Tips for Finding Great Value Wines
Let’s jump right into your questions!
Mariola Costa Navajas: Can you find an amazing wine under $20?
You’d better be able to on Lot18! This is one of the joys of learning more about wine and part of the duality of the wine education curve. As you learn more, you can spend less on wine, because your knowledge allows you to be more adventurous per last week’s post.
At the same time, your palate discovers the joys of those small production Champagnes or boutique Cali Cabs and all your hard work to spend less money on wine can go down the drain! I like to think that we try hard at Lot18 to balance our selection out by offering values that grow your average quality to price ratio.
Joni Anderson: If you could pick 10 bottles of wine, each under $100 which would they be?
Joni, one of the tough things about recommending wines to friends in other states is that finding a particular wine can be like finding a needle in a haystack. There are over 6,000 wineries registered in the United States. Add in the world’s wines and there are just tons of products to choose from. Worse, there is the complexity of finding that wine in your state. Each state in the US is almost like its own country so it is hard to find wines other than those made by large companies that are available everywhere.
Luckily I happen to work at a place that might be able to find a few good things for you, so I will happily recommend a few things available right now:
Uvaggio Vermentino: As usual, grapes you haven’t tried before can really hit the value equation home run. This one is a no brainer, as it is truly the best California Vermentino on the planet!
Talty Estate Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel: Ahh, Talty Zin is simply divine. Greg dal Piaz, Editor in Chief at Snooth turned us on to this find and we haven’t looked back since. Michael Talty is a rising star and his Zin is just right.
Nicolas Joly Les Vieux Clos: Don’t even get me started on the joys of Chenin Blanc from France’s Loire Valley. I’ll know I’ve died and gone to heaven if I wake up in a Chenin bath one day. Nicolas Joly’s minerally, slightly funky style of mushroomy, wooly white wine is just about the most interesting thing I could dream up to sip.
Michaud Vineyard The Pinnacles Syrah: This is Syrah done just to my style with roasted spice aromas, plums and fresh rosemary aromatics. And what a steal!!!
However, if you are talking best ten wines I’ve ever had under $100 it might go something like this. Mind you, this is subject to change nearly every week … but here is a smattering from around the world:
1. Gimmonnet Champagne, France
2. Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir, South Africa
3. Pousse d’Or Volnay, France
4. Selbach-Oster Rieslings, Germany
5. Vincent Dauvissat Chablis, France
6. Ridge Zinfandel, USA
7. Peter Michael Sauvignon Blanc, USA
8. Huet Vouvray, France
9. Cayuse Syrah, USA
10. Le Macchiole Paleo Rosso, Italy
… plus the Contrabandista Amontillado sherry to keep around all winter!!
Samuel Waissman: What are the wines under 90/60/40 that [you] would recommend. It is easy to spend 1,000 and find a decent wine, where the skill truly lies is picking the gold from the low end price.
Absolutely my thinking Samuel. Our team spends much more time tasting in order to find a great $15 bottle than a $50 bottle. We might taste 15 wines to come up with that one great value bottle, whereas I can usually find a good $50 in a few tries. See above for some of my favorites.
I have to say this might change every week depending on the weather, the occasion and needed food pairing. This week, I would hands down choose the Uvaggio Vermentino.
With a bit of good weather and all the fish I’ve been eating lately, this wine has been heavenly and couldn’t be a better value!