A red daily drinker medium bodied alternative to Pinot Noir?

Hi everyone. I find myself drinking Pinot Noir regularly on week nights due to its medium body and versatility to pair. Frankly I just don't see myself drinking on a daily basis heavier bodied reds like Cabs, Syrahs, Merlots, Malbecs most of which I tend to pair with beef dishes or robust dishes with heavy sauces etc. However I would like to try something different as I am buying and drinking way too much California Pinot.

Could you recommend a medium bodied alternative to Pinot Noirs for about $15 that I could buy by the case? I was thinking perhaps ligher grenache based style? Any specific region and label? What else could be an alternative? Although Chiantis are probably an option, I have had trouble finding a nice daily drinking Chianti to buy by the case at around $15.

Grateful for your help.
Original Post
Do you mean lower alcohol than what you're usually drinking or higher acid or are you referring to the weight on your palate?

As examples of things that are medium-bodied, or rather that CAN be medium-bodied (not that they always are) I usually go for something made from Barbera, Blaufrankish, Nebbiolo, St. Laurent, Zweigelt, Lagrein, Cab Franc (from Chinon or Saumur, not CA) some Sangiovese-based wines like Morellino di Scansano, Teroldego, some Garnacha-based wines from Spain or the south of France as mentioned by others, Mencia, Syrah from certain producers like Edmunds St. John or some in Austria, Freisa, Gamay, and some Tempranillo. Those are what I'd probably look at.

Actually, those are exactly what I look at.

But those are when I want something "medium-bodied".

Now if we're talking in preference to Pinot Noir, I'd take that list and add every other grape except perhaps Pinotage, and those would be my alternatives.

Thanks everyone for pitching in. Will definitely look for the Rasteau and the les terrases, some Chinon and Barbera d' Alba which i love. I find the Lan Rioja a bit too oaky so more difficult to pair, and unfortunately here in Maryland the Nipozzano and the St.Cosme are closer to $25 than to $15. Any tips on a good value Barbera and a Chinon are welcomed. Following the Rhone suggestions, i Just bought some Vinsobres Altitude 420 from Domaine Jaume.
RBF, great suggestions above. Another to seek out: Schiava (AKA Trollinger). A local friend who owns a small wine shop had a couple of examples in stock recently, and it was just delicious. Wikipedia it. Both bottles were under $20 and reminded me a lot of a brighter version of Pinot Noir, with very similar body.
Originally posted by RightBankFan:
Any tips on a good value Barbera and a Chinon are welcomed.

Fontanafredda Briccotondo

Originally posted by RightBankFan:
Following the Rhone suggestions, i Just bought some Vinsobres Altitude 420 from Domaine Jaume.

Not sure about Domaine Jaume as I've never tasted (nor heard) before but Alaine Jaume makes some killer wines in Southern Rhone. Not sure about price point though for their CdRs.
Originally posted by billhike:
St. Cosme Cotes du Rhone
Lan Crianza Rioja

Billhike, thanks. Bought and drank the St. Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2009 the other night. Really enjoyed it, a bit young and tight but its very good after letting it breathe. Great fruit and i loved the cocoa notes! Great wine for $13. Will buy by the case.
Originally posted by billhike:
RBF, glad you liked it. Hard to beat CdR for the combination of quality, value and food-friendliness. The added bonus is that there is a massive crapload of it out there! Smile

Bill, we drink a decent number of these as well. I usually need a good decant (or age) to really like them, but my wife likes the young bottles pop/pour. Good stuff.
I'd look at CdR as others have suggested. You might also want to try Nero d'avolo. I've had two 08s recently at tastings that surprised me. Medium bodied, higher acidity and solid fruit. I had always thought of Nero as a big fruit lower acid wine.... I'll try to find the name and re-post...

I would also keep an eye on rioja - I will often open an older bottle in lieu of pinot as a pairing.

GregT's sggestions of Blaufrankish and Zweigelt are spot on as well. We don't get much of either in TN, but there is one Zweigelt that comes in a one liter bottle with a crown cap that is damn good for around $18-$20 dollars.

There appears to be a number of North American wineries releasing a very enjoyable Pinot Noir alternative. Done as a still red, Pinot Meunier is becoming a interesting and enjoyable well priced wine. Google it and you will find a few listed from California, Long Island and Niagara.
You can't get any closer to PN than its first cousin.
Originally posted by NewOrleansWinosaur:
Originally posted by Sid_Mac:
La Vieille Ferme (Perrin & Fils) Côtes du Ventoux. Depending where, from $6 to $10. Always found this to be a good QPR daily drinker that's not heavy, but tasty.


Good 'ol Chicken Wine.

+2, The white and rose are also great values. Love the Chicken Wine.
Originally posted by Bordeaux4Wino:
Bruno Giacosa Nebbiolo d'Alba is one I often recommend.

+1...Great recommendation.

I'd also add a Rosso di Montalcino from any reputable producer. A few of my favorites include Rosso's from Valdicava & Il Poggione. Both are around $25-30, and present an outstanding QPR.
Originally posted by Unctuous:
If you're willing to move slightly up the scale of medium-body, M. Chapoutier's Bila Haut wines are also really good for the price.

Ditto on the Bila Haut...decent quaffer, and medium bodied for around $10.

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