For several months now the Euro is comfortably in the 1.5 range. Yup, it costs over $1.50 to buy one Euro. If you're in France, for example, and you exchange $100, you walk away with only 65 Euro, and that's before commissions and fees. This isn't going to change tomorrow or next month - we're going to live with this for a while I bet. As both Obama and Clinton can tell you, things are tough for the average American. Gas costs well over $3 a gallon (although we still pay less at the pump than people in almost every other industrialized country), food costs are rising, there are fewer jobs that are paying less overtime, people's homes are worth less now than they were a year ago, et cetera et cetera et cetera.
We are in a recession. I suppose there are people in the Bush administration, or other comparable wack jobs out there, who would try to tell you otherwise, but I think it's pretty much accepted these days. And it will probably get worse before it gets better.
When times get tough it's nice to find ways to cut back on spending, and I'm guessing that wine is a good place to reduce spending for many of us. It is for me, anyway. I'm not going to stop buying a nice bottle of Champagne every two weeks, but I sure will reduce my everyday bottle cost. I want to keep it below $15 for a while (it was creeping towards $20).
But I want to drink good wine on an everyday basis. What's good right now for less than $15? Normally this would be easy, but with the bad dollar wine that cost $13 a year ago costs $16 or more now. Yeah, American wine hasn't gone up, but I have yet to taste the under $15 American wine that I want to go out and buy for my own home.
I decided to ask for recommendations from some of my favorite wine buyers at my favorite wine stores, and to share those recommendations with you. I've tasted a few of the wines and I'm going to share my notes over the course of a few posts because cramming it all into this post, along with my comments, well that would be the longest post in the history of blogging.
Let me first say this - the point of this is to share ideas about high quality inexpensive wine, not to bicker about who makes the best wine. So please, share your thoughts and make suggestions, we'd all appreciate it. Who out there isn't looking for good wine under $15?
Here are the rules for this game: a wine cannot cost more than $15 to be eligible. That includes tax, which in NYC is 8.35% or something. I figured that recession wines should cost no more than $15 period - that's it. No case discount necessary to get to $15. Hand them a twenty, get 5 bucks back - simple. So the most expensive sticker price on these wines is actually $14, as with tax that comes to $15.14. So there. And without further ado, here is a list of recession wines.
Ben Hagan, one of the wine buyers at Slope Cellars in Park Slope, Brooklyn recommends (Slope Cellars prices listed):
2006 Caves de Saumur Saumur Les Pouches, $13, LVDH Imports (100% Chenin Blanc).
2006 Caves de Saumur Saumur Les Epinots, $13, LVDH Imports.
2006 Jardin de la Fruitiere, $10, VdP Loire Atlantique, JD Headrick Selections (50-50 Chardonnay and Melon de Bourgogne).
2005 Kuentz-Bas Alsace Blanc, $12, Kermit Lynch Imports (Blend of, in order, Sylvaner, Riesling and Pinot Blanc, Muscat).
2005 Luneau-Papin Muscadet de Sevre et
2005 Chateau la Rame, $13, Rosenthal Imports (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot).
2006 Domaine St
2006 Pichierri Primativo del Tarantino Vermiglio, $14, Tricana Imports (Primitivo).
2006 D’Estezargues Cotes du Rhone Les Grandes Vignes, $13, Jenny & Francois Selections (100% Cinsault!).
2006 Jean-Marc Burgaud Beaujolais Villages Chateau de Thulon, $14, Langdon Shiverick Imports.
Amy Louise-Pommier, one of the wine buyers at Prospect Wine Shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn recommends (Prospect Wine Shop prices listed):
2006 Domaine des Cassagnoles Cuvee Gros Manseng, $12, Weygandt Metzler Imports.
2007 Hofer Gruner Veltliner Trocken (1 liter) $13, Skurnik Imports.
2006 Pannonhalmi Apatsagi Pinceszet Traminer, $14, Skurnik Imports (Hungarian Gewurtztraminer).
2007 Muga Rioja Rose, $14, Tempranillo, Inc Imports.
2006 Vale da Torre Bin 717
2006 La Sera Barbera “Il Falo,” Piedmonte, $11, Matt Brothers Imports.
2005 Domaine D’Aupilhac Coteaux du Languedoc Montpeyroux, $13, Kermit Lynch Imports.
2006 Bodegas Nekeas El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa, $14, Tempranillo, Inc Imports (old vines Grenache).
Lyle Fass, one of the wine buyers at Chambers Street Wines recommends (Chambers Street prices listed):
2007 Hofer Gruner Veltliner Trocken, (1 liter), $11, Skurnik Imports.
2006 Graf Hardegg Veltlinsky, $12, Frederick Wildman Imports (Gruner Veltliner).
2006 Clos Roche Blanche Touraine Pif, $14, Louis/Dressner Selections (blend of old vines Malbec, young Cabernet Franc).
2004 Sandro Fay Rosso del Valtellina, $13.50, Omni Wines importer (100% Nebbiolo).
I decided to also ask someone at a respected store that I don't usually shop in. So I went into Smith & Vine in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Max, one of the wine buyers recommends at Smith & Vine recommends (Smith & Vine prices listed):
2005 Kuentz-Bas Alsace Blanc, $11, Kermit Lynch Imports.
2006 Domaine Labbe Vin de Savoie Abymes, $10, Skurnik Imports (100% Jaquere).
2004 Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardigna Reserve, $12, Palm Bay Imports (100% Grenache).
2006 Domaine Ricard Le Clos de Variou, $10, Fleet Street Imports (100% Gamay).