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Rebel Rose

Best / Worst "Budget" Wines

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Now that my wine budget has plummeted into the $5 range, I find myself leaning on a steady supply of boxed Vella Chardonnay. Reasonable, potable and consistent.

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If $5-$6 is the ceiling, I'm really digging La Bamba winery's Chenin Blanc as well as their Malbec and their Cabernet Sauvignon.  I have no idea on pricing or availability of those bottles outside of Latin America, though….

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Not a white drinker, as a rule, but I do go to Bota Box for my budget wines. Their Pinot Grigio is quite acceptable. I generally keep their Old Vine Zinfandel on hand.

 

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I enjoy Gallo Vermouth. It is very tasty, and I cook fish in the white.

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Do you have Trader Joe's neaby?  They have a lot of wines that cost around 5 dollars.  My favorite is Gruner Veltliner from Hungary for 5.99 (OK it is a little over 5 dollars).

 

World Market often has sale on purchases of four bottles or more, like extra 25% off, and I found a lot of drinkable cheap wines there.  Discount applies even to their clearance wines.

 

 

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1 hour ago, chefmd said:

My favorite is Gruner Veltliner from Hungary for 5.99 (OK it is a little over 5 dollars)

 

That Hungarian Grüner Veltliner is one I like, too.  I just picked up a few bottles and it is $4.99 at TJ's here in So Cal.  It's dry with a nice crisp acidity and I think it tastes a bit more interesting than some of the inexpensive sauv blancs that seem mostly like lemon-water.

TJ's is carrying some boxed Australian wines at $11.99/3 liters. I've only tried the Shiraz and it was drinkable although not terribly interesting.  I've recently been drinking some older bottles that I purchased at various winery visits over the years and was "saving for special."  I decided I was special enough to drink them but it does make younger, inexpensive wines seem lacking in contrast to the older bottles.

Scanning the bottom shelves, I picked up two $3.99 reds at TJ's that I've had in years past to see how they are.  I'll report back on them.   

 


Edited by blue_dolphin clarity (log)

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I generally find inexpensive (OK, cheap) white wines to be more palatable than reds.  Chilling white wine well also helps.  And of course there is MR if you like bubbles.

 

Also TJ Lambrusco is nice.
.

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I used to very much like the Gato Negro wines that I could get in Washington State.  At the time their wines ran around $3/750ml bottle at the grocery store.  This was years ago, and no doubt the price has gone up, but I'd try the label again if I were to see it. I remember a red (merlot? blend?), but I think they also offered a white that we liked.

 

Edited to add: I second kayb's recommendation of the Bota Box Pinot Grigio.


Edited by Smithy (log)

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The best, more reliable, relatively cheap ($9-12USD) per bottle are from Columbia Crest. I've never had a bad wine from them, and you can usually find them in grocery stores.

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1 hour ago, Orbit said:

The best, more reliable, relatively cheap ($9-12USD) per bottle are from Columbia Crest. I've never had a bad wine from them, and you can usually find them in grocery stores.

 

Yes, they make decent wines, as does its current parent, Chateau Ste Michelle. However, CSM is owned by Altria (former name: Philip Morris Companies), whose primary business was, and continues to be, tobacco. As addressed elsewhere in the forums, the intersection of food/beverages and ethics/politics is fraught, to say the least.

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Most of my budget faves are hitting the $9-$12 range now. However, I have been able to get good things (random selections) from Total Wine and BevMo! off their discount shelves. If you don't mind drinking Christmas cheer bottles in January, good deals are to be had in the back of the store.

 

Bevmo! also sells re-packed cases, in plain cardboard boxes (no peeking), of random single beers (ones they normally only sell as 6-packs) for $16 here. They just save up all of the leftover beer when a bottle or two breaks in a 6-pack, then box it when they have 24. You cannot see what you're getting, but, they are always premium bottles -generally from beers which would sell for $8+ per 6-pack, if they had a full 6-pack.

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