• I cut coupons, cook food at home often, look for the cheapest prices, and try desperately to find quaffable wine that won’t break the bank.

    This post is going to be all about the latter.

    Here are a dozen wines that aim to please:



    Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc – Viognier 2012



    Robert Parker gave it 90 points:

    “This delicious 65,000-case blend of 79% Chenin Blanc and 21% Viognier was aged in stainless steel. (I never knew there was this much Chenin Blanc grown in California!) It exhibits a big, sweet nose of ripe melons, white peaches and apricots as well as crisp acids and a crunchy, succulent mouthfeel. The result is a delightful white wine that could be served as an aperitif or with an assortment of sushi, sashimi or baked fish. Enjoy it over the next year.”

    This wine has impressed me year after year, and some places sell it for as low as $8.95. For a 90 point Robert Parker that already has my blessing you can’t go wrong.



    Segura Viudas Brut Rosé



    This wine is available most places for under $10

    Wine Spectator:

    “A base note of toasted almond mixes with creamy black currant, black licorice and candied lemon zest notes in this lively rosé.”

    Wine & Spirits gave it:

    “This simple rose has a Beaujolais-like fruit character, with tart cherry and red berry flavors integrated into a leesy finish. Chill it for chorizo.”



    2011 Heron California Chardonnay


    I met Laely Heron a few years back. She was very down to earth and wanted feedback on what people thought. Her wine has a cult following because its consistent and fits our price point at $10.

    “We are one of the few wineries in California not using malolactic  fermentation on Chardonnay because we prefer the natural bright acidity of the grape. The result? This vintage shows pure chardonnay fruit: bright citrus, peach and pear aromas and flavor – not overoaked – it is elegantly balanced.”



    Ballard Lane 2010 Sauvignon Blanc

    Wine Enthusiast gave 88 points for this $10 gem.

    The winemaker’s notes:

    Floral aromas, orange blossom and citrus notes on the nose. Flavors of green apple, pears and grapefruit on the palate. The good acidity balances the crisp mouthfeel, with a lingering finish.


    Acrobat Pinot Gris 2011 Oregon



    This one pushes the $10 limit to like $10.99, but I let it squeak in cause it’s tasty.

    Wine Spectator
    89 points, BEST BUY

    “Light and refreshing, with melon and apricot flavors on an open frame. Drink now. 51,000 cases made. From Oregon.”


    Now for some reds..


    Di Majo Norante Sangiovese 2011



    This one can be found all over the place for $10 or less.

    The Wine Advocate gives this wine points in the high 80s or low 90s every year. It boasts strawberry and raspberry on the palate a touch of brick on the nose and a nice balance of acid, weight and tannins. This wine is an incredible old world deal.



    2011 Borsao “Tinto Seleccion” Garnacha Campo de Borja



    90 points from the Wine Advocate

    He goes on quite a rant for this $7.99 wine. I left it all in just to impress upon you how good it is for the price!

    “Another outstanding effort is the 2011 Tinto, a blend of 85% Grenache (called Garnacha in Spain) and 15% Tempranillo that is fermented and aged in stainless steel. Possibly the single greatest dry red wine value in the world, this is an unbelievable wine. And don’t complain that you can’t find any, as there are 15,000 cases available, and any wine retailer worth his weight should be stockpiling this wine next to the cash register. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by classic aromas of kirsch liqueur intermixed with raspberries, loamy soil and flowers. This medium to full-bodied wine possesses remarkable depth, an expansive texture and wonderful freshness as well as purity. On taste alone, this beauty could easily sell for $30-50 a bottle… This is a marvelous consumer resource for high quality wines selling at absurdly low prices. I often ask myself, if I had known wines like this existed when I began my career 33 years ago, would I have even considered trying to find great wines at low prices? Bodegas Borsao, which was founded in 1958, owns 3,700 acres in what is one of the emerging, super quality, realistically priced wine regions of not only Spain, but all of Western Europe, Campo de Borja. The soils tend to be dominated by a white chalkiness with considerable alluvial gravel and pebbles. The climate is continental, meaning extremely hot summers and cold winters with some influence from the nearby Ebro River.”



    Line 39 Petite Sirah 2010 North Coast



    Wine Enthusiast gave this $10 wine 87 points

    “A delightfully easy-drinking Petite Sirah with cherry fruit and licorice overriding a subtle note of tobacco. Drink now.”



    Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages 2011



    This entry level Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape. I love that the vines grew in pink granite.

    It rolls in around $10.99, but worth all those extra pennies.

    The winemaker’s notes:

    “A truly convivial wine. Owing to the careful blending of various terroirs, the result is a wine of great charm. It has a lovely raspberry colour and a brilliant hue.  The nose is both refined and intense, with notes of violet, peony and red fruit syrup. As you drink it, it feels fresh and silky. Both freshness and fruit remain for quite a long time on the palate”



    Viu Manent 2010 Merlot Colchagua, Chile



    Anything by this producer is worth the cost. They have entry level wines that run about $6-8. The reserva line is around $10.

    Tasting Notes:
    This wine is a deep dark cherry-red in color. Intense and complex on the nose, with red fruit notes of cherries and raspberries and a subtle note of pepper. The fruit is accompanied by light notes of vanilla and chocolate from the barrel aging. With outstanding notes of tart red fruit on the palate, smooth tannins, and a liveliness that leads to a very enjoyable finish. Drink immediately or hold up to 3 years.




    2011 Robert Mondavi ‘Private Selection’ Cabernet Sauvignon



    It fights the 10 dollar border, but for a Central Coast Cab the price is amazing.

    The wineries tasting and pairing notes:

    Aromas: Red cherry, red plum, and blackberry with a hint of spice
    Flavors: Cherry and blueberry with smoky oak and vanilla
    Texture: Smooth with a long finish
    Pair Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon with: Grilled steak, spare ribs, lasagna, or hard cheeses