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I started semi-seriously tasting/drinking/loving wine about a year ago, and I've tried to dabble in a bit of everything, but my budget is so tight that I can only afford about one bottle per paycheck, and that in the $14-18 range typically.

So my question to you folks is, what are some bottles in my price range that you would recommend? I'm trying to expand my palette, so slightly obscure varietals are welcome, however they need to be pretty widely available since I'm in Edmonton, Alberta. Also, I'm looking for wines that truly capture their grape's characteristics.

Because I've tasted so relatively little, I can't give you much in terms of likes/dislikes yet, except maybe that I definitely don't like a lot of oak. The best bottle I've had to date is the '04 Kim Crawford Sauv Blanc (the one time I've splurged and gone slightly over-budget), and my biggest disappointment was the '01 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot (so oaky that I couldn't get a grip on any other part of it).

Thanks in advance!

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The Edmontonian

Welcome to the WS Forums...

In the back of the Wine Spectator magazine, there is a listing of "Best Buys"! These are the wines you may be looking for.

Also, most of the wine critics have a listing in their service which would show a list of those type of wines-------and there are many!
Robert Parker, Steve Tanzer, Jancis Robinson.
Good Hunting!
hi edmontonian,

you can search for Value Wines on the Wine Spectator site under Wine Ratings:,3876,,00.html

if you're not a paying member of the site when you search for the wines, you'll probably see an offer for a 3-day free pass to the site. you'll need to take advantage of this offer before you can see the lists of value wines or value wineries.

remember that a more expensive wine does not necessarily provide a better example of a varietal than does a less expensive wine.

and part of the fun of wine is finding good values. on saturday night, i took two bottles to dinner and everyone, including me, preferred the $9 Muscadet (Chereau-Carre Chateau de Chasseloir 2003, WS88 points) to the $21 Italian white.

the internet provides another great resource: when you buy a wine, many producers have websites where you can find tech info and winemaker notes.

plus, go to the Resources area of Wine Spectator School:
where you can download a Tasting Method Chart along with a Tasting Journal form that coordinates with the chart. they'll help you evaluate the wines you taste.

Edmontonia: You will of course discover what you like. In your price range I would recommend the Marquis de Casa Concha line from Chile. Cab, Merlot, and Chardonnay. All are extremely good for the money. Agree with Estancia comment. Also, Chateau Souverain, the Sonoma County Bottlings. Also, Sebastiani's Sonoma County bottlings. For Sauvignon Blanc, try and find Nobilo from New Zealand. I've been doing this for 23 years and I think these are good value's today. For a few bucks more, the Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandra line from Chile is also very good.
Great question for a Canadian drinker. So many of the "best buys" are not available in Canada. I need some good "go to wines" as well. Some that I have enjoyed for under $20 are these:

Malbec - Bodegas Catena Zapata Almos $18.95

Casillero Del Diablo Conch Y Toro in the Carmenere, or the Syrah $12.99

Alice White Chardonnay $12.98

Simon Gilbert Shiraz approx $15.00

Barossa Valley Estates Spires Shiraz or Chardonnay approx $15.00

Lindemans Reserve Shiraz approx $16.00

Goats Do Roam (the regular one not the Goats Do Roam in Villages) approx $13.50

Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Porcupine Ridge $15.99

Let me know if you find any more.
Remember these are BC prices, you will probably spend less in AB. Welcome to the boards.
I also need some more wines at this price point. Maybe Seaquam or Tyee could help out here. I find that we have almost all of the family gatherings at our house.Usually 25 people or more. I am tired of putting a bunch of bottles of decent wine and ending up with the weird crap from obscure countries that people brought. They seem to like drinking a better bottle, but would never bring one. I need a better selection of $15 wines in BC.

Ps I really enjoy the Kim Crawford Sauv Blanc. Drank it all summer.
Originally posted by Dixie:
Ps I really enjoy the Kim Crawford Sauv Blanc. Drank it all summer.

can you get Neudorf or Mt. Riley SBs in Canada? They are fabulous. The Mt. Riley should be cheaper than Kim Crawford (and a few points better).

The Alba Liza is only USD 6.99 and is amazing for the price (Parker gives it 87pts, I think; I give it 89).
For reds, go for Cotes du Rhones, some Oregon pinots, and Argentinian Malbecs. Chateau Souverain is always nice.

Stay away from all of the Grand Estates wines from Columbia Crest and all of the Castle Rock (yes, strictly my opinion... I just think they are all boring and at times lousy).

Aussie shiraz... that's up to you... there are tons of options... they just all taste the same to me (zzzzzzzzzz....). Thorne & Clark (or is it Thorn & Clarke?) makes some nice wines, and d'Arenburg always has good stuff.

For whites... white burgundy is always a winner for me. NZ sauv blanc is great for summertime... pass on the Cali chard and pass on pinot grigio altogether. Loires are great... not sure how they are priced up there, but they are always $20+ in Ohio.

I am on a budget my self.

I like the following that are well under $20.

Toasted Head- Cabernet Sauvignon

Hess Select- Cabernet Sauvignon

Meridian- Chardonnay

Oyster Bay- Pinot Noir

Kenwood- Savignon Blanc

Brancott- Sauvignon Blanc (Cheaper and better than Kim Crawford, In my opinion)

Smoking Loon- Syrah

Beringer- Alluvium Red 2000 (Cheap beacause of the bad vinatge, otherwise expensive, I love it.)

Terra Unica Tempranillo Reserva 1998 (Cheap bottle of wine but I loved it. Cannot find it in CA.)

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