Thoughts on these? - Printable Version

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- bkadue - 12-23-2011 10:53 PM

I asked a guy I work with who's somewhat into wines to choose a few that he likes from the sale flyer at my local store.

My plan is starting this December, I'm going to buy a case of 5 different wines. That's more than I'll drink in 2012, and I'll do the same at the end of 2012. After ~5 years, I should have a pretty solid collection of wines, some of which will have been aged a few years to boot.

If YOU were executing MY plan, are there any selections below that stand out to you as good wines/values or bad?

I'd appreciate any thoughts from the experts on any of these choices. As you can see, I'm looking at $10 or under:

Chateau Le Gay Bordeaux 2009 $9.99
Mouton Cadet Red $5.99
Chateau Cadillac Blanc $9.99
Cotes du Rhone Bernard Chartreuse de Bonpas $10.99
Davinci Pinot Grigio $8.99
Cristalino Brut N/V $6.99
Columbia Crest Grand Estate Cab $7.99
Coumbia Crest 2-Vines Cab $5.99
Chateu Ste Michelle Chardonnay $7.99
Dam Red Merlot and Cab $9.99
Menage a Trois Red $7.99
Marcus James Malbec $3.99
Penfolds Koonuga Hills Shiraz/Cab $7.99

- andrawes76 - 12-23-2011 11:26 PM

Dear bkadue, thanks for visiting us on Our Sommelier Bill Elsey will reply soon as well and there may be a few others that can assist you... here are my thoughts. Bear in mind that these are not collectible wines that will improve in a wine cellar. They are good everyday drinkers. I would not recommend aging any of the wines longer than 12 months. The point of wines of this caliber are to drink them up, not store them.

Chateau Le Gay Bordeaux 2009 $9.99 - YES
Mouton Cadet Red $5.99 - NO
Chateau Cadillac Blanc $9.99 - NEVER HEARD OF IT
Cotes du Rhone Bernard Chartreuse de Bonpas $10.99 - YES
Davinci Pinot Grigio $8.99 - Perhaps
Cristalino Brut N/V $6.99 - A very good deal in Cava
Columbia Crest Grand Estate Cab $7.99 - This is an OK wine
Coumbia Crest 2-Vines Cab $5.99 - NO
Chateu Ste Michelle Chardonnay $7.99 - Good value
Dam Red Merlot and Cab $9.99- Probably not
Menage a Trois Red $7.99 - An OK wine
Marcus James Malbec $3.99 - Pass on this one. Try Gascon
Penfolds Koonuga Hills Shiraz/Cab $7.99 - This should be good

Hope this helps. It might be fun to do a $9.99 or under video to help you guys out. Thanks for visiting the Wine Board and please come back to share your notes!

- bkadue - 12-24-2011 02:11 AM

Perfect, thanks for the feedback this is exactly what I was hoping for.

As for the aging, it would appear I must either modify my strategy or stretch my budget. I will opt for the former. I should ask though, are you aware of bottle say $15 or under that is setup to age well?

- andrawes76 - 12-24-2011 08:44 PM

I would try to gear myself towards wines that have been traditionally made (in oak barrel) that have a good cork (not a reconstituted cork or synthetic). There are some inexpensive wines by Penfolds, Mondavi and some smaller Chateau in Bordeaux that would sit well, that barely peak the $10-$15 category.

- andrawes76 - 12-24-2011 08:46 PM

Also, stick with varietals that are suited for aging. Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noirs, Red Blends... Pinot Grigio is not suited for aging. Some Chardonnays are, but the majority of them are not, especially the ones below $25 as they were made to be consumed now and are not really age-worthy.

- winescom - 12-27-2011 08:49 PM


I agree with Alex's sentiments in regards to the wines you are interested in aging. As a rule of thumb, I would not recommend aging any Pinot Grigio or sub $15 Chardonnay as these are meant for immediate consumption and typically you want freshness from them. While I think that the sub $10 category is a interesting category, I would not anticipate these wines to progressively improve with bottle age. Most of the list falls into the "this is as good as they are going to get" category.

There is a big jump in quality and age- ability when you get into the $20-$25 dollar range. It may be out of the price point that you are wanting to spend, but it has been enjoyable for me personally in the past to find a bottle in this price point that I like and then buy 6-12 bottles and see how they develop in the next couple of years.

Most wines out on the market are not meant for long term aging, but when you are evaluating wines for cellaring, look for tannin and acid, both of which will give the wines the support they need to age well.

Hope that helps. It never hurts to buy some of these wines and see what they do. You might find some gems at a great price point that you like.

Bill Elsey with

Keep a look out for a video on $10 and under wines in the near future!

- Brom - 12-28-2011 04:40 PM

I have questions for both the OP and the respondents.

To the OP: "I’m going to buy a case of 5 different wines. That’s more than I’ll drink in 2012" Do you mean that you will be buying 5 different cases of wine - 60 bottles? I have to say, it is hard to learn about wine drinking/tasting at the low of a level. By that I mean, when you say "more than I'll drink in 2012", that indicates you will be drinking a single bottle of wine a week, which really is no way to become experienced with wine.

If indeed that is your plan, I would recommend against it. As a wine novice, I don't think you want so much of your discretionary wine spending tied up in so few wines. Why not buy a mixed case of all of thiose wines? Or, I would suggest the method of simply buying two bottles at a time. Eventually, you will have enough bottles on hand that you can pick and choose from what you own (and you will get to a point where you can make your second bottle something you have tasted and know that you like).

(I also agree with responders that there is nothing on your list worth holding for any length of time) Don't even think about holding white wines yet.

For the responders, I'd ask why you recommend against tasting the Mouton Cadet? IMO, this is a very serviceable example of Bordeaux, a very solid wine at its price point. I'd hazard it is likely to be on a par with any $10 Bordeaux calling itself Ch. le Gay (have to go with the assumption that this is not the Le Gay Pomerol).

Likewise the Columbia Crest Two Vines series - I don't know that I have had the Cab (may have), but I have had at least a couple of wines in this line which I thought to be terrific values. I've spoken with others who agree. Is it just this varietal in this line or...?

- Innkeeper - 12-28-2011 05:16 PM

I'd like to comment on the aging of white wines. There is a handful of whites that age nicely. First of all there is Riesling of any persuation on the sweetness scale from dry to the most cloying; so long as it is made properly it will age for ten or twelve years. One of best I ever had was a twelve year old from Alsace and was found in a sale bin.

In addition there is Chenin Blanc, meaning those from the Loire Valley such as Vouvray (often inexpensive) and Savennieres. Then there is Semillon particularly that from Western Australia.

Information on any of these should be available from any reputable wine merchant.

- Brom - 12-28-2011 06:06 PM

I didn't mean to suggest that white wines cannot be aged - I did mean to suggest that such a thing is not something a novice should contemplate. You may note that the grapes you suggest are not mentioned by the OP or responders.

Certainly for a properly made Riesling (IMO, the base for the finest whites in the world, Burgundy notwithstanding), 10-12 years is only a beginning. These wines will not be had for $10-12 though.

I would ask if you have found an inexpensive Vouvray to be a reliable candidate for aging? I actually see very little of this appellation priced inexpensively. Samewise with Savinierres - if any at all is to be found, it won't be under $20.

As to Oz Semillion, again the novice question rears its head. Heck, I'm no novice and I would not have thought of this wine (Semillion at all) as a likely candidate for aging. Would you drop a name on us?

Finally, this opinion is based only on my own knowledge of wines and wine merchants, but I wuld hesitate to suggest that many, let alone any reputable wine merchant could offer suggestions on these wines. Certainly some. I would think that among specialty wine merchants there will be some more who can help a consumer with questions on these wines, but again, not even all (or "any") of these. My experience is generally limited to shops in NYC and NJ.

- Innkeeper - 12-28-2011 10:30 PM

Brom, I wasn't shooting at you as in days of yore, but at the whole crew who was trashing aging whites. As far as Semillon from Oz is concerned, there is a whole slew of them from Hunter Valley. They are usually sold at the four or five year point, and get better from seven to eight. I like Tyrrell's, but maybe our poster could find Allandale Semillon at around $15.

And guys, the only Chardonnays I'm aware of that can take some age don't say Chardonnay on the label.

- hotwine - 12-29-2011 12:26 AM

Just a brief comment on buying wines to age.... Without decent storage, there's no point in even trying. Wines left in a rack on the kitchen counter at 70 degrees +/- will show a decline in drinkability after only a very few months (my experience is two months OK, more than that and you're killing them). Suggest you spring for a "wine fridge" at one of the big box stores... well worth the investment.

- bkadue - 12-29-2011 02:31 AM

I love the feedback folks, thanks. The issue's been settled, here's what I did.

I liked Brom's advice regarding variety. I decided to buy 2 each of most of the wines I had originally listed, dropping Ch Cadillac, Davinci, Dam Red and Marcus James. I added to the list a few I picked up more/less at random:

Brancott Pinot Noir - $8.99; BV Coastal Reisling $9.99: Bourgogne Chardonnay $12.99; Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc $10.99; and Alexander Valley Vineyards Cab $13.99. That gives me ~30 bottles of a nice variety, all of which I'll plan to drink in 2012. Thanks for the advice!

- andrawes76 - 12-29-2011 04:27 AM

IK, I like that, and never thought about it that way... ie Chardonnays that age well don't say Chardonnay on the label. They say Burgundy White (if even that...). Would make an excellent T Shirt. Cheers, Alex

- bkadue - 01-05-2012 02:59 AM

Thanks again. So far, I've tried 3 bottles - Cristalano, Mouton Cadet and Kim Crawford sauvignon Blanc. Of the 3 the KC is my favorite. Not sure if it's just the varietal or the wine, but that's my vote.

- winescom - 01-06-2012 07:32 PM

@Bkadue glad to see you're getting the year started off on the right foot wine wise. I'd be willing to bet you get through those 30 bottles rather quickly Smile Check out this video of Sommelier Scott Ota and myself tasting a Cotes-du-Rhone from M. Chapoutier. This wine is fairly readily available around the country and should be around $10 a bottle. Def worth a try.


Let me know what you think @BillElsey on Twitter

Bill w/

- Winefinder - 02-25-2012 02:25 AM

Hey Bkadue, Tell us how it's doing now. You've created a fun discussion. I'm curious???

RE: - bkadue - 12-22-2013 05:54 PM

just saw I never reported back...sorry! Anyhow, I'm afraid I've long forgotten which I liked best, though I'm confident there were none that I hated! I also just noticed that I still have a bottle of the 2009 BV reisling. Will need to try that one soon!