Wine: The one Without the “H”

Beth pointed out that I have a whole category called “I Love Wine” and so far I have only talked about “Wine Spectator” and “Food and Wine Magazine”.

I saw this as an invitation to blather on about wine that I really like. Since I don’t really like the cheap stuff, and can’t really afford the expensive stuff, you can get almost all of these wines from between $10 and $16 per bottle.

Here are a couple of reds that I buy on a regular basis:red wine pouring

Courtney Benham Zinfandel (2002)

Neiderburg Pinotage

For Pinot Noirs I really like Castle Rock, and it’s cheap but it is hard to find. I also like Stone Creek and the Kim Crawford thanks for the tip PapaDog).

For cheaper wines, I like Smoking Loon Cabernet. It’s not high end, but it is dependable and it’s really good with spaghetti.

I miss the Neyers Grenache, but it was almost $30 per bottle. That is a little out of my price range for an everyday wine so I am almost glad they stopped making it.

What do you guys like?

Nobody say Boones Farm.

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  1. Ahh Boones, their strawberry wine got me through most of college. Now I like White Zin, Pinot Grigio, and Reisling and not so much the reds. Being in school I buy what ever is cheap at Trader Joe’s without being 2 buck chuck (being classsy like I try and find a good $4.99 wine). I have heard great things about Yellow Tail (a shiraz I think).

  2. Boones Strawberry Hills. Now THAT is some good shit. :) Honestly though? I don’t drink wine. I did go the Amana colonies on a wine tasting tour thing and it was lotsa fun, but I only bought one bottle of wine and then didn’t even finish it. I’m a loser.

  3. ckirby50 says:

    For cheaper wine, I’ve been buying Yellow Tail – Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet – whatever feels right.

    If I am spending a little more money, I look to Barefoot, Forest Glen, CK Mondavi, Trinchero, and if I can find it Kokopelli (not bad for an Arizona wine).

    I drink wine and I am proud of it! (actually wonder if you can parent twins without alcohol, but not brave enough to try it)

  4. I am so not a wine con… crap, I don’t even know how to spell that word. Anyway, what I mean to say is that I know what I like, but I have a hard time describing it. One wine I tried recently that made me say, “that’s it! taste this, so you’ll know exactly what I like!” was the A-Z Pinot Blanc. I’ve yet to find this by the bottle anywhere yet; I had it by the glass at a restaurant in Maui. I also like Duckhorn Vineyards’ Savignon Blanc (~$20/bottle), and a good grocery-store standby (if you live in a state that sells wine in grocery stores, like CA and VA) is the Sterling Vineyards Savignon Blanc for about $13-15.

  5. Oh, I just thought of a red I like: BV’s Cabernet Savignon.

  6. We drink a LOT of red wine in my house (it has completely cured my husband’s pre-diabetes, seriously), so if it’s not in a box we rarely buy it. But there are some really good boxed wines out there…I really like Black Box Cabernet (around $20 for the equivalent of 3-4 regular bottles of wine) and Toad Hollow (I think…Toad something…) Pinot (a little more, like $26). And Hardy makes good box wines, too. Their shiraz made me happy a few weeks ago.

  7. Barbara says:

    I love Miner’s Sauvignon Blanc. We went to Napa Valley last summer during a trip to San Fran, and Miner Family Winery was highly recommended by a friend of my father’s. The wine tasting room was the most modest of the ones we were in, but it was the best wine. I’ve since been ordering it online, finally I can order the 2006 (it was just released 5/1). They had sold out of the 2005 by January.

  8. Was that so hard? Now someone who was, just as an example, invited to your house for dinner, would be able to confidently select an appropriate bottle of wine to bring over and use to get you sloshed.

  9. You asked so I’ll tell. The problem with me, when I start to speak about wine, I tend to start bragging – or at the least people think I’m bragging. So you’ve been warned: For top end I like the 2000 Penascal Tempranillo Vin de le Tierra de Castilla y Leon from Spain. My relatives in Spain sent it to me one year and I was hooked. The 2004 Peju Syrah (or Shirah) and their 2003 Cab Reserve. Of which I still have one bottle left that I am saving for my wife’s Master’s degree graduation next year. Also, anything by Silver Oak cellars, and St. Supery, three vineyards we visit every time we go to Napa… along with Oakville Grocery – but that’s another story.

    If you’re talking about everyday wine, then I would have to go with Electric Reindeer. It’s sold through World Market here in Chicago only around Christmas. They make a terrific Merlot. Also, Yellow Tail makes nice inexpensive wines, especially their Merlot, Shiraz & Cabernet. Also Mondavi, BV and Francis Ford Coppola.

    This is what happens when you have parents with their own wine cellar… you drink a lot of wine…

    Great… now I’m thirsty for wine…

  10. Red Zins are my fav- Sin Zin, Cardinal Zin
    anything by Bogle or Clos Du Bois, Coppola Claret, all good stuff and under $15

  11. Aaah Boones Farm.. brings back memories..

    Not much of a wine drinker myself, but check my blog to see the meme that I was forced to do that now I AM FORCING YOU TO DO!!! HAHAHAHA!!! Ahem.


  12. Corona

  13. We should pick one day a month and have everybody post about a wine they have tried…. like/dislike, etc.

    I’d love that — I’m always looking for new wines to try and people to talk about wine with

  14. I’m sorry, everyone. I’m a food snob and I’m effing proud of it. Yellow Tail Shiraz tastes like another word that begins with shi.. and the focus group that picked that label should be rewarded with 10% of the profit that winery earns every year.

    Bogle vineyards makes a great petite syrah you can get for around 10 bucks. Norton’s Malbec from 2003 scored a 91 from Spectator – unheard of for $10 bucks. Their 94 is not bad, but it’s nothing on the 93. Trumpeter makes a decent Grenache Syrah blend for around 10 bucks, and the cab isn’t bad, either.

    Big House Red is a very solid wine for 11 bucks. Don’t be fooled by the screw top. This stuff is solid.

    If you have 6 or 8 bucks, DO NOT get that Charles Shaw headache in a bottle. It tastes like cat pee. Get Twin Fin red, 03 if you can find it. 04 is fine, but 03 is better.

    If you insist on drinking Pinot, Chateau Chantal Pinot Noir 2004 is a pretty good bottle. It’s a little spicy.

    Inexpensive wine had a tough year in 04. Many of the old standby grapes (pinot noir and merlot if I have to name names) have a really hard time putting a good bottle together for less than $10, and even then you are putting your life in your own hands. But, the flip side of that coin is the mainstreaming of all these great lesser-known grapes like temprenillo, norton, carmenere, chamborcin, and even concord. If you can find a concord red, get it. It will be really different and probably good chilled. Gollywobbler Red from St. Michaels, MD is the best concord red I’ve ever had. It was like 9 bucks.

    Other guidelines: you can’t go wrong with anything Spectator rates 86 and above. Make sure to match the label year to the rating year – it’s an old grocery store trick to put the 04 wines (that suck) below the glowing 03 ratings from spectator.

    Also, some regions continually crank out good wine like Motown cranked out the hits in the 70’s. Having pasta? Try a Chianti – they are dry but tasty. Having Lamb? Try something from Rioja in Spain. Beware, though. It’s a little peppery. Having steak? A big central California red will do the trick. Steaky fish like tuna? go with a Cote du Rhone or a cote du ventoux rouge from France.

    Okay I’m thirsty. Sorry if I offended any 2 buck chuck or yellowtail fans.

  15. I have a red wine suggestion for you. It’s called “Oops.” It’s FABU!

  16. I heard your favorite is manishevitz.

  17. Oh yeah, I’ve also learned the valuable lesson of not buying wine because of a funny name. For example, Herding Cats is so bad that one sip makes you want to hurt someone (at least the one I tried).

  18. The red wines I enjoy best are Chianti and Sangiovese. If you are looking for something different in white, try a Riesling, I’ve noticed more of them around recently so they shouldn’t be too hard to find.

    Georges DeBouef (think that’s how it’s spelled) makes a lot of very reasonably priced wines that are pretty good.

    Try some and report back :)

  19. Oh, come on! Who doesn’t love a little Boone’s Farm? Strawberry Fields is the best. But really, I don’t even know what kind, but I like this brank called Yellow Tail. Heard of it?

  20. I like yellow tail chard. and beringer white zin. i know, I’m the only person in the world who drinks blush!

  21. I’m not much on wine – but I do love my beer and my Vodka. Although not at the same time. Sarah do you have one of these? ; cause you really should.

  22. My wife and I were surprised, nay, shocked, to find that there are at least a couple of decent wines being made right here in our home state of Texas. Whodathunkit? Becker’s Vineyard near Fredericksburg has several selections in pretty wide distribution, and is one that we get on a regular basis.

  23. You can call me, 'Sir' says:

    Ravenswood has consistently good cabernets and zinfandels. I like my reds thick and chewy, so I spend quality time with a lot of zins and Spanish tempranillos. Also, I’ve found that the cheaper stuff is almost always just as good or better then the expensive stuff I used to drink fairly regularly. Try and They review cheap wines, which is why my love for them knows no bounds.

  24. Hey! Boone’s Farm Canonballs are the BEST at bachelorette parties. Don’t knock it until you’ve been all Tuszke’d up and found half-naked on the party bus. 😉

    I was gonna tell you my mother likes the wine in the box. Heh. She’s a fan of that crap.

  25. Bogle Old World Zinfandel is a good stand-by red in our house.

    We bought a case of Castle Rock Pinot Noir for our Christmas party last year and drank it and gave it away for a couple months. (Who knew everyone would go for the beer?)

    I love German Rieslings – not ones from Alsace.

    I hate California Chardonnays (too oaky) but love French ones.

    Anything from Oregon with the word “pinot” in it will be good. But usually expensive. (Except for the Castle Rock, which is why we bought a whole case!)

  26. Also, I think the Coppola Diamond series is always a solid “grocery store” buy. But if you have a local wine/gourmet shop or even a Whole Foods, go frequently and make friends with the people there. Most of them know their stuff and can be invaluable assets to your drinking. 😎

  27. Whatever the Wine Vixen puts in the box, I buy.

  28. Gotta laugh. My first experience with wine (100 years ago) was Boones Farm! Ohhh how I got sooo sick… Thank g-d I’ve matured my taste to the finer wines…. AND how my young friend do you know about BF?


  29. I have to agree with Bones (for the most part, I still enjoy a Yellow Tail shiraz when I’m low on cash), Big House Red is a good, cheap wine. Dancing Bull isn’t bad. We had a J. Lohr cab last night (I think we got it for $14 which is the top of our price limit) and that was pretty good, too. If I’m drinking white I’ll usually have a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. My favorite is Cloudy Bay, but at almost $30 a bottle I can only have it on special occasions!

  30. I don’t really have a favorite, but the last bottle I bought was a Fat Bastard. It lived up to its name.

  31. Casa Buffalo’s House Wines (no, that’s really what we call them, we’re sooooo pretentious like that.)

    House Whites:

    J Lohr Arroyo Seco Chardonnay- I like a good full bodied oaky/buttery chard. For iner 12 bucks. This is my favorite :)

    Highfield Sauvignon Blanc- smells like (nose, shmose) grapefruit and honeysuckle Best summer sipping wine ever.

    Rabbit Ridge Merlot- best 8.99 merlot at Trader Joes

    Liberty School Cabernet- (check out cellar tracker’s ratings- cinsistently in the high 80’s school was a second brand of the Caymus winery but I think it was sold off- anyway it’s still yumtastic).

  32. Red wine gives me headaches. Something about the sulfites. Oh, who am I kidding? I just don’t like it.

  33. I like the local Maryland wines . a few good wines are:
    Boordy vineyards: Tango peach-fruity peach/ citrus wine
    In Baltimore co. Vidal Blanc-semi dry white wine
    Reisling-a little sweeter than Vidal

    Fiore Winery: Scarlette-sweet red wine, great for a party
    Harford co. Blush of Belair- semi dry blush wine

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