Chateau Montet, Clos du Bois, Condado de Eguren, d'Autrefois, Dancing Bull, Famille Perrin, Francis Coppola, Geyser Peak, King Estate, Louis Jadot, Mylonas, National Drink Wine Day, recommendations, Rodney Strong, Saladini Pilastri, Sobon Estate, wine, Zolo Gaucho
Apparently February 18 is National Drink Wine Day. Who knew? In our house, every day is National Drink Wine Day. But seriously, we take our wine, well, seriously. Every bottle is recorded in my wine notebook with information on vintage, producer, varietal, appellation, purchase date, purchase place, and price. Then when we drink the wine I (try to) record the drink date, what we ate with it, who joined us, and my rating.
I don’t get too carried away with the ratings. A star is reserved for the very favorites–ones I would actively seek out to buy again. Admittedly, these are often the more expensive bottles ($30 and up). A check++ is for a very good wine that’s not quite a star, but definitely should be purchased again. A check+ is a solid wine that’s worth recommending and drinking again. A checkmark is a drinkable wine but nothing that needs to be pursued. A check– is one that is not to my liking. And an X is one that should be avoided at all costs. (I’ve only ever given an X to one wine–Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Rosé. It’s just terrible.)
With that in mind, here are 15 wines that earn at least a check+ and can be found for under $15 (list price). The list is a little red-heavy because we drink predominantly reds, but I tried to include a few whites as well. Wine is a very subjective matter, so I’ll say a few words about the styles we like. We tend toward heavier, robust, tannic reds and light, crisp whites. I can’t abide sweet wines, and a buttery Chardonnay is my idea of yuck. So if that’s your bag, this list is not for you. But if you want to check out something that you maybe haven’t tried before, give it a gander.
Keep in mind that some of these vintages may no longer be available. Every vintage is different, but many winemakers make their best efforts to achieve consistent quality from year to year, so if you can’t find the exact vintage, maybe try a more recent year.
1. 2010 Famille Perrin Réserve, Côtes du Rhône, France, $9.99 at Total Wine
2. 2011 Sobon Estate Old Vines Zinfandel, Amador County, CA, $13.99 at Total Wine
3. 2012 Clos du Bois Pinot Noir, California, $11.99 at Total Wine
4. 2011 Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno, Italy, $10.99 at Total Wine
5. Non-vintage Condado de Eguren Tempranillo, Spain, $9.99 at Total Wine
6. 2011 Dancing Bull Zinfandel, California, $8.99 at Total Wine
7. 2010 King Estate Acrobat Pinot Noir, Oregon, $14.99 at wine.com
8. 2011 Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuissé, Burgundy, France, $13.99 at Ralph’s grocery store (this is the only place I’ve ever seen this wine for less than $20)
9. 2007 Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, California, $11.99 at Total Wine
10. 2011 Rodney Strong Estate Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County, California, $10.99 at Total Wine
11. 2010 Mylonas Savatiano, Keratea Attika, Greece, $15.00 at Elvino in Venice, CA
12. 2010 Zolo Gaucho Select Torrontes, Mendoza, Argentina, $12.95 at BevMo
13. 2009 Château Montet Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux, France, $9.99 at Total Wine
14. 2009 d’Autrefois Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France, $11.99 at Total Wine
15. 2010 Francis Ford Coppola Su Yuen, Sonoma County, California, $12.00 at the winery
P.S. My apologies for the poor picture quality on some of these wine labels.