x-posted to wineoneone&transcribe
wisdom_seeker asked me for my top 5 wines under $15 usd. i've come up with *seven* here, and will eventually make another installment!
there are many wines under $15 that are delicious, but wading through the treated, chemical-ly, manufactured, 'made-for-marketing' junk is hard work. which is why i'm around! to save you the trouble!
while some of the links i've provided list the prices as a few dollars *over* $15, i've personally never seen any of these priced as such in retail stores. all of them can be found easily for under $15. i'm not going into vintage here because that's another deal altogether, instead, i'm listing wines that i've consistently found to show well, in both good and bad vintage (considering). happy drinking!
* Kurt Darting, Riesling, Durkheimer Michelsberg, Kabinett, Pfalz, Germany
Darting is one of my favorite, consistent German producers for quality & value. while others seemingly go schizophrenic in every vintage- sometimes hitting the mark perfectly, but many time wildly missing- Darting seems to manage it every time. one of the few producers that i can say i truly enjoy almost all of their portfolio. This is a Kabinett, so while it's sweet, it isn't syrupy or cloying. the residual sugar is a perfect stage for the apple, peach, apricot and pear notes to show off, while the acid keeps them all from being stage-brats. yum! delicious with indian and thai foods. retail: $12.-14.00 per bottle.
* Pieropan, Soave Classico, Italy
aww...this was my very first purchase in my first wine-buyer position. sentimentality aside, it's a fun, elegant yet commanding, pleasing wine. with a soft, white-floral and almond nose, and a delicate mouth that perfectly lends itself to the balanced acidity that holds it all together. delicate but constructed, enjoyable from the first sniff to the lovely, uncommon finish. retail: $11.-14.00 per bottle
* Maculan, Pino & Toi, Veneto, Italy
another favorite producer, Maculan's wines are solid bets... most of the time. (i have formerly encountered some bottling issues with the 'Fratta,' but that's another wine and i've never found issue with the delicious, Pino & Toi.) a blend of 3 grapes, the Pino & Toi is tasty-good. notes of green & gold apples, ripe pear, and citrus peel are present in the nose and mouth. a nice acid structure & dry finish always make this wine a solid bet. retail: $10.-14.00 per bottle.
* Chateau D'aqueria, Tavel, Rhone, France
this wine was introduced to me as, 'cherry pie in a glass' and that's how it remains in my brain. for the most part. it's a dry, well-structured wine. every time i have it i think, 'this would be *perfect* with fried chicken. on a picnic. in summer...' yes the nose and mouth elicit cherry pie, but there's also notes of pink melon and white & red strawberries. it has necessary, but not overwhelming acidity and it finishes so well... crisply but with the softness of red fruit and warm earth. so, so tasty... retail: $13.-15.00 per bottle.
*Taurino, Salice Salentino, Puglia, Italy
if i have a "first" wine, this is it. Taurino's Salice got me thorugh all of my underage drinking, and almost single-corkedly created my amateur's palate. my brother found this first at the long-gone 'Espial' restaurant in Chicago. but the wine remains. i've been drinking this on and off for 15 years and it's *still* good. of course, some vintages are better than others and they seemed to go rocky through the '90's, but a recent revisit assures me Taurino's Salice Salentino is back on track, and as tasty as ever. it's Italian + red, so expect full-bodied, high acid, and red-fruit notes, but it's not a one-note wonder; i also get depth with some leather, black olive, black & brown earth, some lead notes and some sage too. this is a difinitive wine for me, and i'm never unhappy to find it in my glass. drinks like a wine that should cost at least a third more. VALUE ALERT! retail: $11.-14.00 per bottle.
* Juan Gil, Jumilla, Spain
this is a wine for you, *POWER REDS!*, lovers out there... 100% Monastrell (a.k.a. Mouvedre), irritating Robert Parker, whose palate was blown long ago, gave this 91 pts., and he should know. the King-Lover of blown-out reds backs this, so it must be a powerhouse! and it is, but not without purpose and merit. 'old vines make dense fruit,' or so i say. this Juan Gil is deep, black fruit, that spends time in used, french oak, so while the oak's there, it doesn't beat you about the face. black and... yes... inky, with warm, stewed, red and black fruit aromas and flavors. goes well with meat! or as i said upon taste and hearing the price, "this is a fucking steal!" i'd been tasting a lot that day so tipsiness abounded, but the fact remains that it's a good value. big. red. deep & chewy. mmm. retail: $11.-13.00.
* Perrin Reserve, Rhone, France
look! many of our rhone-y friends are here: grenache, syrah, + mouvedre = mmm mmm tasty. yes, it's internationally styled and a bit manufactured, but it's also much friendlier and cleaner tasting than more traditional C-d-R's, but that doesn't mean it isn't good... it's just a welcoming ambassador to the Rhone. think of it as remedial Rhone... hey, we all have to start somewhere... lots of ripe red cherry and strawberry flavors with a support-staff of caramel, sage, eucalyptus and reticent baked-brown earth notes. does equally well with red meat and non-red meats like pork, game hen, and chicken. a bargain, too. retail price: $8.-11.00.
now wasn't that fun?!?
go! buy wine! consume it with friends and with a fine, home-cooked meal, which is what it's all about.
(pooh-pooh to you people who say i can't/don't drink cheap wine! pooh-pooh! i drink it all people! fine, good, bad, and trash...)