What are some good, but cheaper alternatives to Rombauer Chard in the same style?

What can I say, my wife loves the stuff, but at $29-$34/bottle her habit is breaking the bank, to say nothing of depleting funds that I would spend on…other varietals. I keep reminding her that we have a cellar full of great Pinot, Syrah, Zin, Cab, etc. and she drinks those as well, but really prefers Rombauer with many fish and chicken entrees as well as an aperitif in the summer. I admit that I like it once in awhile myself. She loves its richness and fruit and even the touch of oak and dislikes the more minerally notes in some other CA chards. Don’t even think of serving her something aged only in steel!

Bristol Farms had a great sale last year that got the per bottle price down to about $22; which would be fine, but don’t know if they will do that one again soon.

I’m looking for alternatives that would be in the <$20 price point, if possible. She seems to like (not love) a Macrostie, but not enough to replace the Rombauer. Any ideas would be much appreciated! [help.gif]

<edited to clarify…it’s my wife not girlfriend…gf hates Rombauer> [stirthepothal.gif]

Kendall Jackson?

Buy a hollowed out oak stump and use it for a water cooler?

Ignore the Braso-AFWE above.




Jorge…thanks for the ideas!
Roberto…you need better…or at least more original, material. [tease.gif]

Agree with Jorge on Landmark Overlook, around $22 here, so not a massive savings. Maybe Cambria at about $16?


Those who like Rombauer should like La Crema or Logan. Both can be found for around $15 a bottle.

Man, if my girlfriend liked overpriced wine produced on near-industrial levels (Rombauer is 40,000 cases per year), I’d have to seriously re-evaluate where our relationship was going!

I’d try the following things that would put me in the doghouse for minimum 1 week, probably longer:

  • Explain that a wine produced at 40k cases per year should not cost $30.
  • Secretly put a less expensive mass-produced Chard in the Rombauer bottle and serve it to her. If she likes it just as much, subtly imply she is drinking the label, not the wine.

I recall enjoying Chards like the Cambria and Alma Rosa which are sub-$20. But I don’t think they aim for as much ML, sur lees, and oak flavors.

“- Explain that a wine produced at 40k cases per year should not cost $30.”

Roberto, I thought the major Left Bank Chateaus were more in the 10k to 20k range. Which is still large production, but still 2-4 times less than Rombauer. I do not know what Champagne brands can turn out, but it is probably quite large.

But I would also question why First Growths produced in monumental quantities must cost so much. (I mean aside from the fact there is sufficient demand to sell at stratospheric prices.) Perhaps the high price allows treatment of each lot as a micro-cuvee. But do they really achieve uniformity over 100,000 to 200,000 bottles to the extent that a given vintage presents itself uniformly as one wine? And if not, why not buy the wine of the less prestigious neighboring chateau assuming similar soil, exposure and wine making prowess?

Tangentially, I read a funny thing recently. DRC bottles its wines barrel by barrel, which is possible since they use 100% new oak. Obviously production scale is much smaller than the semi-industrial levels of Bdx. But I wonder about variation/uniformity here as well.

See my edit to OP above. Which means, though I understand your intent…it’s a non-starter. I’ve tried to sub, on the blind, La Crema, Acacia and Sonoma Cutrer…and she can tell the difference. She’s actually got a great palate, much better than mine, and detects (and loves) those notes that others dislike so much about Rombauer. I like the idea of Overlook and Logan though. We haven’t had Logan yet and I seem to recall she liked the Overlook. Thanks!


There really is nothing to it beyond that. There is absolutely no relation between the real cost to produce and the selling price.
Leoville Barton’s costs did not triple between 1999 and 2000, and then suddenly plunge again in 2001 did they?

In fact I’d expect that the first growth reds probably cost a damn sight less to produce than most Sauternes.
The yields are lower and harvesting is more difficult.

Advantage: wife.

I think you just have to bite the bullet on this one if she can tell the difference blind. It’s either that or tell her she must buy it with her own money! I’m surprised there is no cheaper alternative, though. Very ripe fruit and loads of new oak probably can’t be done for under $15. But $20 to $25 should be a sensible target range . . . .

Has your wife tried the Foxglove Chard from Varner? It’s in the $10 range and worth maybe twice as much, IMO.

Also, I was recently very impressed with a 2008 Washington state Chard from The House of Independent Producers Sagemoor Vineyard. At a mere 12.8% and about $13 a bottle, this is worth seeking out.

[oops.gif] I just looked at the label and noticed that it’s unoaked. Sorry. I still highly recommend it though.

Buttered popcorn?

when we run out of Rombauer, here is what we suggest:

Camelot Highlands ($20)
Solitude ($24)
Newton, red label ($16)

Morgan and Sonoma-Cutrer also good ideas and both @ $20.


Two much better Chards than Rombauer and much cheaper: 08 Hogue $5.99 and 08 Chateau St. Michelle $7.99. Both from WA state.

Well, you’ve got me there. (Have you spoken with my wife?) I’m just trying to conserve dwindling dollars once in awhile, that’s all. But it is kind of like: headbang

Richard, funny you say that…she LOVES buttered popcorn!

Thanks for all the suggestions and I/we will be trying them. She’s definitely open to finding some less expensive chard that we could occasionally substitute; just hasn’t found it yet.

Peter, another one to try is the 08 Lonen @ $7.99. Really nice stuff.