Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Impressive Wines for $20: Part One!

Hi Deweese, 

So earlier this year I had the idea to ask two wine aficionados in my life for their favorite wines under or around $20. I asked them for this because I have a terrible memory when it comes to wines that I like! It seems like whenever Nick and I are headed to a dinner party we have 5 minutes in a wine store to pick out a good wine to bring to the party, and of course my mind goes BLANK and I can't remember a single good wine!

So enter this blog post: I figured if I was going to get the advice I needed in list form, I just HAD to share it with you! I've saved this post until now since everyone is attending and hosting lots of parties this time of year. Also, I always think wine makes a great gift!


Part one comes from Jon, a wonderful friend from college who was even a groomsmen in our wedding! Jon grew up in California, so yeah, he knows his stuff.  Jon loves wine and knows a lot about it. I am always telling him he should become a sommelier.



So here's Jon's list:


  • Decoy (CA) - This is a type of wine that Duckhorn makes.  It's their lower-end brand and all of their wine, including their whites, are very, very good.  They are all about 20-24 bucks.  I specifically like their "Red" which is a blend.  They make a cab, zin, and merlot too.
  • D'Arenberg - Love this Australian label.  Anything they make is fantastic.  Two of my favorites you can get almost anywhere are the "D'Arry's Original" (which is a shiriz/granache blend) and the "Footbolt Shiraz".  Both fantastic wines and both around 15 bucks.  Also, they make wines at around 9-11 bucks called the Stump Jump wines (white top, white label).  There are two reds - the "Stump Jump Red" and the "Stump Jump Shiraz" which are great wines for 10 bucks.
  • Ridge (CA) - Anything they make is very nice.  Lot of blends, lot of zinfandel used.  Some of their wines get up into the $30 range but they are well worth it.  I personally love the Geyserville which is about 28 bucks.  
  • A good, cheap, Italian type of wine to look for is Nero d'Avala.  This is a type of grape and its big, fruity, will taste great with food, and its cheap (10-20 bucks).

 I like Chardonnays, and some good ones for under 20 bucks are:

  • Simi (CA) Chardonnays are great and all between 10 and 20 bucks.
  • Rombauer (CA) makes a great chardonnay but its about 30 bucks
  • I like Sovereign (CA) (no link) Chardonnay which is about 15 bucks
  • And as I listed above Decoy makes a nice chardonnay

BONUS: One brand of wine that must be bought at the vineyard itself...

  • Mazzocco winery They make a ton of single vintage zinfandel's and they are AMAZING.  They make some cabs as well which are very good.  I am a wine member here and get a few shipments a year from them.  Seriously, fantastic.  Price point is from under 20 bucks all the way to 40 pretty much.  VERY good though.  Worth checking out!
Anyway, those are what I am liking right now.  I don't like Merlot and I don't like Pinot Noir so if you want anything from either you need to go someplace else!!! 

Thank you so much, Jon! Also, anyone up for a trip to Sonoma?

Later this month: my dad's picks!

Love,





PS: The wonderful photo of the cork is from the talented derekGavey on Flickr!

6 comments:

  1. Love this idea! We always found ourselves in the same boat, especially during the holiday party circuit. Here's one hot tip: you may not need to spend as much on wine as you think. Check out this recent article in Slate about why we should drink cheaper wine: http://slate.me/u9lcEl

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  2. This is a constant source of stress for me, I'm always standing in the aisle looking dumbfounded. Not anymore! I'm putting this list in my phone right now, goodbye aisle angst! thanks!

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  3. What a good article -- thanks for sharing! I do remember when I was studying abroad in Rome that a glass of house wine was cheaper than a Coke! Also, my family plays a similar game: we all get to try three different priced wines and try to guess which is the $10/bottle, $20/bottle and the $30/bottle. I'm NEVER right, but its fun!

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  4. Such a great idea! I've been buying the same bottle of wine for over a year now (Alamos malbec - delish!) for every event and seriously need to branch out.

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  5. Lucy! I cracked up when I saw this -- I too have been drinking Alamos malbec for at least a year straight! And bringing it to parties, etc. It is a great one that we should keep in rotation!

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  6. Ha, so funny! I was at a dinner party one night and four of us showed up with it, and they all said they didn't think I would actually show up to another dinner with the same bottle!

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