Not much goes down in price, and we can certainly say that about wine as well. So if we want to Avoid Bad Wine (and we do), then we have to find good wines at lower prices.
And that is what this page is about. Very good wines can be found at affordable prices. I am going to keep a running list of wines that have been deemed to be good values by someone I trust. I have either tasted the wine myself, or I have been reliably advised that the wines were good. First, there will be a list of wineries that are known for producing good wine cheap. Then wines will be categorized first by color, then by grape or location depending on where the wine was made.
A winery will have to offer more than one value priced wine to be on the list. This is by no means a complete list. These wines are all widely available.
Columbia Crest –Washington State
Bogle – California
Chateau Ste. Michelle – Washington State
Castle Rock – California, Oregon
Campo Viejo – Spain
Concannon – California; known mostly for reds
Fetzer – California; Valley Oaks series
Montes – Argentina; Classic series
Norton – Argentina
Casas del Bosque – Chile
Santa Rita – Chile
Hogue – Washington State
Pine & Post – Washington State
Tilia – Argentina
Tic Tok – Wines from Australia
Columbia Crest Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon. Consistently rated in the mid to high 80’s. Usually retails for $7-8. Occasionally found for less on sale. The wine consistently tastes like wines twice the price. Great value.
Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot. Similar value to the Cabernet.
Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon. A notch or two higher in depth and complexity than the Two Vines series. Retails for around $11. This one often tastes like twice the price as well. Excellent value.
Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot. Like the Cabernet, a notch or two higher than the Two Vines series. Also retails for around $11. Can be found in some Big Box stores for less. Washington State is a consistently good place for Merlot.
Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon. A little bigger in style than the Washington wines, this is another great value. The 2008 may be sold out, but it is worth looking for. Retails around $11. Could improve with 3-4 years of cellaring, but I can’t imagine being able to keep it that long.
Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel. A big wine that tastes much more expensive than it is. High in alcohol at 14.8%, this is for lovers of big, no-nonsense wines. Retails around $11.
Casas del Bosque Carmenere. Carmenere is a grape that is now grown primarily in Chile. At one time it was a blending grape in Bordeaux. It is now a very big deal in Chile. This one does not show aggressive tannins, and it drinks well young. Great flavors for the price. Around $13.
Castle Rock Pinot Noir. Castle Rock makes 5 or 6 Pinot Noirs from different areas from California to Oregon. Pinot Noir is a difficult grape to grow and vinify. Location is very important. Somehow Castle Rock buys grapes from the right places and makes excellent wine from them. I have tried 3 of their Pinot Noirs. I recommend any of them. Retail is around $12.
Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon. The current release at this writing is the 2007 Napa. 2007 was a great year for Cabernet in Napa. Not a classic 95 point wine, but this is a very solid 88 point effort according to one source. For about $12, it is hard to beat for a Napa Cabernet.
Columbia Crest Two Vines Chardonnay. Washington wines, both red and white, are generally not as aggressive as their California counterparts. This is true of all of Columbia Crest’s Chardonnay. The Two Vines is usually a mid-80’s ranked wine, clearly a chardonnay, and it goes with several different foods. A bargain at $7-8.
Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay. As with the reds, Grand Estates is a notch or two higher. A little more to this wine, but still not like a California Chardonnay. Usually a high 80’s wine, they are also bargains at $10 -11.
Columbia Crest Two Vines Pinot Grigio. Peaches and flowers, like a Pinot Grigio should have, the current release is an excellent value at around $8.
Columbia Crest Two Vines Riesling. This one is a sweet version, but has some crispness as well. If you like this style, it is a great deal at about $8.
Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling. The dry style is my preference. This one is clearly Riesling; spices, apples, peaches, with some citrus. A refreshing style. Good stuff at about $9
Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc, Horse Heaven Hills. This one is a step up in price at about $15, but it in one of my favorite Sauvignon Blanc based wines in the world. Not overly grapefruity or grassy, but still definitely a Sauv. Blanc. Some of the best Sauvignon Blancs around are made in Washington.
Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde – Portugal. This is actually a higher priced Vinho Verde at $9. They are most often seen at a dollar or two less. Citrusy and floral, Vinho Verde is an excellent value. They are great with seafood, salads, etc. You may have to look for it, but Vinho Verde is widely available.
Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc – Argentina. Less grapefruity than their cousins in New Zealand, Argentinian Sauvignon Blanc is usually pretty good. This is a good example at around $11.