Essential canon of mid-priced "value"

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.

Thanks. [thankyou.gif]

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

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]

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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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.”

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

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]

Alzinger and prager for Austrian wines.

“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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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!”



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

Very dated thread, but perhaps a place to start

Some good stuff in here. Thx. Also, interesting to see that started with many of same names six years ago.

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.

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.