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Great Red Wines for under $30

I think it's just my palette, but I not that into decent wine. I guess, on the low end, I rather drink craft beer or small batch whiskey.

The incredible red is much better than the cheap $10 bottles that you get at Safeway.

Mar 02, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

So I had the PC with a nice homemade pizza last night. One glass without decanting and one with.

My impressions are that it was pretty good for $10, but I find that I am just not an every day wine lover. It was obviously not at the level of a 1998 Cotes De Nuits burgundy, or a 2007 Freeman Pinot, etc. The PC tasted good, but it was a bit hot, a bit jammy, and it had no structure or elegance to speak of. All that said, it was good for $10.

A $20 bottle of Green and Red Vineyard Zin was miles ahead of the PC (IHMO), and only $10 more.

When it comes to wine, I am spoiled I guess.

My first 6 years of experience with wine consisted of great wines served at world class restaurants like Eleven Madison Park and Gramecy Tavern in NYC, or Michael Mina and Cyrus in the bay area. The only wine I would drink would be carefully selected wines (typically $35+ retail) to match my fancy meals.

I just started building my own collection about 4 months ago, starting with the nice 20$-$40 bottles. I have just now started trying 10$ wines, (e.g. the McManis Petite Syrah and PC Zin), and I must say, that I am not really that into them.

Mar 02, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

Thanks for the rec Josephnl.

Much appreciated.

I am axnious to try this 10$ wine. I found another 10$ wine that might be even more promising. I will check it out. Its the 2010 Shenandoah Vineyards "Special Reserve" Amador Zinfandel

I am getting a really wide range of suggestions and I really appreciate it!!

Mar 01, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

Thanks for the recs.

The Neyers sounds particularly interesting and they have some in stock at my local wine shop so I think I may be forced to pop in and grab one.

Geez. I am getting into real trouble starting this thread. =)

Feb 29, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

I'd love to try it. Hopefully my wife and I make it up to Guerneville this year for vacation. We usually do several Sonoma/Marin Weekend trips and we have been meaning to stay at Cottages on River Road. We will check out Sophie's cellars then and pick that wine up.

Thanks for the awesome Rec for the wine shop by the way!

Feb 29, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

For now, I am only into Reds, which is really interesting because 90% of the food I eat goes with white wine!

Sophie's Cellars is a great find and a good online merchant to buy from. Next time I stay in Sonoma I will stay in Guernville and swing by this shop in person.

One day I will move onto white wines.

That day will probably be soon though.

Feb 28, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

Asomaniac,

Thanks for the suggestions. I will check out Atascadero Creek, David Noyes, next time I go wine tasting in Sonoma. I can't find them retail. I called around, and can't find the spanish wine that you mention either.

I prefer not to order wines online at the moment. There are too many local wineries and wine shops that I need to go out and explore first.

On a general note, I have become more interested in Italian wines because there is just so much out there in the under $30 range.

I am looking forward to visting DIG and biondivino wine shops for their well curated Italian wines list and tasting events. I think I might be better able to find some great Italian wines under $30 that way.

Feb 28, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

Thanks Bill Hunt.

I looked into Ch. Gloria. I can only find it online, and it will set me back $50 once shipping is included. So I am going to pass for now, but keep my eye out.

The price point for the Ridges seem in my range, so I am looking forward to trying the bottle I just bought.

Finding good Pinot is a tough search in my price range. When I find a great value, I will probably end up buying quite a few. The best ones I had so far have been Freemans ($45) and a Cotes De Nuits for about ($100). The rest have been so so.

I will checkout Rosenblum next time I head to Oakland since they are an urban winery.
I also remembered that SF has a local winery called bluxome, which has a pinot in their collection.

Thanks for all the info. I am learning a lot!

Feb 28, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

Bill Hunt,

Thanks for the specific recommendations.

At first glance, the Peachy Canyon sounds intriguing, but reading some reviews, the Ravenswood Zinfandel Vintners Blend seems like quaffable choice.

Does this wine have at least a little refinement or balance or complexity to go with its big fruit?

Thanks

Feb 26, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

Thanks for the suggestion.

It's funny that you mentioned it.

When I picked up the
2010 Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Sicilia Rosso IGT, Sicily, Italy
based on Asomaniac's suggestion

I grabbed a
2009 Ridge Vineyards "Three Valleys" Sonoma Zinfandel Blend.

I hope its good.

Feb 26, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

Asomaniac,

Thanks for all of your great suggestions.

I did a lot of research and wrote down a long list of potential wines to add to my wish list.

I went by the wine shop today and picked up an
2010 Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Sicilia Rosso IGT, Sicily, Italy
Which is a Nero d'Avola blend.

it came highly recommended by the shop owner so I decided to give it a try.

I am trying to find a local wine shop that I can go to regularly that I can trust to help me choose wines (as well as using chowhound, etc.).

As for Spanish wines, I have a very nice reserva old school rioja that is sitting in my shelf waiting to be tried.

Good call on Washington state Cabs. For Cabs, I always defaulted to CA which is $$$$$ for the decent stuff.

Feb 26, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

Thanks for the tip. I might pick up a bottle of Chateau Pez from the wine house in SF. They have a new vintage in stock.
Next time there is a Malbec tasting at a local wine shop, I will go out and really explore this region and varietal.

I did a quick web search and it seems like there are many respectable Malbecs for under $30, which is very promising.

Feb 26, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

Thanks for the reference.

I found a few really good wines in the $20 - 40$, although I have loved wines in the 70$ and up category. And I am looking for more excellent finds in the under $30 category.

I have found some 20$-40$ wines that have tasted like $10 bottles when I didn't choose carefully, but I have yet to find many 8 - 15$ wines that taste like very good 20-40$ wines.

I will check out that reference though and keep an open mind.

Feb 26, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Great Red Wines for under $30

I am trying to build a nice collection of wine, but I don't want to spend more than $30, and I don't want to rely too heavily on cellaring the wines.

I like Medium to big reds with nice ripe fruit (perhaps fruit forward) and nice concentration. As much as I like wines with strong fruit character, I don't like when the fruit is super over ripe or jammy or prunny. I like nice balancing acidity. I don't like aggressive tannins. I don't like wines where acid is dominating everything.
I generally prefer tamed tannins. I like my wine to be "open". I don't need it to be super complex, super elegant, or have ridiculous depth and structure. Those would be great, but I understand that those traits cost $$$$.
I like rounded, silky, rich, velvety textures when possible, but this is not necessary, especially if the wine seems open and not dominated by tannins.
Mineral, Truffles, Earth, Spice, oak, are all things that I love to taste in my wines if they don't overwhelm the fruit too much.

I typically go for CA and OR Pinot Noir, CA Zinfandel, Red Burgundy's from France. CA Cabs or Bordaeux style blends can also be good if they are open, well rounded, and not tight tannin oak bombs. I am open to anything under $30!

Here are my favorite wines to date. Some of these wines are more than $30, but I want to give everyone a feel for me tastes.

2007 Provenance Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard
1998 Domaine L'Arlot, Nuit-St-George premier Cru Clos L'Arlot
2009 Hartford Court, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir
2008 Freeman Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 750ml
2006 Green and Red Vineyards, Zinfandel, Tip Top Vineyard

I want to try the following
2006 Patton Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
2006 Storrs Winery Rusty Ridge,Zinfandel, Santa Clara County, Central Coast
2010 Cedarville Vineyards Estate Vineyard, Zindfandel, El Dorado, Sierra Foothills.
2009 Dry Creek Vineyard "Heritage" Zinfandel, Sonoma County ($17)

Feb 24, 2012
jlrobe in Wine

Artz Rib House or Some place like it?

Hey everyone,

I am going to Austin soon with 4 other guys for a bachelor party.

We want to catch some live music if possible on Friday and Saturday, from 8pm - 10pm time frame.

I am a foodie, so I will do my best to hit Franklins BBQ, etc,. I also like local flavor, so I will check out things like the bats under the congress bridge, etc.

That being said, my friends are fairly straight forward, so I want the easiest solution possible. A place like Artz Rib House sounds like a good fit since it has above average BBQ, easy seating, no cover, and decent music. That is probably a great formula for my group.

Are there any places just like Artz? Decent Food, no cover, plenty of seating, and some live music?

I saw Patsy's cafe and Green Mesquite.

Any others?

The better the food and music (but along the same lines of an Artz in terms of format) the better!

thanks

-----
Artz Rib House
2330 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

May 22, 2011
jlrobe in Austin

Where to buy good ribeye in SF?

I am trying to buy some boneless rib-eye steaks rated USDA Prime.

I don't really care how they age it at the moment.

I hear costco has them, but I have not seen them lately, and I hear that they have an inconsistent supply of them.

Anywhere else?

A lot of butchers in SF have locally sourced, independently farmed, grass-fed, organic, 45 day age, blah blah blah. I don't need all that. I just need a fairly priced standard boneless USDA prime ribeye. I am mainly concerned about having enough marbleization.

If the price is 10.99$/lb or less, I don't mind any rec between Santa Clara County and SF County, on the west side of the bay.

Thanks

Apr 12, 2011
jlrobe in San Francisco Bay Area

Are we able to identify a singular "Los Angeles Restaurant of the Decade"?

I think a restaurant of the decade should be around for at least 5 years, and be very consistent over time.

My vote is Providence.
It is a home grown haute cuisine restaurant that has been a stable success for years. Unlike Patina and Water Grill, it hasn't faded. Spago was the restaurant of the 90s.

AOC, Lucques, and JAR are nothing too fancy, but they serve simple, comforting, quality food in an atmosphere that is representative of LA's more casual nature. Perhaps they more represent the "fancy" LA food movement of the 00s.

Finally, some food trends of 00s were
small plates, fancy burgers, and quality beer and cocktail lists.

Dec 31, 2009
jlrobe in Los Angeles Area

Good Gastropub Recs

I want the brilliant food and beer list of Nopa, but the atmosphere and pub feel of magnolia bar and monks kettle.

I really did not care for the quality of the food at magnolia bar, but the atmosphere, menu, concept, and drinks were perfect.

I love the atmosphere, drinks at monk's kettle, and the menu is pretty good, but like magnolia, the food was just not up to snuff.

I here La Trappe is cool, but it is very belgain focused (obviously).

Are there any other good recs for gastropubs with the atmosphere of alembic, magnolia, and monk's kettle, but with far better food?

Thanks

Nov 29, 2009
jlrobe in San Francisco Bay Area

Take a chance on Babbo?

simon,

thanks for the comment. You are right, I should try something NEW. you make a good argument for taking a chance on Scarpetta. This is NYC after all!! There has to be more alternatives than EMP, Babbo, modern, and the other usual suspects.

Thanks.

May 28, 2009
jlrobe in Manhattan

Korean food for visiting Koreans who have been starved of good Korean food the last 4 months

May 22, 2009
jlrobe in Los Angeles Area

Take a chance on Babbo?

Slob

Great Idea.

I looked at Alto again, and it seems that at lunch we can order three pastas for $54. Overpriced probably, not my kind of atmosphere, and full of midtown suits, but ah well, the option is back on the table now.

I also re-evaluated Falai and might consider going there if I order very carefully.

A few people have seemed to enjoy Scarpetta enough for me to take a chance on it. Everyone has different tastes, especially when it comes to Italian food.

So now I have Scarpetta, Convivio, and now possibly Alto and Falai. Between these four options, I think I can get a reasonable Babbo replacement. I think my italian search is over finally! Hopefully we have a good meal!

Thanks everyone.

May 18, 2009
jlrobe in Manhattan

Take a chance on Babbo?

Slob,

I agree, hence this thread. I have spent about a month looking at italian menus over the weekend when i have free time.I swear I have looked at 30 or so. So far on paper, Babbo still sounds like the best and scarpetta (mixed reviews) on convivio (in tudor city) are all I could find that really spoke to me. Also Alto seemed great, but its pre-fixe. I am just keeping my options open and trying to find that Babbo replacement. So far, it still seems that convivio is my best choice. I havent decided on scarpetta yet.

May 17, 2009
jlrobe in Manhattan

Take a chance on Babbo?

conordog

I like papardelle bolognese. Its simple yes, but i love bolognese anything (if its done right) and I love papardelle. I have been to gramercy tavern. I love it. We are going back for our anniversary dinner. I will give alto a call and see if I can do 2 pastas and an app vs an app a pasta and an entree, however, 75-90 bucks for 2 pasts and an app is not getting much on the value end. That being said, I really like the menu at alto, so if it is that good, I might brave the pre-fixe.

Right now I am leaning on convivio so I will end up there most likely when all is said and done. Hopefully it is a wonderful experience. I can only make it out to NYC once a year so...

May 17, 2009
jlrobe in Manhattan

Take a chance on Babbo?

conordog,

I would love to do alto but I don't like pre-fixe for italian. Many times I load up on pastas and apps and skip entrees and dessert.

I can respect what you mean regarding the chicken parm. I am sure there are some really world class classic italian places in Manhattan, but that is just not what I am looking for. Modern food can be "risky", which is why I haven't settled just yet on places like Scarpetta, and why I am scouing the boards.

I wish my first experience at Babbo wasn't such a dud!

May 16, 2009
jlrobe in Manhattan

Hearth or Perilla? August, Annisa or Other?

Sam1

Any replacements for Annisa or August? Fancy food but still sorta neighborhoody vs destination dining. American New but with a little more variation?

May 16, 2009
jlrobe in Manhattan

Hearth or Perilla? August, Annisa or Other?

Kathryn, drumwine, RGR, thanks for the info!

May 15, 2009
jlrobe in Manhattan

Take a chance on Babbo?

rrems

I have penciled in two italian, so I can do both. I have been scouring every source I can to find good alternative italian places that I would really enjoy. We love italian so we want to make sure we have a good experience in NY. Who knows, over the coming weeks, I might grow more found of my choices of Convivio and Scarpetta and not need to keep searching for another one. We will likely skip babbo, which is so darn good on paper. Ah well. There is always mozza, which for us, is just fine.

May 15, 2009
jlrobe in Manhattan

Pizzeria Mozza: as good as they say?

"How about Providence, Chaya, Comme Ca, Lucques, etc, etc?"

What?! Balthazaar > Comme Ca
Lucques is a dime a dozen in NYC
Providence is fine but super high quality seafood tasting menus are not rare in Manhattan.

chaya is different but kinda middle of the road. Good but not great.

May 15, 2009
jlrobe in Los Angeles Area

Pizzeria Mozza: as good as they say?

synergy.

Mozza and NY pizza is like comparing apples to oranges. They don't compare. Many NYers are used to NY pizza and don't like it. Some of them get it and love it. Some Mozza pizzas have tomato sauce, cheese, and great toppings, other pizzas have no sauce, or "base" cheese. For instance, one pizze has bread, ingredients on top, and burrata balls on it vs a layer of melted mozzarella.

I love mozza because I get it, but i have friends that don't get it. Its all about expectations, preferences, etc. To be honest I have never eaten a pizza in NYC that I really loved, so my opinion is probably crap.

May 15, 2009
jlrobe in Los Angeles Area

Hearth or Perilla? August, Annisa or Other?

RGR

You are correct, Hearth does have a slight italian bent, which I think is a positive, but I still consider it mainly straightforward New American fare IMHO.

Did you like Hearth?
Have you been to Perilla? If so, how was it?

May 15, 2009
jlrobe in Manhattan