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budget wine advice for a newbie


syspila
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i'm trying to plan my '04 wine purchases a little more intelligently than in the past, and some advice would be lovely (and yes i realize this topic covers ground uncomfortably close to that of recent other topics). both on general allocation of money to get the best taste for the buck, and on specific wine recommendations if any spring to mind.

so, here is the scenario. i live in tucson, drink reds, and will spend about $600 on 6 cases in'04, all to be drunk in '04.

best to buy super cheap for most (the last trader joe's french market merlot i had was drinkable at 2.99) in order to have a little money to play with quality wines (ie. something like 5 cases @ 50 and 1 case @ 350). or elevate the "house wine" and forgo delving for richer experiences (ie. 6 cases @ 100). or a hybrid strategy somewhere inbetween.

also wondering about riding the new trend in boxed wines, if any are making their way to tucson. anyone tried any?

any thoughts?

i would also love any specific wine recommendations. not neccesarily just great wines. drinkable and dirt cheap might be just as valuable, especially if i go with the former strategy.

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Since your looking for something drinkable this year, I'd stick to Zinfandels, Pinot Noirs, Sangiovese, Merlot and Syrah for domestic reds. There are some really great deals on Zinfandels, Merlots and Sangiovese out there. Your local TJ's should have Luna Merlot and Sangiovese. If not, check out your local Costco. If you strike out at both of those, check online. There is a whole lot of inexpensive Zinfandel out there. I'd suggest trying single bottles of a few and then go get a case of the one you like. Perry Creek's Zin Man should be available under $8. We carry a Contra Costa County winery called Viano. Their Lodi Zinfandel is good and inexpensive under $9.

In whites, I've tasted some really nice Sauvignon Blancs lately. The Kunde Magnolia Lane should be available for under $10 in a store near you. It has great tropical fruit flavors and should be very refreshing chilled on a hot Arizona summer evening. Luna and Seghesio's Pinot Gris are really good too. Under $16 at most places.

If you have trouble finding them locally, check out some of the online stores.

Andy Szmidt

WineMiles.com - great wines! low prices!

The early bird may get the worm. But it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.

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thanks for the suggestions. especially on the zins. i've just been getting ready to give up on the notion of budget zins. from the offerings i've tasted lately, making a drinkable zin for under $7 or so just isn't easy (possible?). i wonder why.

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