Need List of Good Wines - Printable Version

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- breezo - 07-01-2004 02:02 PM

Can some one give me a list of the 10 best wines in four different price ranges / categories.

Ten Best less than $20
Ten Best greater than $20 and less than $50
Ten Best greater than $50
Ten Best wines regardless of price

Thanks in advance for your help

- Thomas - 07-01-2004 02:12 PM

Ten best by whose and what determination?

- Brom - 07-01-2004 02:21 PM

Yes, a little more criteria please.

That will keep the fights down, especially in the last category: 'The 10 top vintages of Yquem.' 'No, the 10 top vintages of Petrus!' 'What, you gonna leave out Romanee Conti? I oughta...'

- winoweenie - 07-01-2004 05:37 PM

Hi Breezo and welcome to the board. Looks like to me another school assignment. Any time I see something this vague in its' parameters and oblique in its definations normally comes from a teacher who has no idea about the vastness of the question. WW

- Thomas - 07-01-2004 06:00 PM

That's what I thought ww, and why I asked my question.

For those who may not know--we aren't here to do your school homework.

- Kcwhippet - 07-01-2004 07:39 PM

Well breezo, looks like you're not going to get many answers. First off, it'll really take someone ITB to rattle off a bunch of wines in the price ranges you listed, or some real wine geek that takes voluminous notes. Either way, it'll be someone who's willing to delve into their notebooks or memory banks to do your homework for you. One other thing to consider is the word "best." If you asked 10 different wine savvy folks to list their top 10 in your four categories, chances are really, really good that you'll get a list of 400 different wines, or awful close to that.

- californiagirl - 07-01-2004 08:14 PM

One suggestion might be to use ss a reference. Yearly, they post the top 100 wines. You will need to do the research on your own taking this list and adding pricing.

- breezo - 07-02-2004 01:57 AM

How this for more clarity:

Wines that can be purchased at your local liquor store in a major city to impress a women in her 30's who started off drinking crap wine and probably still does.
With all the replies I received (that eventually turned sarcastic) I would have figured that someone should be able to compare and claim a winner as someone did on the winespectator site (thank you californiagirl). Winoweenie, sarcasm leads to Sinicism, maybe you have had to many wine debates.
I apologize for not making myself clear about buying wine for a girl. I am a true novice. My tongue may not be able to feel the subtle differences of the many wines, so please give your personal 10 best. I'm sure they all will be good buys. I'm buying exactly 10 bottles for a party of people in their 30's and this girl will be there.

- Thomas - 07-02-2004 05:45 AM


You should have just stated at first what you stated finally. But even then, you'd still be getting answers that can't be considered definitive.

Wine likes and dislikes are extremely subjective. Best is about as accurate in describing wine as it would be in describing an oil painting.

The best way to discover is to taste. If you have a store that offers tastings attend them and decide for yourself which wines you like or do not like and at which prices you are willing or able to pay. Or maybe establish a relationship with a wine shop that you can come to trust.

Incidentally, whoever on the winespectator site gave you the "best" list still is giving you a subjective answer. I have been in the wine business for 20 years and I have learned there is no answer to that question--only speculation, which is why I call it winespeculator...

[This message has been edited by foodie (edited 07-02-2004).]

- winoweenie - 07-02-2004 07:34 AM

Also B the 10 best in what catagory? Chardonnay, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, White Zinfandel, Barbera, Pinot Noir, Burgandy, Sangiovese, As Foodie and others have pointed out there are so many facets of the wine business it's impossible to put a cubicle on them. Now I hope you understand why you got the answers you did. This question is so ambiguous that it looked like some school project. Put some parameters on it ( Red, White, $10-20 or $20-30) and I'll be more than happy to give you MY answer. WW

- wondersofwine - 07-02-2004 08:21 AM

Here are some of my personal favorites by grape variety--keep in mind they will not fit everyone's palate:

2001 or other good vintage of J.J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese (Germany) less than $30

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand
(most vintages are good-- around $15) or if you don't find that one--St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc from California, under $20
(There are also many Sauvignon Blanc wines from Sancerre, France that I like and a good wine shop should have a few of these)

Chardonnays I will skip because I prefer the white Burgundies, etc. over domestic and it might be hard to name one you could easily locate (actually Kim Crawford could be used here since I like his Chardonnay from New Zealand while sells for under $15)

Pinot Noir--a basic Argyle Pinot Noir (Oregon) for about $18 or a more robust style such as Siduri Pisoni Pinot Noir (CA) for about $50 or Loring Wine Company Clos Pepe Vineyard or Gary's Vineyard (both CA)
for close to $50. In between I really liked the 1999 Steele Pinot Noir from Carneros, CA for under $30). For red Burgundies (from the Pinot Noir grape) I recommend 1999 Arlaud Morey-St-Denis "Ruchots" or "Millandes" (about $50 price range) or 2000 Jayer-Gilles Cote de Nuits (Nuits-St.-Georges) at about $40. The Best--the Burgundy Grand Crus from 1990, 1996, 1999, etc. such as La Tache, Bonnes Mares, Clos de Beze, Romanee Conti (the 1999 Romanee Conti from Domaine Romanee Conti was given a 97-point rating by one critic and priced close to $4,000!)

Merlot--Bogle Merlot or Snoqualmie (WA) Merlot on the less expensive end, Falesco Merlot from Umbria, Italy in the mid range (under $20?) or a French Bordeaux from St. Emilion such as L'Angelus which in a good vintage such as 2000 probably would cost over $100 or 2001 Pavie-Macquin which might be found for less than $60 (and got an 89+ rating--on the verge of outstanding--from a wine critic).

Cabernet Sauvignon--2002 Henry's Drive Cabernet Sauvignon (about $35) from Australia
1997 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvigon Reserve (well over $50) from Napa Valley, CA
a blended Bordeaux with prices from $30 to
$100 or more depending on vintage, classification, critics' ratings, etc.

Zinfandel--Seghesio Zinfandel from Sonoma, Ca on lower end of prices; 1997 Ridge Lytton Springs (CA) for about $30-$35)

Syrah or Shiraz--Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz from Australia (1999 was good but other vintages are probably good as well) for about $50, a 1999 Guigal Hermitage from
Rhone region of France, $50-$55, and a rating of 91 from Tanzer.

Gamay--a 2001 or 2002 Beaujolais Cru such as Fleurie "Les Garants" or Brouilly from Chateau de la Chaize ($14-20).

I won't even get into Italian, Spanish, Portugese, South African wines, etc. because I don't have enough experience to make the selections there. My current favorite Champagne (I've only tried it once because of the expense) is Philipponat Clos des Goisses Cuvee which costs about $100 a bottle. (The 1991 vintage was the wine pick of the week in the Seattle newspaper).

Now in some of these categories, my favorites may change in a week or a month. And I can't really say they are the best. They are what is attractive to my palate (I like acidity in whites such as Rieslings and Sauvignon Blanc but don't care for rough tannins in reds.) I like subtle wood influence in some red wines and prefer stainless steel treatment and use of older barrels for white wines (a little subtle oak flavor can add a touch of butterscotch or vanilla to a good white Burgundy but can overpower the fruit in other white wines).

Sweet dessert wines--a number of German Eisweins would top my list along with Chateau D'Yquem (a Sauternes from France).
Inniskillen Riesling Ice Wine is another winner that you might locate.

It is kind of laughable to claim a certain wine is the best in any price range but some do have a reputation for consistent quality. I think some of the Bogle wines meet that criteria at the lower price range and Ridge zinfandels and Monte Bello in their price range, etc. Also, it is a matter of drinking them at the proper time. A Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon from 2001 may be too young to drink well now but might be delicious in 2011. A 1999 red Burgundy might be in a closed period now and would have been better in 2002 or again in 2008.
Hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 07-02-2004).]

- Brom - 07-02-2004 10:52 AM

"Wines... to impress a women in her 30's who started off drinking crap wine and probably still does."

Come on. What do you hope to impress her with? Your appreciation and knowledge of wine? You don't have it, you are asking a bunch of strangers for theirs.

Impress her with a fancy hot shot label? I guess you could - but that shows little respect for her if you are making that assumption.

It is what the therapists would call a grandiose gesture, buying 10 of the best bottles of you can get for a party, especially when they will mean nothing to you.

If this woman is "probably still" drinking crap wines, buying her any decent wine, because you remembered that she likes wine, should impress her as much as buying a status wine.

I suggest just buying 5 & 5 - the same red and the same white. It's a party (unless it is a wine tasting party) - you pour out that first bottle of 10 different, people say "Hey you have any more of that great tasting wine?" and you can only answer "No" and hope they like the next one just as much. Then you have to repeat 3 more times.

I have a long time friend who drinks Bud, which I can't abide. It doesn't impress her if I buy a nice Scots ale, an obscure Bbavarian or Belgian beer. Buying her a Budweiser impresses her, because it proves I am thinking of her.

- Innkeeper - 07-02-2004 04:07 PM

Hi, I agree with Foodie on the futility and subjectivity of favorites. Therefore I will give you some of the most popular (not as subjective) wines from the first four tiers. These will not exactly conform to your structure. The first tier will include wines up to $12 or $13, and the others go up correspondingly. I am familiar will all of them either by experience or reputation. Also agree with Brom about picking one white and one red and buying six of each.

First Tier:

Chateau St Michelle Riesling
Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc
Macon-Lugny Les Charmes Chardonnay
Duck Pond Pinot Noir
Columbia Crest, Grand Estate, Merlot
Gallo of Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon

Second Tier:

Strub Niersteiner Riesling Spatlese
Lucien Crochet Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc)
Louis Jardot Pouilly-Fuisse (Chardonnay)
Frei Brothers Reserve Pinot Noir
Blackstone Merlot
Escudo Rojo (a Bordeaux type blend from Chile with Cabernet Sauvignon upfront)

Third Tier:

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc
Ferrari-Carano Sonoma Chardonnay
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay
Cristom Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Frog’s Leap Merlot
Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz

Fourth Tier:

Grgich Hills Chardonnay
Cakebread Napa Valley Chardonnay
Etude Pinot Noir
Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot
Mt Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages Cabernet Blend

- wineguruchgo - 07-03-2004 08:05 AM

Hello Breezo,

In truth, I wouldn't spend a lot of money on a bottle of wine if she "still drinks crap wine". It sounds as if either of you won't appreciate it.

Why not buy a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne? Little bit of strawberries and you're on your way.

Some of the bigger wines are for a "seasoned" palate and she might not like it and you're out a bunch of money. Also, the wines such as Mondavi Reserve and Cinq Cepages need close to an hour to open before you drink it. There is a lot to know to truly appreciate wine for all it has to offer.

I would stick with the lower priced, approachable wines, until you know exactly what she likes.


- Innkeeper - 07-03-2004 09:47 AM

Agree with WG wholeheartedly. Just gave you something close to what you wanted. If it were me I would go with a half box of the Les Charmes Chardonnay and a half box of either the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon; probably the cab.

- breezo - 07-07-2004 06:02 PM

I guess "For the Novice" forum really means "For the Moderately Experienced with at least 5 years of Tasting". It seems that wine variations are a never ending story only bound by creativity and climate. Thanks again for the education. I will relay the teachings to my friends.

I have purchased some of the bottles that were mentioned and as I expected they all were good to the untamed tongue (with small variations). Thanks again to those who relayed their personal favorites.

And finally, the party was a success. The guest truly appreciated all the different bottles. It turned into a wine tasting and in fact next week we are getting together again and doing the same thing but this time with a twist. Since we were all beginners, it made it easy and FUN to select the 2 best we liked out of the 10. So next week, we will select 10 different bottles (along with the two that won last week) and put them to the test to crown the 5 best. We said every two weeks we do the same until we have the 10 best that we like.

I read to them some of the replies I received from the forum and a few of the funniest comments were:

"Damn, they really ganged up on you Revenge of the Nerds style."

"You almost didn't make it out alive. Are you alright, need a doctor? Maybe Dr. Kendall Jackson can help you out."

"I didn't know wine judging was a full contact sport."

"Next time just ask Ned The Wino."

- Innkeeper - 07-07-2004 06:19 PM

Very glad you had a great time.

- californiagirl - 07-07-2004 08:00 PM

Sounds like you had a good time and enjoyed the wine! That's what wine is all about. People can give you advice, but everyone tastes are different. My favorites may not necessarily be yours- and yours may differ from those of your friends.

I do apologize for the confrontational atmosphere. Majority of the time, that never happens. But, anyone can join, and that means that there is the possibility of getting replies from the not so helpful. I joined about 6 months ago, and with the exception of one or two party poopers, the members here are helpful, witty, friendly and more than willing to share their experience no matter the question. Please do not hesitate to come back for further advice! This board is here to help the novice as well as the experienced.


- fieldsodream - 07-18-2004 01:48 PM


at least you turned the sarcasm into something fun at your party! I thought this was for the novice, too. After reading some of your responses - Not sure if I want to ask a ?? now or not!

- Bucko - 07-18-2004 06:36 PM

It is hard to do tongue in cheek on-line. No one is malignant around here, but we do get a lot of "school assignments" or "what is the best wine" requests. If someone asks a question, as least give a modicum of information to work with.