She indicated zero day is expected sometime in May, and in the meantime residents have been cut from 26 gal per person per day to 13.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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