Tag Archives: Wine Under $10

Aces & Eights

5 Nov

Ok, I’m not really going to talk about the dead man’s hand in poker, a game I enjoy but would never make into a career. I’m referring to, as you’ve already gleaned,  eight dollar wines that are an excellent value.

Here’s an example: perhaps you’ve noticed how much I like Vino Verde. These are great value wines from Portugal that are crisp, refreshing whites that still haven’t broken through the mainstream of wine pop culture. The good news is that wine lovers who are looking for great value have a wonderful resource that is plentiful,  downright cheap (my local wine store has two great vino verdes,  at $6 and $7!) and they store well for a year or more, so buying a case is a smart move if you have room.

Allow me introduce you to two more wines like that, from different parts of the globe.

 

From Austria, Forstreiter’s ”Grooner” Gruner Veltliner 2012, $8.49 from Garnet Wine, 12% ABV.

This gruner demonstrates a color of light straw with a hint of green and a nose of grapefruit and orange peel. There is a gently tart, citrus mouthfeel with nice acidity, making this an easy wine to drink by itself or with food. Like pinot grigio, riesling, and sauvignon blanc, the gruner veltliner is often sold as a summer white but can be perfect year-round with proper pairing or the drinker’s mood. I find this “Grooner” and the lovely kerner and gruner’s I’ve reviewed recently to be ideal fall wine when you have the late day sun on your face and feel a nip in the air. Crisp and fresh, there is less apple in this wine which suits me perfectly, given that it’s apple-picking time and that flavor abounds currently.

Did I mention the price? The Forstreiter came in on sale at $8.49, marked down from the retail price of 9.99 in Manhattan. Talk about bang for the buck! Gruner Veltliner has made my short list for an upcoming party as an easy to drink, people-pleaser as opposed to my classic French ‘attitude’ wines.

 

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Not to be outdone… from Austria down to South Africa!

 

 

Much further south we find “Little J” Red 2010 from Joostenberg Wines, South Africa;  $8 at Garnet Wine, 14% ABV.

This is a western cape blend featuring a deep violet color and nose of cassis with a hint of road tar. In the mouth, black cassis and boysenberry collides with cherry, on the front palate and dusty green vines, old wood and gravelly schist following after.  The medium-length finish matches the medium body but the wine has a nice edge of acidity to pair with food and tannins to have your mouth ask for more.

I tried this with savory cheeses, mexican, chinese food, and hearty meat dishes and found it stood up to all, perhaps not enhancing the flavors but matching them note for note. A side note, Joostenberg is certified organic in both the USA and Europe, the screwcap is emblazoned with “Certified Integrity and Sustainability Wine & Spirit Board,  www.swsa.co.za for those who want to delve into the specifics.  For me, an $8 bottle of wine that is a good vin du table and stands up to just about any food is a great value and a good resource.

 

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So there are three of my “Aces & Eights”. Please click on the comment button below, or hit me on twitter at @jvbuncorked and share your suggestions with me!

 

à votre santé!

Wines for Indian Summer

14 Oct

Hirsch Grüner Veltliner ’09, Austria. From Garnet Wines & Liquors, $14. 11.5% ABV.

The bottle is comical: green screwcap with red and white top, a childlike, handmade drawing of an inverted moose wearing an 1920’s bathing suit, holding a winged wineglass right side up.

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While it is a funny label, I admit that had I seen this in the store, I would probably have ignored it based on my tendency to write off silly labels. So be glad I didn’t, instead I ordered this directly from the store as part of a mixed case for my personal tasting. The bottle enhances the green color, but in the glass the wine is a yellow straw with a gentle green tint. The delicate nose is mostly grapefruit and lemon peel with a note of sunflower, the mouthfeel is citrus with green pepper, sweetness hiding underneath the acidity and a long mineral finish. This is the alps’s answer to sauvignon blanc, done beautifully. I plan to find more good value grüners like this one and work on pairing notes! 

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Gazela Vino Verde 2012, Portugal. From Mayfair Wine, $6/bottle. 9% ABV

Greenish yellow tint, with lime and daffodil on the nose. Tart lime, granny smith apple peel, and soft, white peach undertones round out the palate with tiny bubbles. Tasty. At these prices, why aren’t we all drinking Vino Verde with a first course at dinner? Another great value that is worth trying.

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Saumon, King Ferry Winery, 2012.  King Ferry, NY.  $18/bottle at Local Farmer’s Market, as low as $10/bottle online.

Color: bright pink with orange accents. The nose has wildflowers and pink cotton candy showing the sweet side of this blend. In the mouth I experienced strawberry, watermelon, hints of halite, stone, and granite. A medium-to-short finish ends tart, with the mouth enjoying the blend and ready for another sip.  Other than being price-gouged at the local farmer’s market (I paid double the winery price! Boy did I feel foolish when I found the MSRP price online) I enjoyed this rosé. If I had purchased it at the winery price, it would be a good value. I’m still happy to support local wines and the local market, and this is the first New York wine I’ve shown on UnCorked!

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à votre santé!

When Silly Labels Sell Wine

4 Jul

Rex Goliath Pinot Noir (no marked vintage), Madera, CA

Purchased at Mayfair Wine, $7/bottle; 12.5% ABV.

I usually don’t fall for the cutesy/silly labels, but this one got me. A giant 47 pound rooster on the label? Really? What marketing/ad exec thought that was a good idea? I think it was someone who doesn’t take themselves so seriously, while they make sophomoric phallic references. But I was amused,  so I asked the proprietor what he knew about it. He said, plainly, “For the money, you can’t go wrong.”

Light garnet in color with a cherry cola nose. Plenty of bing cherry fruit up front on the palate featuring a hint of vanilla and a slight note on the finish of toasted oak. This is a basic and easy-going pinot noir that doesn’t have those often found ‘too bright, too acidic’ flaws one experiences in many other cheaper pinots. Gentle, simple, and  straightforward, this is a solid value assuming it proves to be consistent over time. While the lack of any vintage marking is always a worry for me, at this price it should be easy to keep in stock and pick it up locally. And John is right,  for the money, you really can’t go wrong.

The link to the winemaker’s website is here.

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à votre santé!

The Summer Breeze in Wine: Vinho Verde!

15 Jun

One of my favorite wines that is still WAY under the radar is Vinho Verde. One of Portugal’s lesser-known exports, this is a fresh, crisp wine (often with a little carbonation) that is delicious, perfect to cleanse the palate or enjoy at a cocktail party, and is super inexpensive. Best yet, unlike my other under-the-radar favorites, this one is easy to find in most stores.

Today’s vinho verde is Alianca , a delicate ‘vinho branco’ (or white wine) blend from Northeastern Portugal that is 10% alcohol by volume. With a classic greenish-yellow tinge in color, the citrus nose sits between lime and grapefruit. This one is gently fizzy, with good, crisp acidity on the mouth and a dry, balanced palate of lemongrass, citrus, granny smith apple and young anjou pear.

 

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I pulled this out of my fridge at the last minute for a neighbor’s backyard get-together. My hope of using this to introduce several friends to vinho verde went over well, and it was quite popular, and perfect like a summer breeze.

Here’s the real kicker- I found it locally (Mayfair Wines & Liquor for those in my area of NYC) and it was $7/bottle. Seven bucks. Against my favorite $30+ Sauvignon Blanc, this is the one that everyone wanted more of at the cocktail party.

I suggest you find a local wine store, ask for a vinho verde, and try it with unsuspecting friends! See what they think- you might surprise them, with something new they’ll thank you for!

à votre santé!

 

 

 

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