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Great Wine $15-30


Joe H
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Luigi Bosca 2002 Malbec D. O. C. is an outstanding Argentinian red; full bodied, delicious, drinks like a wine that costs twice as much. It retails for $20.99. The Wine Cabinet in Reston sells it with a 10% case discount which brings it down to $18.89. If you can put together a group who is willing to buy with volume they will go as high as 20% off with a 10 case purchase. A group of us where I live pool a purchase and have bought this much or more in the past to take advantage of the discount. This brings this wine down to $16.79 which is an incredible bargain. Randy, the owner, will do this for virtually every wine in his store. This includes Rust ev Vrede which is an outstanding South African that can retail in the high 30's. Twenty per cent off of his list price is in the high 20's.

Costco from time to time has some real values. 2003 Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Cab was $16.99 a couple of months ago. They've since restocked and raised it to $18.99 but this is a wine that retails in the low to mid 20's-even higher at Harris Teeter. Elderton is an outstanding shiraz, well worth $22.99 at Costco.

Marquis Phillips 2003 Shiraz is deep and full, probably in the high teens. Magruders sometimes offers this as a virtual loss leader around $14.99 or so. Reston's Wine Cabinet carries Jim Barry the Lodge Hill as well as well as Joel Gott (California) 2003 Cab, both for $17.99. With the case discount there's 10% off of this and, with real volume, you can bring these down into the $14 range.

Zora once alerted me to Costco carrying Clos Apalta in their Pentagon store (the largest wine selection of all area Costcos). They sold out in three days. Point is that Costo does occasionally receive some very interesting wines. The previous year's Clos Apalta was the #2 wine of the year in the Wine Spectator.

In Virginia I am partial to stores like Arrowine and the Wine Cabinet. They both have eccentric inventories and will work with customers to sell at the best possible price. Total, for what I would call "basic labels" on sale can be very, very competitive, like Chateau Souverain Cab by the case which is about $15 or so. Giant and Harris Teeter, among others, are up in the mid 20's or so for this.

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Marquis Phillips 2003 Shiraz is deep and full, probably in the high teens.  Magruders sometimes offers this as a virtual loss leader around $14.99 or so.

I like this wine myself and according to wineaccess.com CW has it for $14.97.

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Luigi Bosca 2002 Malbec D. O. C. is an outstanding Argentinian red; full bodied, delicious, drinks like a wine that costs twice as much.

Is this wine the reserva? 2002 was a superb year for Mendoza wines. Rivaling or surpassing the Luigi Bosca, is Broquel 2002 Malbec. Had a bottle with dinner last night, in fact. Available at Daily Planet for approx. $16.99/bottle. I'm looking for a partner to share a case, if anyone has interest.

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Is this wine the reserva?  2002 was a superb year for Mendoza wines.  Rivaling or surpassing the Luigi Bosca, is Broquel 2002 Malbec.  Had a bottle with dinner last night, in fact.  Available at Daily Planet for approx. $16.99/bottle.  I'm looking for a partner to share a case, if anyone has interest.

It is NOT the reserve. The bottle says D. O. C. Malbec on it. The Wine Cabinet had a tasting a couple of weeks ago where a number of Argentinian wines were featured. I liked the reserve but the D. O. C. was awesome! Broquel is really good, too. Magruder's usually has this on sale in the low teens. But I do think the D. O. C. 2002 is several steps up. Several friends of mine who shared in this agreed-in fact we kept going back to "double check" our decisions of which wines to buy!

Edited by Joe H
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It is NOT the reserve.  The bottle says D. O. C. Malbec on it.  The Wine Cabinet had a tasting a couple of weeks ago where a number of Argentinian wines were featured.  I liked the reserve but the D. O. C. was awesome!  Broquel is really good, too.  Magruder's usually has this on sale in the low teens.  But I do think the D. O. C. 2002 is several steps up.  Several friends of mine who shared in this agreed-in fact we kept going back to "double check" our decisions of which wines to buy!

I don't know anything about its availability, but the Luigi Bosca 2002 Cabernet Reserva is also a winner.

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Luigi Bosca 2002 Malbec D. O. C. is an outstanding Argentinian red; full bodied, delicious, drinks like a wine that costs twice as much.  It retails for $20.99.  The Wine Cabinet in Reston sells it with a 10% case discount which brings it down to $18.89.  If you can put together a group who is willing to buy with volume they will go as high as 20% off with a 10 case purchase.  A group of us where I live pool a purchase and have bought this much or more in the past to ta

Speaking of Malbecs, Melipal Malbec (2003) is great. It normally retails around $15, but wineaccess just got a few cases and was selling it for $11.99. Definately worth it even with the shipping fee, but they may be out of it already.

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An outstanding wine store.  I also cannot say enough about "Pepe" and his bang on opinions on red wine. He must drink a lot to know so much!

I agree that Pepe is a great resource at CW, but if you happen to be looking for Spanish wines seek out Howard.

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I rocked 2 from Arrow this Sunday...'02 Jo Pithon Anjou "Les Pepinieres" for $18 or $19 - killer expression of chenin, baked apple, spice, enamel cleansing acidity, and '03 Jose Parientes Varietal Verdejo, super floral, bright fruit, minerality, perfect wine for the heat, like $17 or so.

Fresh Fields on 14th and P was selling 1999 Produttori Barbaresco "Moccagatta" for $29.99, so that counts too I guess. Prunes, roses, tar, fennel/licorice, if there's any left when I get back there, there won't be any left.

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There are still many Chateauneuf-du-Papes available for less than $30. In that price range, I particularly like Domaine Bois de Boursan, Paul Autard, and Pegu to name a few. I would have loved to add Vieux Telegraph and Beaucastel to this list, but unless someone knows where to find them in this price range, please let me know.

The Spanish are offering some wonderful wines in this range. My favorite Spanish red at this time is Prima, it hits at the bottom of this range. I would also recommend Muga Reserve if you can find it, it costs about $30 a bottle, and worth every penny.

While it is just outside of the $30 top end, I should mention that one of the best Champagnes that you can find for less than $70 is Delamotte NV, I just picked up a six pack for $31 a bottle, and would have gotten more, but it was the last six bottles. I am sure that I will come up with more as I think about it.

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FWIW, Marquis Phillips wines, on their low end offerings at least, are basically cough syrup, IMO.

Now the 2001 Zenato Ripassa Valpolicella Superiore is wonderful and it goes for $18-20 if you can still find it (should not be toooo hard, just look a little). The 2003 should also be good (none made in 2002).

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I should mention that one of the best Champagnes that you can find for less than $70 is Delamotte NV, I just picked up a six pack for $31 a bottle, and would have gotten more, but it was the last six bottles.  I am sure that I will come up with more as I think about it.

D&M Wine out of San Fran has it for $26.99 a bottle and they ship if you live in an area that allows for delivery

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Steve, I've had the Muga Reserve. Once. It was delicious. I'll look for the Prima but somehow it seems to me that it's a plain white label with black and red printing on it. Am I right? It was about $15-18 at Calvert Woodley and absolutely delicious.

Ah, Valpolicella! When the American dollar was .83 to the Euro I remember my wife and I going to Verona and Venice and drinking Dal Forno and Quintarelli every night for a week or so. In Soave, a beautiful walled city midway between Verona and Vicenze, Dal Forno Valpolicella was E 32 ($27 at the time-now about $120 here!). Quintarelli was in the E mid 20's (like $20 a bottle!!!).

I no longer drink those wines but if the American dollar strengthens....

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You are correct about the Prima label. You can generally find it for between $15 and $20. The winemaker was in town in June along with some of the hottest Spanish winemakers. They will be back next year for a barrel tasting and grand dinner, I will keep you posted.

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There are still many Chateauneuf-du-Papes available for less than $30.  In that price range, I particularly like Domaine Bois de Boursan, Paul Autard, and Pegu to name a few.  I would have loved to add Vieux Telegraph and Beaucastel to this list, but unless someone knows where to find them in this price range, please let me know.

I don't think that you'll ever be able to find the top end Beaucastel for anywhere near $30. Total Wine right now is carrying the 2001 Coudoulet de Beaucastel for $23. I've enjoyed the Rhone wines from this vintage.

As a side note, my recent foray through the 2003 Rhone wines has been extremely disappointing. A vintage to skip IMO.

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Are you sure it was '03 and not '02? The '03's I have had have been quite nice, not as good as '98 or 2000, but almost as good as '01. '02 was a complete dog and should be avoided at all cost. The Southern Rhone valley experienced flooding at harvest time, and with few exceptions were not able to get the fruit in before the rains.

As for Beaucastel, their CdP is well outside of this price range. The Coudoulet de Beaucastel (a Cotes du Rhone) is a fabulous wine and should be considered for this list. With the exception of anything from '02 I would recommend almost anything from the Rhone Valley in the price range, whether it is a Gigondas, a CdP, St. Joseph's, Lirac or Cornas.

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Just as the '02s were pretty "soggy" tasting, I am finding the '03s that I've tried to be consistently "burnt" -- thin with a definite alcohol taste.

Granted, these are mostly wines in the under $10 range, but some from producers I've tried and enjoyed before, reliable importers (Kysela, Kacher, for example), and bought at Total Wine so care has been at least adequate. I'll report more as I continue to slosh my way through. I'll have to look at my notes to give exact details.

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I just opened a bottle of '99 BV Rutherford cab which I bought a case of after the wine show at the Reagan building about two and one half or so years ago. It's been stored properly but it's a bit acidic. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am-this should be drinking very nicely now.

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The Spanish are offering some wonderful wines in this range.  My favorite Spanish red at this time is Prima, it hits at the bottom of this range. 

Good call on the Prima. I also like Beryna and Las Rocas, both of which are at the bottom end of the price range. Can't beat Spain for price/value!

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I rocked 2 from Arrow this Sunday...'02 Jo Pithon Anjou "Les Pepinieres" for $18 or $19 - killer expression of chenin, baked apple, spice, enamel cleansing acidity, and '03 Jose Parientes Varietal Verdejo, super floral, bright fruit, minerality, perfect wine for the heat, like $17 or so.

Fresh Fields on 14th and P was selling 1999 Produttori Barbaresco "Moccagatta" for $29.99, so that counts too I guess. Prunes, roses, tar, fennel/licorice, if there's any left when I get back there, there won't be any left.

thanks for the recommendations. they were just what the doctor ordered to perk up a couple of old winos. i especially enjoyed the jo pithon anjou, my wife was partial to the verdejo. it looked like there were four bottles of the moccagatta on the shelf at whole foods yesterday.

thanks also for the opportunity to discover a great wine and cheese shop in virginia, which is off our beaten path.

hope you can make some more wine picks soon.

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I am pretty imressed with the Mount Eden West slope 2003 Chardonnay. It is edna Valley juice, barrel fermented with great acidity and not too much oak. You can get it for $18 or so. Circle had an older vintage so they might have this one.

Begali Valpolicella, Tomasso Busola BG Valpolicella are both availble fromt heir distributors and pretty fabulous.

Coming into town shortly are the 2003 Rosso di Montalcinos. They are pretty amazing. I have had Argiano, Ciacci Piccolomini, Pertimali, Agostina Pieri and all are fantastic buys and all should be available for about 30 or less.

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Good call on the Prima.  I also like Beryna and Las Rocas, both of which are at the bottom end of the price range.  Can't beat Spain for price/value!

I found a bottle of Muga Reserve yesterday. This is the kind of wine that I look forward to trying: not one that I would typically look for, highly regarded and fairly difficult to find. About $29 with mixed case discount at the Wine Cabinet in Reston.

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I found a bottle of Muga Reserve yesterday.  This is the kind of wine that I look forward to trying:  not one that I would typically look for, highly regarded and fairly difficult to find.  About $29 with  mixed case discount at the Wine Cabinet in Reston.

CW has the Muga Reserva for $18.99 a bottle this week's sale which is focused on Spanish Wines.

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With my last post on this there was a very real sense of anticipation and, perhaps, excitement. Now, a week later, my only memory is of one very disappointing wine whether $18 or $29. The Primus which Sthitch mentioned earlier was much better; given the price it was a steal.

C/W often has specials or sales that blow away what can be found most anywhere else. I was introduced to the Primus by Pepe whose opinion seems to mirror my own. On my next trip back (I live in Reston) I will look for the Primus, not the Muga Reserve. Still, wines like this are exciting (for lack of a better word) to try. I had an Argentinian last night at Rock Creek that was excellent, a collaboration between Rothschild and Catena.

Sometimes there is disappointment. Othertimes, such as last night, the "risk" (for lack of a better word) is well rewarded.

Edited by Joe H
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THe Muga Reserve that you mention is still very young and tight(get your mind out of the gutter). It probably wont start showing it's stuff for another 2-3 years.

I agree it is still young and tight, but after about two hours in a decanter it starts to show nicely. I wish I had room to keep a wine at this price around until it was properly aged, unfortunately I don't, so I have to help them along and drink them early.

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While it is just outside of the $30 top end, I should mention that one of the best Champagnes that you can find for less than $70 is Delamotte NV, I just picked up a six pack for $31 a bottle, and would have gotten more, but it was the last six bottles.  I am sure that I will come up with more as I think about it.

Popped open a bottle of Delamotte NV a couple of weeks ago and I echo Sthitch's opinion of it being a great value. Definately better than the usual suspects in that price range. I got it for $26.99 a pop from D&M out of San Fran.

Edited by alan7147
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A few more wines I enjoy in this price range:

2004 Falanghina Di San Gregorio - This is a light white with a nice floral and pear aroma. We call this our artichoke wine, as it goes splendidly with a roasted artichoke dish that I make. If you wish to splurge, this same company makes a wonderful wine called Serpico.

2002 S.A. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett (say that 3 times fast) - A wonderful off dry Riesling from Mosel-Saar-Ruwer with peach and lemon flavors. It is a great match for Thai food. S.A. Prum also makes a great wine called Slate that has the flavor of the regions slate.

2001 Hanenhof Blend - This mixture of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc is a wonderful treat at the very bottom of this price range. It is not a fruit bomb like its other Australian brothers, but has a little more finesse. It is filled with red fruits, and chocolate. This wine is imported by Epicurean Wines out of Seattle. I love this organization, and am a big fan of David Forziati their national sales rep, even though he is the SOB who caused me to become enamored with Rhone wines, and my bank account has not recovered yet.

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2004 Falanghina Di San Gregorio - This is a light white with a nice floral and pear aroma.  We call this our artichoke wine, as it goes splendidly with a roasted artichoke dish that I make.

This has been one of my favorite whites this summer. Costco Pentagon City is selling it for $12.99.

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2003 Shotfire Ridge Shiraz received 93 points from the Wine Spectator in an issue received today. Magruder's on Connecticut ave near Chevy Chase circle has 11 cases left @ $13.99 a bottle (@2:30 Saturday afternoon). The Wine Spectator notes its list price at $20. (Thanks, Zora for introducing me to this.)

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2003 Shotfire Ridge Shiraz received 93 points from the Wine Spectator in an issue received today.  Magruder's on Connecticut ave near Chevy Chase circle has 11 cases left @ $13.99 a bottle (@2:30 Saturday afternoon).  The Wine Spectator notes its list price at $20.  (Thanks, Zora for introducing me to this.)

This is a very good wine and this is the best price that I've ever heard on it.

I was in on Saturday and also noticed that they had the 2001 Coudolet Beaucastel on sale at $25 (had been as much as $32 there).

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I've gone through a 1/2 case of San Guisto a Rentennano 2001 Chianti Classico so far and every bottle has been very good. About $24. And for an unforgettable Dolcetto, try Chionetti's Dolcetto from the Briccollero vineyard. Also about $24, and one of the best kept secrets from Piedmont. :lol:

(and no, I don't sell these wines)

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2003 Shotfire Ridge Shiraz received 93 points from the Wine Spectator in an issue received today.  Magruder's on Connecticut ave near Chevy Chase circle has 11 cases left @ $13.99 a bottle (@2:30 Saturday afternoon).  The Wine Spectator notes its list price at $20.  (Thanks, Zora for introducing me to this.)

For those not wanting to drive out to Magruder's, Total wine has this at $15.99 ($19.99 regular) with the coupon from the flyer I received in the mail. There is a 24 bottle limit.

Edited by mdt
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For those not wanting to drive out to Magruder's, Total wine has this at $15.99 ($19.99 regular) with the coupon from the flyer I received in the mail.  There is a 24 bottle limit.

It's $11.99 at Corridor (with flyer coupon). I recently had an Evans and Tate Shiraz that's in the same price range that I thought was much better, though.

Edited by cjsadler
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The 2003 Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Ridge Barossa Cuvee, a cab-shiraz blend that is as good if not better than the shiraz is on sale for $10.99 at Paul's in Friendship Heights this week. For some unknown reason, Parker did not revue the 2003, but he rated the 2002 92 pts. (higher than the 2002 shiraz). Parker reviewed the 2003 Shotfire shiraz in October, 2004 and gave it 89 points.

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The 2004 Marquis Phillips has a screw top and, according to reports is the last year for the partnership that produces these wines. The '04 shiraz is a bit "thinner" than the '03 and available for $11.99 in a number of stores.

A REAL FIND: 2002 Gracia Porqueno is a Chilean red that Wegmans (Sterling) is selling for $17.99. Retails for the low 20's. This is the link to their website:

http://www.gracia.cl/en/detalle.asp?id_pro...Id_Categoria=69

This is a big wine that AFTER 30 MINUTES drinks like a $40+ cab. On the label is a reproduction of the Gold Medal it won at the International Wine and Spriit Competition in the UK last year (for this wine, 2002 vintage). It is in the style of Marquis Phillips Shiraz 9 which sells for the mid to high 30's and rated 93 points by the Wine Spectator. This is very, very close to its equal. For $17.99 it is awesome. But the MP Shiraz 9 is an important comparison since it has a "unique" taste. Porqueno is very similar. Some will absoluely love this wine; others will not. But at this price it is well worth a taste. Give it at least 30 minutes after you open it!

Another comparison is the Luigi Bosca DOC; if you tried that and liked it you will like this also.

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The 2003 Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Ridge Barossa Cuvee, a cab-shiraz blend that is as good if not better than the shiraz is on sale for $10.99 at Paul's in Friendship Heights this week. For some unknown reason, Parker did not revue the 2003, but he rated the 2002 92 pts. (higher than the 2002 shiraz). Parker reviewed the 2003 Shotfire shiraz in October, 2004 and gave it 89 points.

I agree that the Cuvee is better. The 2002 Shotfire Ridge Shiraz may be one of the all-time great QPR (quality/price ratio) wines. Amazing value for a low price--I think Parker gave it 93 or 94 points. I bought three cases and they didn't last a year. Every time friends came over, out came a bottle, so they didn't last long. Oh, how I wish I'd kept a few back--the 2002 was much better than the 2003, as it had depth and complexity almost never found in a $15 dollar wine.

I'm hearing that the 2004 shiraz, which is due in a week or two, will be much like the 2002. I'm counting the days..... :lol:

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Good call on the Prima.  I also like Beryna and Las Rocas, both of which are at the bottom end of the price range.  Can't beat Spain for price/value!

I had a barrel sample of the 2004 Prima last night. It was an amazing wine, lushous fruit, and plenty of structure (still a little disjointed, but it is not going to be bottled until late January). It is hard to believe that this is a sub $20 bottle of wine.

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I had a barrel sample of the 2004 Prima last night.  It was an amazing wine, lushous fruit, and plenty of structure (still a little disjointed, but it is not going to be bottled until late January).  It is hard to believe that this is a sub $20 bottle of wine.

Lucky you! Prima is an unbelievable wine for sure - from a great winemaking pedigree. I visited Mauro a few years back & got to sample the Terreus from the barrel. Neat experience!

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I was lucky enough to sample it with Albert Garcia who is the son of the wine maker. Mariano Garcia, the winemaker, was at another table, and this was lucky for me since he does not speak English, and I do not speak Spanish, so his English speaking son was a better dinning companion for me. None of the other wines served that night would fit this category, but they were all fantastic.

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I was lucky enough to sample it with Albert Garcia who is the son of the wine maker.  Mariano Garcia, the winemaker, was at another table, and this was lucky for me since he does not speak English, and I do not speak Spanish, so his English speaking son was a better dinning companion for me.  None of the other wines served that night would fit this category, but they were all fantastic.

Alberto was the one who gave us the tour at the winery when we were in Spain.

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