Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

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Dave R.
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Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#1 Post by Dave R. » September 25th, 2020, 7:36 am

Putting together list of mid-priced (ideally sub $50, but $75 max) must-have "cult" wines.

Based on the following, would appreciate suggestions that fit the pattern for the open "?" categories:

Riesling - J.J. Prum
Rioja - R. LdH [+ CVNE?]
Zin - Ridge
Napa Cab - Frogs Leap [+ other?]
"Cab blend" - Musar

Fill in the blank:
Pinot Noir (USA) - ?
Bordeaux - ? [2nd wine?]
Piemonte - ?
Sangiovese - ?
Chardonnay (Chablis style) - ?
Champagne - ?
Sparkling (ex-Champagne) - ?
South America - ?
Australia - ?
Sauternes - ?

Open to recommendations that fit the pattern in other categories too--these just happen to be of most interest to me currently.

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#2 Post by Br1an Th0rne » September 25th, 2020, 7:42 am

For Bordeaux, Branaire Ducru and Grand Puy Lacoste are at the very top of my "value" list.

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#3 Post by David_K » September 25th, 2020, 8:13 am

If I'm not mistaken, in the trade anything over $20 is considered "super premium" or something like that. Just to put this in perspective. [snort.gif]
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#4 Post by Bob Hughes » September 25th, 2020, 8:19 am

This comment is not intended to demean their product, but I can't fathom anyone referring to Frog's Leap as a "cult" California producer.

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#5 Post by Dave R. » September 25th, 2020, 8:23 am

Bob Hughes wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 8:19 am
This comment is not intended to demean their product, but I can't fathom anyone referring to Frog's Leap as a "cult" California producer.
Maybe if a sub-$50 framework was imposed on them?

Semantics definitely a challenge for this exercise... mostly hoping focus will be on pattern recognition around the names I've highlighted and recommendations that are consistent with that set.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#6 Post by Jim Stewart » September 25th, 2020, 8:23 am

David_K wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 8:13 am
If I'm not mistaken, in the trade anything over $20 is considered "super premium" or something like that. Just to put this in perspective. [snort.gif]
David, sometimes on WB, I don't know whether to take a comment as serious or sarcastic. Maybe it's the lack of facial cues (although you did provide the snorting pig). Anyway I did find your comment easily corroborated and, yes, that does provide some sobering and useful perspective. Cheers.

Extreme Value wines, average cost $4.00, this category is made up of bulk wine.
Value wine, average cost, $4-$10, described as “Basic quality bulk wines from large regions and producers.”
Popular Premium Wines, average cost $10-$15, “Large production, decent varietal wines and blends
Premium $14-$20 “Good, solid quality wines
Super Premium $20-$30 “ Great, handmade wines from medium-large production wineries
Ultra Premium $30-$40 “Great quality, handmade, excellent-tasting wines from small to large producers”
Luxury $50-$100 “Excellent wines from wine regions made by near-top producers”
Super Luxury $100-$200 “Wines from top producers from microsites”
Icon $200+ “The pinnacle of wines, wineries and microsites.”
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#7 Post by K John Joseph » September 25th, 2020, 8:28 am

Yeah I don't get the "cult" reference but I'd add these guys:

Produttori Barbaresco
Vajra Barolo Albe
Bereche Brut Reserve Champagne
Ceritas Costalina Pinot Noir
J0hn-J-K4ne

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#8 Post by Dave R. » September 25th, 2020, 8:33 am

So Bob thinks I'm being low-brow (Frogs Leap) and David/Jim pointing out that this is not technically a "value" focused exercise. Tough crowd!

But hopefully intent is clear... list of outstanding/notable sub-$75 (but mostly sub-$50) wines that: 1) have a loyal [cult?] following, and 2) worth adding to a diverse cellar collection. [thankyou.gif]
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#9 Post by MichaelLee » September 25th, 2020, 8:34 am

Alzinger and prager for Austrian wines.

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#10 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 25th, 2020, 8:35 am

"Cult" is, as noted, a bit of a problematic descriptor. Using what I think is the better terminology from your thread title, my list of "essential canon" exemplars in the $25-$50 range (and that can be problematic, too, over time, as some prices change faster than others) would include (not repeating those you already listed) -

Bdx (red) - Cantemerle, Sociando
Burg (red) - Pavelot 1ers, Jadot Beaune 1ers
Chablis - Louis Michel 1ers
Loire chenin - Huet Secs and Demis, Chidaine
Tuscany - Felsina Rancia
Piedmont - Produttori "normale"
Campania - Mastroberardino Taurasi "Radici"
Zin/blends - Bedrock heritage wines
N. Rhône - Faury VV St. Joe, Graillot Crozes "Guiraude"
Germany - Willi Schaefer Kabi and Spät
Bojo - Roilette "Tardive"
Rosë - Tempier Bandol

Some former members are much missed in this price range - Tempier crus, Beaucastel, Gonon St. Joe, and too many others to name, as they have escalated to the next level.

I tried to focus not only on wines I like but on wines I perceive to have a fairly wide following among winos, and fairly wide distribution.
Last edited by D@ve D y r 0 f f on September 25th, 2020, 10:08 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#11 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » September 25th, 2020, 8:38 am

[rofl.gif]
Bob Hughes wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 8:19 am
This comment is not intended to demean their product, but I can't fathom anyone referring to Frog's Leap as a "cult" California producer.

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#12 Post by K John Joseph » September 25th, 2020, 8:43 am

Dave R. wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 8:33 am
So Bob thinks I'm being low-brow (Frogs Leap)
I don't think he's calling you low brow. I think he's saying that the term "cult" is usually attributed to a very specific thing in Napa that almost exclusively includes (i) famous winemaker; (ii) famous vineyard; (iii) extremely high price; (iv) relatively small production. Those things yield a very avid following that, given the relatively small supply, drives gray market pricing up and up and up. The wines become market drivers and collectible, like Harlan, Screagle, Tusk, Scarecrow, Macdonald.

Frog's Leap can be purchased in grocery stores with decent wine selections. One of my esteemed Berserker pals who eschews rich Napa bombers other than Ovid absolutely adores Frog's Leap and considers it the best value in the Valley. I think it's solid juice. But it isn't a cult wine just like Ridge zins aren't a cult wine.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#13 Post by Dave R. » September 25th, 2020, 8:49 am

K John Joseph wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 8:43 am
Dave R. wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 8:33 am
So Bob thinks I'm being low-brow (Frogs Leap)
I don't think he's calling you low brow. I think he's saying that the term "cult" is usually attributed to a very specific thing in Napa that almost exclusively includes (i) famous winemaker; (ii) famous vineyard; (iii) extremely high price; (iv) relatively small production. Those things yield a very avid following that, given the relatively small supply, drives gray market pricing up and up and up. The wines become market drivers and collectible, like Harlan, Screagle, Tusk, Scarecrow, Macdonald.

Frog's Leap can be purchased in grocery stores with decent wine selections. One of my esteemed Berserker pals who eschews rich Napa bombers other than Ovid absolutely adores Frog's Leap and considers it the best value in the Valley. I think it's solid juice. But it isn't a cult wine just like Ridge zins aren't a cult wine.
I actually agree with that read of his comment and that your list is the usual "cult." Clearly, my language has not been as precise as would have been ideal for this exercise (need more coffee), but there have already been some fantastically helpful responses... so no "ragrets!"

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#14 Post by Markus S » September 25th, 2020, 8:56 am

David_K wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 8:13 am
If I'm not mistaken, in the trade anything over $20 is considered "super premium" or something like that. Just to put this in perspective. [snort.gif]
+1
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#15 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » September 25th, 2020, 9:15 am

Champagne: Lallement, Lassaigne “Les Vins de Montguex”, Diebolt-Vallois BdB

Loire Chenin: Thibaud Bourdignon Anjou Blanc

Loire Cab Franc: Breton Bourgueil

US Pinot Noir: Evesham Wood, Cameron(if you like funky)

Chablis: Schaller

+1 on Produttori

Northern Rhone: Alain Graillot, honorable mention to Faury VV

Germany: Hexamer, Karthauserhoff, Adam,
Merkelbach, and about a million more

Austria: Alzinger’s Federspiel wines

Beaujolais: Thivin, Clos de Roillette
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#16 Post by Pat Burton » September 25th, 2020, 9:22 am

Very dated thread, but perhaps a place to start

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=99269
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#17 Post by Dave R. » September 25th, 2020, 9:31 am

Pat Burton wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 9:22 am
Very dated thread, but perhaps a place to start

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=99269
Some good stuff in here. Thx. Also, interesting to see that started with many of same names six years ago.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#18 Post by Dave R. » September 25th, 2020, 9:35 am

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 9:15 am
Champagne: Lallement, Lassaigne “Les Vins de Montguex”, Diebolt-Vallois BdB

Loire Chenin: Thibaud Bourdignon Anjou Blanc

Loire Cab Franc: Breton Bourgueil

US Pinot Noir: Evesham Wood, Cameron(if you like funky)

Chablis: Schaller

+1 on Produttori

Northern Rhone: Alain Graillot, honorable mention to Faury VV

Germany: Hexamer, Karthauserhoff, Adam,
Merkelbach, and about a million more

Austria: Alzinger’s Federspiel wines

Beaujolais: Thivin, Clos de Roillette
Do like funky. And agree re AJ Adam (and that I need to try much more German). In general, a lot to explore here. Thank you.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#19 Post by Chris V. » September 25th, 2020, 9:37 am

Rioja - LdH, CVNE, La Rioja Alta, Pecina
Cali Cab - Ridge Estate Cab (creeping out of this bracket)
Pinot Noir (USA) - Arcadian, Rhys San Mateo, Domaine Eden/Mount Eden (depending on pricing)
Bordeaux - Grand Puy Lacoste, Cantemerle, Sociando Mallet, Older Lanessan
Piemont - Vietti Perbacco, Produttori
Sangiovese - Il Poggione
Chardonnay - Kutch
Loire - Baudry, Amirault
Champagne - Pol Roger White Label
S Rhone - Bois de Boursan
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#20 Post by Arv R » September 25th, 2020, 10:08 am

Chris V. wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 9:37 am
Rioja - LdH, CVNE, La Rioja Alta, Pecina
Cali Cab - Ridge Estate Cab (creeping out of this bracket)
Pinot Noir (USA) - Arcadian, Rhys San Mateo, Domaine Eden/Mount Eden (depending on pricing)
Bordeaux - Grand Puy Lacoste, Cantemerle, Sociando Mallet, Older Lanessan
Piemont - Vietti Perbacco, Produttori
Sangiovese - Il Poggione
Chardonnay - Kutch
Loire - Baudry, Amirault
Champagne - Pol Roger White Label
S Rhone - Bois de Boursan
In the So Rho I'd also suggest Charvin, Vieux Telegraphe, Beaucastel. The latter two may be above the $70 cap in some vintages, but they do have other lower priced bottlings worth putting away (Telegramme/Piedlong, Coudelet). I also do not think they are polarizing flavor profiles.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#21 Post by Chris Seiber » September 25th, 2020, 10:15 am

Musar should definitely be on the list. And one could use the term “cult” for the following, though of course not in the Napa / Screaming Eagle way.

Sandlands is great, highly distinctive wine that could be considered “culty” even though the prices are ridiculously low.

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#22 Post by R. Frankel » September 25th, 2020, 10:27 am

I’ve been staring at this with ideas of what to add but there are already lots of good names here. But one could add more. In each region there are dozens of good options. In some (Oregon, almost everywhere in Italy, Loire Valley, South Africa, and on and on) there are hundreds. While Napa, Piedmont, Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux top names are priced far beyond $75, those regions are the exception. Too bad the wines deserve their fame! But even in these places you can find sub-$50 exemplars.

In terms of whether this is ‘canon’ or ‘cult’ or ‘best’ you are going to run into a lot of subjective opinion on nomenclature. I’d call this “Wine Berserker Favorites” or “Wine Berserker Community Conventional Wisdom.” Plus there are different styles, so one person’s list might be very different from another’s.

To add to your list:

Piedmont/Nebbiolo: Yes, sure PdB Normale, Vietti Perbacco, Vajra Albe. But I’d add Fratelli Alessandria Langhe Nebbiolo, Fratelli Alessandria Barolo, La Ca Nova Barbaresco, Sandrone Langhe Nebbiolo Valmaggiore, Bruno Giacosa Nebbiolo d’Alba, Fratelli Barale Barolo, Burlotto Langhe Nebbiolo, Vietti Castiglione, A&G Fantino Cascina Dardi Barolo, Azelia Barolo, Roagna Langhe Nebbiolo, Francesco Rinaldi Barolo.

I could add more from this one region. My point is that there might be a single wine (PdB) that everyone talks about and gets board attention, but it doesn’t mean that wine is the best or canon or most representative of the region/grape in that price range. Just popular. Meanwhile almost any from my list above could win a WOTD contest depending on age, preferences, food. I always bridle at ‘best’ conversations because the beauty of wine is the glorious depth of the hobby, and the variety it offers.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#23 Post by R. Frankel » September 25th, 2020, 10:29 am

Aside from definitional debate about the words cult and canon, the really important question is: what’s the point of this list?
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#24 Post by Dave R. » September 25th, 2020, 10:40 am

R. Frankel wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 10:27 am
I’d call this “Wine Berserker Favorites” or “Wine Berserker Community Conventional Wisdom.”
Works for me. And thanks for the ideas.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#25 Post by Dave R. » September 25th, 2020, 10:53 am

R. Frankel wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 10:29 am
Aside from definitional debate about the words cult and canon, the really important question is: what’s the point of this list?
Harvesting (consolidating?) the vast knowledge of this community for the purpose of a head start on investigating new wines and/or checking for blind spots for a general collection. Basically a place for learning about great wine at/below my preferred price point (where there is a lot of great "value" but also rubbish--so helpful to have a filter). Selfishly motivated (great responses have already made it a success), but hopefully broadly useful.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#26 Post by Chris V. » September 25th, 2020, 12:09 pm

Arv R wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 10:08 am
Chris V. wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 9:37 am
Rioja - LdH, CVNE, La Rioja Alta, Pecina
Cali Cab - Ridge Estate Cab (creeping out of this bracket)
Pinot Noir (USA) - Arcadian, Rhys San Mateo, Domaine Eden/Mount Eden (depending on pricing)
Bordeaux - Grand Puy Lacoste, Cantemerle, Sociando Mallet, Older Lanessan
Piemont - Vietti Perbacco, Produttori
Sangiovese - Il Poggione
Chardonnay - Kutch
Loire - Baudry, Amirault
Champagne - Pol Roger White Label
S Rhone - Bois de Boursan
In the So Rho I'd also suggest Charvin, Vieux Telegraphe, Beaucastel. The latter two may be above the $70 cap in some vintages, but they do have other lower priced bottlings worth putting away (Telegramme/Piedlong, Coudelet). I also do not think they are polarizing flavor profiles.
I had considered adding Charvin and I probably should have. Beaucastel and Vieux Telegraphe I think are generally too modern styled to be appreciated by traditionalists. The only exception may be cooler vintages where ripeness is in check.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#27 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » September 25th, 2020, 12:20 pm

R. Frankel wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 10:29 am
Aside from definitional debate about the words cult and canon, the really important question is: what’s the point of this list?
Which wineries routinely do great work, producing excellent wines appreciated by the Berserker palate at prices that make exploring their work(and buying it again) financially a normal pursuit, rather than trophy hunting.


I am 100% in agreement with your commentary on “best”.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#28 Post by Vince L. » September 25th, 2020, 12:28 pm

Surprised nobody mentioned:

Pinot Noir (USA) - Rivers-Marie. They seem to be a darling of wB. I also enjoy Chanin's PN and will be opening my first Ceritas this weekend.

My pick for
Chardonnay - Ceritas, Chanin & Liquid Farm
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#29 Post by Markus S » September 25th, 2020, 1:18 pm

Dave R. wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 10:53 am
R. Frankel wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 10:29 am
Aside from definitional debate about the words cult and canon, the really important question is: what’s the point of this list?
Harvesting (consolidating?) the vast knowledge of this community for the purpose of a head start on investigating new wines and/or checking for blind spots for a general collection. Basically a place for learning about great wine at/below my preferred price point (where there is a lot of great "value" but also rubbish--so helpful to have a filter). Selfishly motivated (great responses have already made it a success), but hopefully broadly useful.
You know if you simply perused the vast number of threads already in existence, you could see what the board favorites are, which this is really a type of.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#30 Post by Russell Porter » September 25th, 2020, 1:32 pm

Vince L. wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 12:28 pm
Surprised nobody mentioned:

Pinot Noir (USA) - Rivers-Marie. They seem to be a darling of wB. I also enjoy Chanin's PN and will be opening my first Ceritas this weekend.
I second the Rivers Marie suggestion for Pinot. I also like the Seavey Chardonnays, which have a bit more minerality to them, more like a Chablis.

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#31 Post by Chris Seiber » September 25th, 2020, 1:49 pm

Russell Porter wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 1:32 pm
Vince L. wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 12:28 pm
Surprised nobody mentioned:

Pinot Noir (USA) - Rivers-Marie. They seem to be a darling of wB. I also enjoy Chanin's PN and will be opening my first Ceritas this weekend.
I second the Rivers Marie suggestion for Pinot. I also like the Seavey Chardonnays, which have a bit more minerality to them, more like a Chablis.
Hey, welcome Russell. I hope we see you around here in the future.

Tell me more about Seavey, I haven't had it before but it sounds up my alley.

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#32 Post by Russell Porter » September 25th, 2020, 2:07 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 1:49 pm
Russell Porter wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 1:32 pm
Vince L. wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 12:28 pm
Surprised nobody mentioned:

Pinot Noir (USA) - Rivers-Marie. They seem to be a darling of wB. I also enjoy Chanin's PN and will be opening my first Ceritas this weekend.
I second the Rivers Marie suggestion for Pinot. I also like the Seavey Chardonnays, which have a bit more minerality to them, more like a Chablis.
Hey, welcome Russell. I hope we see you around here in the future.

Tell me more about Seavey, I haven't had it before but it sounds up my alley.
Thanks for the welcome. I'm still rather intimidated by so many well-educated people on this site, although I have really enjoyed reading the discussions. It's great!

A good friend took me to visit Seavey this summer, in June. They have a really good, deep Cabernet, as many people know, but it is clearly not less than $70. Their Chards, however, are $55. They are a little less buttery than a traditional Chardonnay from California. It has a bit more mineral and citrus to it, and with a bit of honey notes, that distinguish it as a Chard. I liked it, and thought it is a nice light Chardonnay as opposed to the many sweet ones that the region often produces. It's worth trying. I am not sure about "cult" but they are lesser known and not available at just any store.

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#33 Post by Max S. » September 25th, 2020, 2:44 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 9:15 am
Loire Chenin: Thibaud Bourdignon Anjou Blanc
No Huet love?
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#34 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » September 25th, 2020, 3:06 pm

Vince L. wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 12:28 pm
Surprised nobody mentioned:

Pinot Noir (USA) - Rivers-Marie. They seem to be a darling of wB. I also enjoy Chanin's PN and will be opening my first Ceritas this weekend.

My pick for
Chardonnay - Ceritas, Chanin & Liquid Farm
Maybe we should go CA and OR for USA.

Chardonnay (OR)-Walter Scott, Cameron, Crowley, Brickhouse, Morgen-Long, Twill, Vincent, Bethel Heights(High Wire is dynamite), and plenty of others.

That may seem like a lot of producers for a “darling” list, but there is a ton of great Oregon Chardonnay being made right now.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#35 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » September 25th, 2020, 3:12 pm

Max S. wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 2:44 pm
Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 9:15 am
Loire Chenin: Thibaud Bourdignon Anjou Blanc
No Huet love?
I used to love those wines. And still think they are solid, very well made benchmarks, but for the last decade I just haven’t felt that they have the magic (for me) that they used to.

Beyond Bourdignon, I often really like the top bottlings of Chateau Belliviere. But for my palate, right now Bourdignon is in a class by himself. And the Anjou Blanc is his entry level. The Savennieres are stellar.

That said, Huet is still an excellent producer.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#36 Post by Vince L. » September 25th, 2020, 3:16 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 3:06 pm
Vince L. wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 12:28 pm
Surprised nobody mentioned:

Pinot Noir (USA) - Rivers-Marie. They seem to be a darling of wB. I also enjoy Chanin's PN and will be opening my first Ceritas this weekend.

My pick for
Chardonnay - Ceritas, Chanin & Liquid Farm
Maybe we should go CA and OR for USA.

Chardonnay (OR)-Walter Scott, Cameron, Crowley, Brickhouse, Morgen-Long, Twill, Vincent, Bethel Heights(High Wire is dynamite), and plenty of others.

That may seem like a lot of producers for a “darling” list, but there is a ton of great Oregon Chardonnay being made right now.
I will be the first to admit I've had 0 exposure to OR Chardonnay and very limited exposure to OR Pinot (only had EL 7 Springs before) but have heard great things. I aim to remedy that next year.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#37 Post by R. Frankel » September 25th, 2020, 4:17 pm

Thanks for all the feedback :). What a fun exploration you have ahead of you! And to add a few more:

Sauternes: Chateau Climens (though others could reasonably argue for Rieussec or Suduiraut).

Bordeaux: I would strongly recommend trying a bottle with 20+ years of age. Many regions produce age worthy wines, but Bordeaux remains the most available/cheapest/most likely to be in good shape. Maybe you’ll hate aged wine, but maybe not! A few of us here kinda like the stuff. Right now on Winebid there is 1995 Sociando Mallet, 1995 Clos du Marquis, 1996 Gloria, all in your under $75 range. These are not earth shaking but they will be good examples of nice aged Bordeaux. The cool thing about Winebid is you can buy just one bottle. Just don’t bid on any with seepage, depressed corks, or elevated corks.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#38 Post by K.C0LBURN » September 25th, 2020, 5:16 pm

R. Frankel wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 4:17 pm
Thanks for all the feedback :). What a fun exploration you have ahead of you! And to add a few more:

Sauternes: Chateau Climens (though others could reasonably argue for Rieussec or Suduiraut).

Bordeaux: I would strongly recommend trying a bottle with 20+ years of age. Many regions produce age worthy wines, but Bordeaux remains the most available/cheapest/most likely to be in good shape. Maybe you’ll hate aged wine, but maybe not! A few of us here kinda like the stuff. Right now on Winebid there is 1995 Sociando Mallet, 1995 Clos du Marquis, 1996 Gloria, all in your under $75 range. These are not earth shaking but they will be good examples of nice aged Bordeaux. The cool thing about Winebid is you can buy just one bottle. Just don’t bid on any with seepage, depressed corks, or elevated corks.
You took the words right out of my mouth on Sauternes! Rieussec is more available to me than Climens, but I like and would be happy to drink any of the three depending on availability.

The other favorites on my list have largely been mentioned in other areas (Trimbach, etc.). One thing that I like in the sub-$10 range is Santa Cristina (Antinori). I've seen it pop up on a much wider array of restaurant lists than I expected, to the point where if the list is otherwise sub-par I can rely on this wine to be my friend.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#39 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 25th, 2020, 6:40 pm

K.C0LBURN wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 5:16 pm
One thing that I like in the sub-$10 range is Santa Cristina (Antinori). I've seen it pop up on a much wider array of restaurant lists than I expected, to the point where if the list is otherwise sub-par I can rely on this wine to be my friend.
I bought a ton of 1990 Santa Cristina back in the day. Great introduction to Tuscany for me.

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#40 Post by R. Frankel » September 25th, 2020, 6:57 pm

Sangiovese: Felsina has been suggested, but I’m a naysayer. Well known and not expensive but I never love it. 2015 Lisini Brunello is a steal at $50 and both exemplary and age worthy. At $35 Fuligni Rosso is very reliable. Like many regions in Italy the good choices in the $25-$50 range are numerous. Or for a little more ... (insert evil laugh).

One key issue is availability. Most of what people have proposed is very available, but if you share your city folks can recommend good local stores. Online buying/shipping is 100% viable - we all do it! - but it’s not as immediate.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#41 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 25th, 2020, 7:54 pm

R. Frankel wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 6:57 pm
Sangiovese: Felsina has been suggested, but I’m a naysayer. Well known and not expensive but I never love it. 2015 Lisini Brunello is a steal at $50 and both exemplary and age worthy. At $35 Fuligni Rosso is very reliable. Like many regions in Italy the good choices in the $25-$50 range are numerous. Or for a little more ... (insert evil laugh).

One key issue is availability. Most of what people have proposed is very available, but if you share your city folks can recommend good local stores. Online buying/shipping is 100% viable - we all do it! - but it’s not as immediate.
I suggested Felsina and still stand by it, but despite our disagreement there, I agree 100% with Rich on Lisini. I should have included it in my original post - it has been my go-to BdM since the 1990. Great, age-worthy, consistent, reasonably priced, available. One of the staples of my cellar! [cheers.gif]

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#42 Post by Ben M a n d l e r » September 25th, 2020, 8:17 pm

My kind of thread - thanks to everyone for all the great contributions and thanks to Dave for starting it! Many of my suggestions have been mentioned above already, but here’s what comes to mind:

Bordeaux: Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Sociando Mallet, Prieuré-Lichine
Rioja: La Rioja Alta, CVNE, Muga, LdH
Burgundy: J A Ferret
Sauternes: almost everything except Yquem fits the bill here. Suduiraut, Guiraud, Lafaurie-Peyraguey, and Coutet are personal favorites.

I’m not well versed in Tokaji but I’d put Royal Tokaji Co, Disznoko, and Oremus on the list.

I’d add Bedrock and Turley to Ridge for heritage wines, not just Zin.

A number of Napa and especially Sonoma options fit the bill here. Hyde de Villaine, Ramey, Rivers-Marie, Truchard, Ceritas, Pax, Massican, Matthiasson, Rafanelli, Calluna, Dehlinger, Scherrer, Walter Hansel. I’d also personally add Drew, Baxter, and Halcon from Mendocino. And Edmunds St John from the Sierra foothills. And Mt/Domaine Eden from Santa Cruz Mtns.

Aussies...Leeuwin, Henschke (many of their wines fall in this bracket), Wynn, Tyrrells, Brokenwood, Clonakilla, Grosset, Mount Horrocks, and so many more.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#43 Post by KeithM » September 25th, 2020, 9:09 pm

Bordeaux has good value for quality these days up and down the price spectrum. Tour St Christophe is crazy good for thirty-ish bucks. So is Sansonnet. 2019 Domaine De Chevalier Rouge futures have been $60 for several months. It would be hard to find a better QPR anywhere for my palate. d'Issan in the $50s. It will vary by your tastes, but I would think that most would be able to find something great for the price.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#44 Post by Chris Foley » September 26th, 2020, 6:05 am

For Bordeaux, at the top of your price range - Branaire-Ducru, Talbot, Domaine de Chevalier, Giscours, Cantenac Brown, Grand Puy Lacoste, La Croix Ducru Beaucaillou. A bit lower priced and better vfm - Meyney, Capbern, Labegorce, Siran, Cantemerle, Sociando Mallet, Tour St Christophe (right bank).
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#45 Post by Scott Brunson » September 26th, 2020, 7:06 am

D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 8:35 am
"Cult" is, as noted, a bit of a problematic descriptor. Using what I think is the better terminology from your thread title, my list of "essential canon" exemplars in the $25-$50 range (and that can be problematic, too, over time, as some prices change faster than others) would include (not repeating those you already listed) -

Bdx (red) - Cantemerle, Sociando
Burg (red) - Pavelot 1ers, Jadot Beaune 1ers
Chablis - Louis Michel 1ers
Loire chenin - Huet Secs and Demis, Chidaine
Tuscany - Felsina Rancia
Piedmont - Produttori "normale"
Campania - Mastroberardino Taurasi "Radici"
Zin/blends - Bedrock heritage wines
N. Rhône - Faury VV St. Joe, Graillot Crozes "Guiraude"
Germany - Willi Schaefer Kabi and Spät
Bojo - Roilette "Tardive"
Rosë - Tempier Bandol

Some former members are much missed in this price range - Tempier crus, Beaucastel, Gonon St. Joe, and too many others to name, as they have escalated to the next level.

I tried to focus not only on wines I like but on wines I perceive to have a fairly wide following among winos, and fairly wide distribution.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#46 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » September 26th, 2020, 8:06 am

I might change riesling to JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett and Spätlese, only because I anticipate Willi Schaefer pricing will continue to go up faster than other Mosel producers. Prum is a classic estate, consistently high quality year after year, and has pricing that remains reasonable.
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2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
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2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#47 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 26th, 2020, 10:47 am

D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 8:35 am
"Cult" is, as noted, a bit of a problematic descriptor. Using what I think is the better terminology from your thread title, my list of "essential canon" exemplars in the $25-$50 range (and that can be problematic, too, over time, as some prices change faster than others) would include (not repeating those you already listed) -

Bdx (red) - Cantemerle, Sociando
Burg (red) - Pavelot 1ers, Jadot Beaune 1ers
Chablis - Louis Michel 1ers
Loire chenin - Huet Secs and Demis, Chidaine
Tuscany - Felsina Rancia
Piedmont - Produttori "normale"
Campania - Mastroberardino Taurasi "Radici"
Zin/blends - Bedrock heritage wines
N. Rhône - Faury VV St. Joe, Graillot Crozes "Guiraude"
Germany - Willi Schaefer Kabi and Spät
Bojo - Roilette "Tardive"
Rosë - Tempier Bandol

Some former members are much missed in this price range - Tempier crus, Beaucastel, Gonon St. Joe, and too many others to name, as they have escalated to the next level.

I tried to focus not only on wines I like but on wines I perceive to have a fairly wide following among winos, and fairly wide distribution.
Really solid list right there!

I would definitely have Frog’s Leap up there for the Napa Cab, I do not think there is a better Cab in that $75 and under category, frankly, I like it more than most of the princely stuff. Solid and classic Rutherford.

Add Pegau for CDP, depending on vintages, can still get for $50. The 2017 came out at that price point, was a steal IMHO.

I would also add Thivin for Bojo. Arguably one of the best QPRs on the planet and so consistent from vintage to vintage - as in consistently good, not as in homogenized.

Depending also on vintage - think 2014 and 2019 - Bordeaux can often be an incredible value. Still cannot believe how many Classified Growths and top notch Bordeaux I bought in 2014 for $55 and under. Grabbed some recently 2016s as well for $50 and under, including Branaire Ducru on sale, plus Ferriere and Fonbadet.

Surprised the OP does not have Loire Cab Franc listed, it’s a treasure-trove of classic wines for $50 and under. Baudry. Plouzeau. Raffault. Roche Neuves. Etc.
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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#48 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 26th, 2020, 11:00 am

Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
September 26th, 2020, 8:06 am
I might change riesling to JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett and Spätlese, only because I anticipate Willi Schaefer pricing will continue to go up faster than other Mosel producers. Prum is a classic estate, consistently high quality year after year, and has pricing that remains reasonable.
I certainly agree on Prüm, but left them (and Ridge, LdH, and Musar) off my list since the OP already had them listed and I was just suggesting additions.

I also agree with several posters that for pradikat riesling, it's hard to go wrong with just about any quality producer's kabinett or spätlese since, with only a couple of exceptions, they are all under $50, but my sense is that JJP and WS are the two that would be most widely acknowledged here as reference-points (or as "canon"), and both also seem to have fairly broad distribution/availability, unlike many others.
Last edited by D@ve D y r 0 f f on September 26th, 2020, 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#49 Post by Phil T r o t t e r » September 26th, 2020, 11:04 am

There already are a number of great recommendations on the thread. So I'll only chime in with some personal favorites not already mentioned and categories that weren't on the OP's list:

Chardonnay (Chablis style) - Gilbert Picq 1er Cru, Samuel Billaud 1er Cru
Champagne - Vilmart 1er Cru Grande Réserve, Gonet-Medeville Tradition 1er Cru Brut, Pierre Gerbais Grains de Celles Extra-Brut, Cédric Bouchard Côte de Val Vilaine, Savart L'Ouverture
Sparkling (ex-Champagne) - Barone Pizzini Franciacorta Pas Dosé

Outside of the OP's list:
Burg (red) - Domaine des Croix, Rapet, Joblot, Lumpp, A. et P. de Villaine
Burg (white, non-Chablis): Simon Bize, A. et P. de Villaine
N. Rhône: Domaine Monier St-Joseph
Loire (red): Collier, Roches Neuves, Guiberteau
Loire (white): Collier, Guiberteau, Domaine de La Roche Bleue, Château Soucherie
Lombardia: Ar.Pe.Pe Sassella Stella Retica Reserva
South Africa (white): Badenhorst Chenin Blanc single vineyards, Alheit Vineyards Cartology
Portugal: Niepoort Poeirinho, Quinta da Popa Vinhas Velhas

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Re: Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

#50 Post by brodie thomson » September 27th, 2020, 1:36 pm

Ben M a n d l e r wrote:
September 25th, 2020, 8:17 pm
My kind of thread - thanks to everyone for all the great contributions and thanks to Dave for starting it! Many of my suggestions have been mentioned above already, but here’s what comes to mind:


Aussies...Leeuwin, Henschke (many of their wines fall in this bracket), Wynns, Tyrrells, Brokenwood, Clonakilla, Grosset, Mount Horrocks, and so many more.
Specifically the Wynns Black Label Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. A true regional Aussie classic, first made in the 1950s and is good as ever now. Ages for 30+ years in good vintages and is not overworked and is great value. Here is NZ you can buy it for around NZ$30 (US$20)

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