I'm new to the forum and a bit new to wine. I've been impressed by the forumites willingness to help others out, so any advice you could give would be helpful.

1. I'm going to a friend's blind wine tasting. Here's the guidelines for the wine I'm to bring - it must be less than $15; must be easily attainable in US retail store; must be red..and preferably a bigger, bolder red if its to win out. Any suggestions? The winner of the tasting receives a 98 Penfolds Grange....so your advice could really help. Fortunately none of the other participants - good friends - know of the world of wine forums.

2. I'm currently in Australia for a few days and then on to NZ for a few before coming home. Any suggestions as to some reds I can pick up here that I can't get in the states? Price range is anything under $80USD, unless its a real specialty find. The key is to find some great big reds that are pretty much unattainable in the US market.

Thanks for any help you can give.
Original Post
Thanks. Which half of the grange would you like? I'd be happy to send you the half that is made up of labels and glass....in about ten yearsSmile

The challenge is the grading scale is subjective...meaning I've got to find a red under $15 that these guys will like, meaning it has to be the biggest boldest red there is that doesn't make them wince when they swallow...all for $15. I can get it anywhere and am thinking of picking up an Aussie red while here.

Anyway, thanks for the tips.
How about Marietta? I have never had a bad wine from them and I think their cab and zin are under $15. I can't remember. You might even want to try Rosenblum zins/cuvees'. Lots of choices there. If you can find a Casa Concha "01" merlot from Chile or a 2000 Black Opal Borossa shiraz, then these would show well too. Just my .02. Good luck. Wink

After thinking about this for a few seconds, I think the Black Opal may blow the pants off ya! Just make sure it is the Borossa. Cool

Cheers to GrapeFriends!
pfinder Marquis Philips Sarah's Blend is rated 93 points by Parker; it is big, fruit forward, and $15.00! Also, the Cabernet Sauvignon is $15.00, big fruit forward, etc. They will do the trick. You can probably find them for $12.99, but they are listed at $15. Woodland Hills Wines has it for $13.99
No to Marquis Phillips. Unless you've had it down for a while. Big but simple and over the top. Love it or hate it. I hate it.
No to Seghesio Zinfandel. A great wine, but only the Sonoma falls in the price category, and it doesn't fit the "big" category, which is why it is one of my favorites. But it won't win.
Here's my suggestion. A syrah, but with both power and elegance. Blackberry flavors but complexity with some mushrooms/earth, plus spice and herbs. At 13.99, Fairview Goat Roti 2002.
d'renberg old footbolt shiraz, ch st michelle cab columbia valley, E.guigal cotes du rhone, domaine de la mordoree cotes du rhone, all 2000- 2001 vintage, E. guigal cotes du rhone 2000. Look to southern rhone lesser regions for good value. Also venezuela, south africa, new zealand, argentina for different grape varietals.
pfinder,

Re 1:

A big, dark, rich, spicy wine will almost always win a blind tasting, especially among less expensive wines and especially in a crowd of people who don't have a lot of drinking experience.

My first thought was Thorne-Clark Shotfire Ridge Barossa Cuve, my second thought was Marquis Philips Shiraz. Both of these might be on the harder side to find, but you also might get lucky. Both are from Australia. I would probably stick with the Australia motif, here. Tait "Ball Buster" would be another excellent choice.

Re 2:
Most of the Australian wines I drink are imported by the Greatful Palate (Paringa - $10, Marquis Philips - $15, Marquis Philips Cabernet S^2 - $30, Henry's Drive Shiraz and Cab - $30, Marquis Philips Shiraz 9 - $35, Henry's Drive Reserve Shiraz and Cab - $45, Marquis Philips Integrity, Shirvington Shiraz - $80, Marquis Philips Integrity - $100). Everything but the Paringa, regular MP and regular Henry's Drive wines can be very difficult to find in the US, so if you see 'em... I also like Barossa Valley Estate wines -- Ebaneezer ($27) and E&E Black Pepper ($90). Nearly the complete D'Arenberg line is good. (Ranges $10 for the Stump Jump wines to $65 for the Dead Arm Shiraz.)

In NZ I'd seek out Kumeu River (excellent Chardonnay) and Felton Road (excellent Pinot Noir).

a

"What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?" -- W.C. Fields
There have been many good suggestions so far, but many of them don't fit in the "widely distributed" or "easy to find" categories. Give Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet a try. It's medium bodied, ripe and definitely a crowd pleaser. AND....you can find it just about anywhere for $10. Big Grin

Cheers!

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