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Journal of No. 118

June 18th, 2009

Dependable House Wines (& a house whine) @ 09:22 am

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bellwethr's continuing adventures in lousy French wines from TJ's got me thinking...

What are the dependable cheap-ish wines that you go back to over and over? Post your favorites. Off the top of my head, these are things I go for with a good quality/price ratio at TJ's. Of course, for many of them the price is so low, the quality doesn't have to be that good to get a good ratio...
Some of these have definitely had off-years, but whatever's on the shelf now is acceptable.

Cline Zinfandel
Castoro Cellars Cab
Honeymoon Viognier
Lorca Pinot Noir
Trader Joe's Reserve Petite Verdot (a recent find)
Santa Rita Cab and Reserve Cab
Any of the Domain Ste Michelle sparklers
Piper Sonoma sparkling white

I used to like the Italian wines from D'Aquino Gaetano, but they've been kinda crummy for the past couple years, in my opinion.

There used to be an Australian GSM (grenache, syrah, mourvedre) that I loved, but I haven't seen it in ages.

The good news: the county doesn't think our house has lost that much value.
The bad news: that means they won't be reducing our property taxes.
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Date:June 18th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
Only one I go back to frequently is the Firestone Riesling. Good for salads, Asian food
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Date:June 18th, 2009 07:10 pm (UTC)

I don't know what your friend's been drinking, but I have two favorites. One is the bordeaux Chateau Mayne Guyon (I usually stock up at TJ's when I see it) and the other's name escapes me. It's one of those "I know the label when I see it" things. I'll look it up when I get home, but it's one of the $14.99 bottles that tastes more expensive.
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Date:June 19th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)

The other is Chateau Patache d'Aux. Really good. I brought a bottle to a high-falutin' New Year's dinner and its contents disappeared in two seconds, with everyone examining the label.

I suspect people don't know the good wines at TJs because they never lived with a Frenchman. ;)
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Date:June 18th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
I don't go to TJs for wine, in fact I usually avoid that place. I'm getting turned around though, as I've been there twice now for some serious shopping-for-a-party. But still haven't picked up any wine there. There is no price low enough to tolerate Two Buck Chuck.

However, I've been exploring the wine selection at Fresh & Easy, though I've nearly exhausted my search. Off the top of my head (because I don't keep notes on value wines, only more moderately priced stuff I find at a tastings) the Gnarly Head zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon are decent and worth the price. If I were standing in the aisle I could tell you more.
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Date:June 18th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
For sparkling wine my mother swears by the one in the black bottle with the gold text. Personally I like local wines and smaller vineyards. As these are often tax shelters, so you can get quality wine dirt cheap.

Journal of No. 118