Today, it is my distinct pleasure to provide you with a list of some of my personal favorite wines at various price points that can meet any budget big or small. From wines in the $1000 range to wines that cost less than $20, these are some of my personal picks that I’m certain even the most discerning palates will enjoy. In the United States almost all of the wine purchased is at the $9.99 mark or lower. This is a nation wide statistic for a multi-billion dollar industry. However, there are a certain few of us out there that understand that a higher quality wine deserves a higher price tag. Of course there are inexpensive bottles that taste just fine, however once you exceed that $10 price point, you’re sure to be introduced to an entirely new realm of fine wines that will further your journey more than you ever expected. This doesn’t mean having to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a bottle of wine. Even a $30 bottle of wine can be just as superb as one that costs $75 or $100. Often the price attached to a bottle has little to do with what’s actually inside it and more to do with the name of the winemaker, the vintage and the availability of the product. Certainly it goes without saying that a more expensive bottle of wine will most likely be of higher quality, but even that $30 bottle can be wonderful and enchanting.
Top Picks Under $1000
1990 Latour – $995
This is quite possibly one of the best wines ever made. A red bordeaux it’s bold and fruity with woody undertones that give it an exemplary full mouth feel. The tannins are as silky and rich as they come, almost concentrated on the palate and its rich, decadent finish is like a gift to the senses.
1961 Haut-Brion – $895
This exquisite red bordeaux from France is a rich, earthy and luxuriously full bodied wine with intensely woody notes of cedar, leather and sweet ripe fruits. The finish is long and unwavering a bite of spice at the end. It’s a remarkable wine.
2010 Coche Dury Meursault Les Rougeots A.C. – $750
This white burgundy is slightly tough for me to properly critique as I’m not generally a big fan of white wine. However, this particular bottling is rather rich and inviting with a creamy complexity that makes it worthy of both your and my attention. It’s acidity mixed with fresh orchard fruits and floral blossoms is uniquely satisfying. It’s bright and crisp with fresh cut grass and damp soil. The finish is long and dry with a perfect dose of acidity.
1988 Mouton – $550
Elegant and graceful, this wine is like a fine work of art with seductively ripe notes of dried currants, plum, dark chocolate and kiln dried Spanish cedar. It’s multidimensional with exotic notes of spice. The finish lasts for minutes. It’s incredible.
2008 Kapcsandy State Lane Cabernet California – $520
A near perfect cabernet sauvignon with about 13% merlot mixed in, this is a monster of a red. Full bodied with rich, oaky notes of cocoa, charcoal embers and bold espresso, the wine is a harmonious blend of sweet tannins and concentrated complexity. Don’t drink this wine right away though. Let it keep in the cellar for 4-5 years before opening it.
2010 Leoville Las Cases – $425
This is the kind of wine you sit down to a serious HBO drama with. It’s dark, mysterious and one of the most powerfully intense red bordeaux wines you’ll ever try. This is the kind of wine you need to properly age before opening, but once you do, you’re in for an experience like no other. The richly deep tannins, the dark succulent fruits and wafts of leather and tobacco with a deeply satisfying punch of spice at the end.
2005 Pavie – $350
A superb blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, this thick, inky red is perfectly balanced with an exquisite blend of blackberry liqueur, limestone, truffle oil and Nicaraguan cigar tobacco. It’s one of the finest wines at this price point that’s worthy of your consideration. An exemplary and mind-blowing shock to the palate. You might want to try this out, click HERE.
2001 Rieussec – $250
I’m typically not a fan of overly sweet wine, however, this particular dessert wine is like a fine fragrant dessert dipped in silky caramel and honey. It’s as full bodied as dessert wines get with beautifully ripe and concentrated fruits, sugared lemon and a punch of acidity. It’s an incredibly elegant and seductively alluring sauternes. Click here for a chance to taste the Rieussec.
Top Picks Under $100
2010 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sori Ginestra – $95
I had high expectations of this wine and was pleasantly surprised by how exquisite it was. This particular vintage spent a full year in French oak barrels before being transferred for another year to a combination of larger casks. It’s a deep, intense wine that’s full bodied with strong notes of fresh cut pine, menthol and tobacco with a blend of Italian herbs and spices that give it an incredibly depth and richly concentrated complexity.
2010 Jaboulet Domaine de Terre Ferme Chateauneuf du Pap – $95
This is a very heady and sublime wine that bursts with Mediterranean flavor profiles. You can almost taste the sea breeze. The body is rich and flamboyant with strong notes of fig, black cherry and currant. The bottling is complex and yet simplistically elegant at the same time. It has a perfect blend of sweetness and acidity making it an exemplary choice for the most discerning wine enthusiast.
2010 Montes Folly Syrah – $91
I’ve always been a fan of Montes wines. For the most part, they make an exceptional bottling at a variety of price points sure to meet any budget. This particular vintage however is one of the best in my opinion. It’s a powerful, opulent syrah with lush ripe fruits and a perfect balance of acidity. With a touch of smoky vanilla bean and oak it is a great example of some of the finest wine to come out of Chile.
2005 De Fargues – $86
A heavy, sumptuous dessert wine with rich notes of ripe apricot, shredded coconut and toasted oak, this rather intriguing wine is lush and fragrant with exotic spice and a pineapple infusion. It’s really quite unique and yet superb at the same time.
2012 Caymus Napa California – $75
A well constructed, complex and dignified cabernet sauvignon, this wine is a stunning example of some of the full bodied wines from Napa Valley. It has creamy silky tannins on the forefront with overripe blackberry, black raspberry and spice. It’s a really incredible wine for the price.
2005 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel
Well balanced and perfectly acidic, this is a quintessential riesling with phenomenal bursts of green apple, pear, fresh honeydew and beautiful white peaches. It’s the perfect patio wine and one that’s worthy of your attention. The reason a price isn’t listed with this wine is because it ranges quite dramatically anywhere from about $60 all the way up to over $170 based on its availability.
Top Picks Under $50
2010 Oddero Barolo – $49
A delightful wine with flavors of fresh strawberries and plums. Almost full bodied this Italian red is full of tannin with an intensely spicy finish. This wine without a doubt is all about the long, impressive finish. It’s a great pick for under $50.
2012 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts – $48
Full bodied and completely decadent, this is a well appointed wine with flavor profiles of honeysuckle, black raspberry, bread pudding and roasted red chile pepper finishing it off. It’s an exceptionally refined wine and is perfect for night at home with a good book and some Miles Davis in the background.
2011 The Hilt Pinot Noir Vanguard – $45
This is a very masculine wine with explosions of ripe fruits, white pepper and sweet tobacco. It has a velvety, full mouth feel and is perfect for those who enjoy cigars. It’s quite earthy and has a perfect dose of acidity. It’s a rather marvelous wine but benefits from decanting.
2011 Beringer Chardonnay Reserve – $40
Rich and creamy, this white has a beautiful spice overtone with notes of apple pie, citrus zest and honeysuckle. It’s crisp and nicely dry with an elegant finish and just a hint of pear.
2010 Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee – $40
This splendid sparkling wine is a perfect marriage of 74% Pinot Noir and 26% Chardonnay. It’s complex and intricate with bursts of fresh fruit such as peach, raspberry and blood orange. It’s acidic and memorable with a nice long, lingering finish. Would you like to taste this wine? Go here.
2001 Faustino I Gran Reserva – $39
Elegant and complex, it’s a very feminine wine with velvety tannins and buttery oak mixed with a perfect blend of spice and leather. The finish is very mineral and earthy with notes of ripe raspberries taking it home.
Top Picks Under $20
Beringer Knights Valley – $ 19
One of Sven Raphael Schneider’s favorite low budget wines, Beringer Knight’s Valley is full bodied, fruity yet refined and even enjoyed by people who usually don’t like Cabernets.
2010 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva – $20
This is a very complex, dimensional and full bodied chianti which happens to be one of my favorite varietals. It has intense notes of black cherry, spice, leather and tobacco with dried berry and strong tannins. It pairs perfectly with red meats and wild game.
2013 Ritual Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir – $20
This is a remarkably smooth pinot noir with bursts of sliced strawberries and hazelnuts perfectly complimented by limoncello undertones. It’s full bodied and smoky with a rich, lingering finish and a spicy bite.
La Marca Prosecco – $17
I really enjoy Prosecco and this is a great one for under $20. It’s a traditional straw colored wine with multi-dimensional and textured bubbles. It pops in flavor with fresh citrus blended with just a hint of vanilla. It’s clean and crisp with a finish that’s full of green apple, lemon and grapefruit. It’s a beautifully light and refreshing wine.
2013 Antucura Cabernet Sauvignon – $15
This is a top pick of mine for under $20 as it’s completely refined and elegant. It has a medium bodied profile with notes of dried tobacco, lavender, purple violets and coarse black pepper. The tannins are velvety and the finish is long and lingering with a touch of spice.
There are so many wines that can be listed here, so these are just a sampling of some of my personal favorites. I hope this has introduced you to a few new wines that you can savor and enjoy. What’s your favorite wine?