09 December 2008

Wines of The Times

Everywhere I look, it seems blatantly obvious that everyone wants to capitalize on our Nation's economic recession.  It's all "comfort" this and "for less" that.  

Personally, I haven't needed an economic down turn to enjoy reasonably priced wines for daily and group purposes. Much like many restaurants, I feel it is important to have a "house" wine.  This is perfect for a daily glass with dinner or for round three at a dinner party. 

Wines that qualify become even cheaper with case price discounts and can save you from that embarrassing and frustrating trip to the local market where you have your selection of $3.00 wines priced at $20.00 and none that you've EVER heard of.  Or, wish you hadn't. Recently, I was leafing through the latest edition of Bon Appétit Magazine (The Value Issue) January, when I came across 20 favourite wines for under $10.00.  If a recession gets you discovering affordable wines, then you have made the best of the situation as can be expected. 

Most of the wines I drink are under $20.00, and I would say many come close to the $10.00 mark.  Anytime I drop under that low of a price, it becomes very difficult to find wine that's interesting.  Some things to look for in an inexpensive wine are:

If imported, was it shipped under refrigerated conditions?  (This is crucial, and a non-refrigerated wine is a deal breaker for me).

Is it Biodynamic?  (You would be amazed at how many inexpensive wines are).  Biodynamic wines, for so many reasons, are always preferable, though not a prerequisite.  (More on Biodynamics later).

Don't worry about D.O.C.G. on Italian bottles.  There are many innovative wines coming out of Italy, some that are Biodynamic and some that are experimenting with newer vinting methods, new blends, etc.  These do not get the certification.  Be brave.

And of course, decant.  Always.  No exceptions.  Ever.

Some to look for that you haven't found in any article yet:

Domaine De La Mavette  Cotes Du Rhone  2006 France.
This wine is very broad in character.  It's scope is unmatched from pizza or burgers to Boeuf Vineronne.

Reverdito Barbera d'Alba 2005  Italy. 
Smooth, fruit forward with a peppery finish.  Nice balance.  Excellent for sipping by the fire.

Orenia  Rouge 2006 France.
Hint of pine, immediate balance.  The most delicious of this list.  I had it for the first time today.  I am enamored.

Terra Andina Carmenere 2006 Chile.
My current "House" Wine.  It is served with dinner daily.  My favourite find in the last month.

If you happen to live in Portland Oregon, Call Andy Diaz at The Blackbird Wine Shop.  He can hook you up.  He is located in the NE Alameda District.  Or visit Blackbirdwine.com

Until next time,



  1. My favorite cheap wine is Our Daily Red. I don't know if it satisfies all the criteria (how do you know that it's been refrigerator shipped?) but they always seem to turn out a good bottle of wine at a very reasonable price. And it's organic!

    I also like to buy as local as possible. We have a lot of good wineries in this area, many of which are organic but don't have the money to get certified, and many of which sell for under $20 a bottle.

    Thanks for these other suggestions. I can't wait to try them.


  2. Your criterion of refrigeration isn't obvious to most consumers, but is crucial to this very perishable food--particularly so to reds. It really becomes clear when you buy wine in a tropical country where the refrigeration wasn't door-to-door, and open it to find vinegar. My experience with this is chronicled on my blog from west Africa in an entry, "The wine situation in Niger, with tasting notes":