top 10 wines under $15

And now–as promised last week, a fluffy little post about my favorite recently discovered & inexpensive wines. If you’ve had any of these wines, especially the ones that I lack sufficient descriptions for, please comment. And if you’ve had any you’d like to recommend, do that as well, please & thank you.

In order of their discovery:

D’autrefois Pinot Noir & Malbec
The pinot has been a trusted go-to wine since I  discovered it last summer with my good buddy Joel. It’s a light, peppery cherry and well-balanced. While waxing particularly poetic one evening, I wrote that it tasted like “a little boat made of bark and leaves floating down a dappled woodland stream.” yah, it’s all that.  The Malbec is new on the shelves, and is equally thrilling. Total Wine carries both- $9.99.

Finca Flichman Malbec – 3 months oaked
Paul will go on & on about his Finca Flichman, though his pronunciation of “Flichman” varies by day. I do know that finca means “ranch”– & that counts for something. Extremely rich/bold- a singular chord of intense flavor. This vineyard also produces Misterio, another Malbec oak-aged 4 months- but Paul insists that the 3 months is better. Total Wine $7.99– but they don’t always have it.

Fat Bastard
I’ve never met a Fat Bastard that I didn’t like. We’ve had the 2008 Merlot, the 2007 Cab, the 2009 Shiraz. I believe it’s the cab that we like the most- it’s hard to tell from my copious notes there. Easy to find- usually under $10. And that hippo is just so darn cute…

Contempo — 2005 Cab, 2007 Merlot
November of 2010, Paul wrote “this is my idea of a great wine” of the 2005 cab. Also written is that it “attacks softly, then explodes with flavor & finishes sweet.” We had an argument over who to attribute that quote to, but I’m pretty sure it was me because I’m the poetic one. Long berry finish, smooth tannins. We trusted Contempo & bought it whenever we were at Harris Teeter- & then the unthinkable happened- Contempo let us down. We bought a bottle of cab with no vintage marked on the bottle- and it  tasted like fishy cork. We haven’t gotten any Contempo since then, our hearts were broken. Moral of the story: If you buy it- check the back label & make sure there’s a year marked. If there isn’t, then the wine is from multiple harvests spanning two or more years. Shy away from that– the risk is just too great.

Robert Mondavi Private Collection Cab 2009
Easy to find, carried by almost any supermarket. Even the Food Lion has it. The label doesn’t come off very easily though…

Graffigna Malbec 2007
The Malbec from Argentina has flavors of Blackberry, currant, tobacco, oak & spice. 2007 Cab also delicious. Publix carries it, $11

Colores del Sol Malbec 2009
Another fine Malbec carried by Publix $12. I’ve slacked off on my flavor notes by this point in my journal… But it was definitely worth buying again. And the label is pretty.

Edgewood Estates 2007
A blend of cab, petit bordeaux and malbec. We splurged on this one- $15– it was Valentine’s Day, & I served butternut squash, black beans (soaked overnight & simmered with jalapenos), spinach salad, and toasted seeduction buns from Whole Foods bakery. It was divine.

Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz Cab 2009
Ordinarily we’d shy away from anything named “Jip Jip Rocks”, but a trusted Total Wine associate by the name of Tiger pointed us to this Australian blend. In Tiger’s honor, Paul & I have declared that this wine is grrrrrrrreat! $15.

Releaf 2009 blend
This organic wine is Fran’s Pick at Total Wine, & we like Fran. Fran has a good taste in wine & a simpatico palate. It’s a cab/merlot/shiraz blend from South Africa- fruit forward, mellow tannins, smooth & silky, peppery & well-balanced. Served with sweet potato, quinoa with steamed sweet peas & sweet peppers, spinach salad with herbs, avocado & pickled banana peppers. $9.99 AND IT’S ORGANIC, Y’ALL.



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