Are cheaper wines no good?* - Printable Version

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- Deputy - 02-07-2006 02:18 AM

I put the * in there to qualify the question a bit.

I'm finding that a lot of the less expensive wines that I try are too high in acid/not anywhere close to what I would qualify as smooth and pleasant.

Is this common in less expensive wines? I guess I was expecting less expensive wines to be less transcendant and inspiring and complex. Is being completely unrefined another characteristic?

If so, what can I do to escape this?

(This is based on yet another negative experience tonight with a relatively inexpensive bottle of 2005 Chilean Cono Sur Pinot Noir that was only about $10 CAD - I'm guessing about $6 USD at most establishments)

- Innkeeper - 02-07-2006 08:33 AM

Acidity is more closely tied to the grape variety than the price of the wine. Pinot Noir is very high in acid at any price. That is what makes it a very nice food wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, and most Southern Italian grapes are lower in acid.

- dananne - 02-07-2006 12:39 PM

The above information is good. I would add that inexpensive Chilean Pinot Noir will be more misses than hits.

- wondersofwine - 02-07-2006 03:47 PM

Some producers that seem to be reliable with less expensive wines are Columbia Crest (Washington State) and Cline and Bogle from California (Bogle Zinfandel or Merlot, Cline Syrah or Zinfandel). Castle Rock is another brand that sometimes provides good QPR (quality to price ratio). Basic Spanish Rioja wine (Tempranillo grape) is another relative bargain. Valpolicella, an Italian wine from Corvina and two other grape varieties and the Veneto region of Italy is another inexpensive red wine. Some Valpolicellas are thin and quite acidic so consult a knowledgable source when buying one.

- robr - 02-07-2006 05:36 PM

Some of the Aussie wines are inexpensive yet quite tasty, like the Yellow Tail line, which I find particularly good.

On the whole though you are right. There is a definite correlation between price and quality. Most lower end wines are basic and simple and unexciting.

- Kcwhippet - 02-07-2006 07:14 PM

If you like the Yellow Tail, try the Pillar Box Red, which I believe may have been mentioned before.

- Deputy - 02-07-2006 08:26 PM

Great IK, good to know.

I had no idea that Pinot was high in acid. I always assumed it would be good for me because it's lighter, but I dislike the harsh acidity of some wines.

I think that the best wine I've had to date is still the Painter Bridge Zin (that's probably sad, but I have little exposure yet).

dananne, the cheap Chilean Pinot thing is a good point, and something that I've definitely considered regarding that particular bottle. Strangely enough, it was recommended to me as something that would be very easy to drink and light and smooth. It came across virtually the opposite. Then again, my palate isn't as refined as the person who made the recommendation.

Wow WOW, those are some great recommendations, thanks! And BK and kc, I'll definitely give it a go. I had a YT Cab in my basket at the wine shop today but decided to put it down and come and read the responses on here first. Should have got it while I was there.


(More stupid questions to come...)

- barnesy - 02-07-2006 09:41 PM


but there is truly nothing better than finding that $10 bottle of wine that is just amazing because it is an unknown winery from an underrated region. I had a $6 bottle of spanish grenache a couple of months ago that was just grand, doubly so at the price.


- TheEngineer - 02-07-2006 11:59 PM

Well...okay so it is double the $6 price.(BTW, with the current exchange rate, it is actually about $8.80 USD...US Dollar has been in free fall for the last few years...hmmm)

but I just got a bunch of 2002 Renato Ratti, Ochetti, Nebbiolo D'Alba (an off year in the piedmont) for $12...normally double the price..and it is a great wine for that price. I love it. For slightly cheaper, the $10 Dr. Loosen L and the August Kessler R are both very nice Rieslings. For even cheaper, there is the $7 (now cheaper than $10 CDN) there is the Las Rocas Grenache!!! Great stuff!!

- Deputy - 02-08-2006 02:45 AM

More great ideas, thanks!

And I wasn't basing the price so much on the exchange rate (which is awesome now), but more on the fact that your wines aren't taxed to all hell.

The J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cab is about $11 US and is $23CDN. Messed huh?

- wondersofwine - 02-08-2006 09:31 AM

I forgot to add that I am talking about basic Valpolicella. If you get into Valpolicella Amarone the price is considerably higher and the wine is quite different in style as well.

- Deputy - 02-08-2006 11:13 PM

Always wanted to try a good Amarone...I'll get around to it eventually.

I have a Valpolicella in my cooler, a Folonari, I believe. Here's to hoping it doesn't suck.

- Innkeeper - 02-09-2006 07:40 AM

Don't get your hopes too high!

- Deputy - 02-09-2006 01:42 PM

Hahaha, what are you saying IK?

It's a stinker, for sure?

Here's the info:

Folonari Valpolicella DOC 2004, serve with Roasts, grilled meats, and cheeses, 12.0%, $13.99 CAD, "Medium bodied with rich, full flavour"

- robr - 02-09-2006 01:45 PM

Actually that was one of the first reds that I really liked when I first started drinking real wine, about 20 years ago. Now it tastes kind of boring to me. However, you might really like it.

- Innkeeper - 02-09-2006 02:16 PM

Rather than refer to it as a journeyman ValPoly, I would call it an apprentice.

- Deputy - 02-09-2006 03:37 PM

Good to know. All I can do is try it and see if I enjoy it, I guess!

- Deputy - 02-10-2006 01:53 AM

Well, I did some shopping with the recommendations I got from you guys (and others) today, and this is what I walked away with:

2004 Santa Margherita Valdadige Pinot Grigio - $20
2005 Carmen Chardonnay - $14
2x2000 Hogue Cellars Syrah - $15
2004 Castillo de Monseran Grenache - $10
2002 Campo Viejo Rioja Crianza - $17
2004 Finca Luzon Jumilla - $15
2003 Juan Gil Jumilla - $25
2003 Melipal Malbec - $25
2004 Altos Las Hormigas Malbec - $17
2004 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel - $20
2003 Rancho Zabaco Dancing Bull Zinfandel - $15
2000 Chateau La Maroutine Bordeaux - $20
2004 Deakin Estate Shiraz - $14
2005 Yellow Tail Shiraz - $13
2004 Yellow Tail Cab Sauv - $13

$270 total and hopefully some good wine.

- brappy - 02-10-2006 03:14 AM

Wow, Yellow Tail already has the '05 shiraz out AND on the shelf?

You should be able to find something you like. I want to see how this goes. Keep us up to date on which ones you like and which you don't. By the way, just had a bottle of the Juan Gil Monestrell a couple of weeks ago. Definately decant.....if not double decant. Good juice though.


- Drew - 02-10-2006 07:51 AM

Wow are they high prices even in Canadian. You should love the Juan Gil which is $15 US here. I didn't like the Gnarly Head as I found it very acidic, somewhat thin and boring. The Altos Malbec is nice. Hope you find something in that mix that you like. BTW, go to the Spanish thread, lots of values lurking there.