Here are some wines I like (both price and producer!). Remember that people working in wineshops can make the best recommendations when you give them information about what wines you enjoy and how much you want to spend.
Values by varietal (type of grape):
Dark rich and plush this cab is tightly focused with a long intense finish.
The Wine Exchange of Sonoma for $25
Howell Mountain, Napa Valley
Boasts deep garnet color with elements of espresso, roast chocolate blackberries, and smoky oak.
Beautiful ruby, concentrated color. Drinks well young – powerful fruit notes of cherry and blackberry, supple tannins and silky texture. Tasted more cab like than shiraz to me – not too spicy or peppery with lots of dark fruit, hint of vanilla. Would buy again at $22 and serve to guests.
Whole Foods for $25
Sauvignon Blanc and Un-oaked Chardonnay:
Kim Crawford: out of New Zealand. Her wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel and always taste fresh, with tropical and citrus notes. Perfect everyday white and very well distributed. Save a few bucks and try Picton Bay's sauv blanc from Trader Joe's.
North Coast, California
Outstanding value from legendary Napa winemaker Kent Rasmussen – blend of red fruit from the north coast counties (Pauli property in Mendocino and the Rasmussen Estate plot in Napa Carneros). Vibrant black cherry and raspberries with notes of black truffle and vanilla. Contact The Wine Exchange of Sonoma – could be worth buying 1/2 case or case to have at house if you’re partial to Pinot. 800-938-1794 email Dan Noreen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Berridge Vineyard Estates
Central Otago, New Zealand
Nice little "value" pinot. And some Trader Joe's have Castle Rock Mendocino County pinot for $10. Very pretty - rose water, raspberries, strawberries, slightly autumnal.
Covey ridge vineyard
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Bob and Marilyn Senko's vineyard
Richly concentrated for a pinot. Notes of dark chocolate, black cherry, spicy (baking) aromatics and sweet black fruits. Smoothe for its high alcohol content.
Whole Foods for $46
Guenoc Valley winery is a 35 mile estate that straddles Napa and Lake Counties.
Silky, inky, dense petit syrah. Another great wine from Trader Joe's in the $11-15 price range.
Personally think it’s the best value cab I’ve bought. I like Robert Hall to which is also a cab out of Paso and at a similar price point.
Whole Foods for $17 and Trader Joe's for $12.
Peachy Canyon Winery
“Incredible Red” is a great Zinfandel for everyday enjoyment. Excellent with a variety of foods from peppered steak to pasta.
Trader Joe’s for $12
Soft but engaging merlot. Not sure its worth the Napa price premium, but that's just me caring less about brand and more about TASTE.
The closest New World pinot gris I've taste to Alsace (my weakness). In Peter Sineann's humble words: "It would be great to be able to take credit for how this wine turned out. In the winery we are meticulously selective, press lightly and then keep our hands off. That's about as far as we go. All the other wonderful qualities of this wine, the elevating aromatics, the broad, rich palate, the long, lingering finish come out of the vineyards."
Wine Lab in Newport Beach for $17