Who Needs J. Gilman?: Let's Start Our Own List of Classics < $60

I kid, love Gilman’s review and recommendations. But, since i do not subscribe, I have not seen that list of classic wines in the low-to-moderate category that can form the basis of a very solid collection. For the classicists, what are your core wines?

Here are my contributions of wines that I tend to buy in most vintages (a couple or few in each category):

Loire Cab Franc:
Joguet Clos de La Dioterie
Olga Raffault Les Picasses
Baudry Les Grezeaux

Sociando Mallet

Northern Rhone:
Gonon St. Joseph
Levet Cote Rotie, La Chavaroche
Anything Texier

California (red):
Ridge Estate Cabernet
Ridge Geyserville
Edmund St. Johns, Rocks and Gravel

Clos de la Roilette, Cuvee Tardive
Foillard Cote du Puy (or 3.14)
Thivin Cote de Brouilly

Riesling Kabinett
Anything Donhoff
Anything Prum

Burgs? Whites? Italian? Etc.

PS. These six categories of wines constitute 90% of my collection.

Over/under # of posts before someone suggests a $100 wine or that $60 is too low a limit: 10 posts.

Pepiere Granite de Clisson (when it is produced)

Calabretta-Etna Rosso

La Rioja Alta 904


Pepiere Clos de Briords every freekin year they make it. [dance2.gif]

Which of course would be a terrible shame if that’s the only thought-process, as for many of us (including me), the world of wine in this under $60 category is amazing. Yes, I have many wines that far exceed that price, but they are not necessarily my core wines, and when I open them, I have much higher expectations. These core wines deliver in spades, and when one is off, I do not cry as I did not pay a fortune.

I’d like to throw my hat in the ring for La Follette Wines. Incredible pinots and chards. Anything from the Sangiacamo Vineyard is magical.

Pierre Peters and Henriot for bubbles.

Skewis for CA Pinot.

Spain – The entire Lopez de Heredia Reserva line (GRs are beyond the limit in most markets):

Vina Tondonia Reserva White
Vina Tondonia (Gran) Reserva Rosado
Vina Tondonia Reserva Red
Vina Bosconia Reserva Red


I have all together stopped buying wines from Southern Rhone, unless they are heavy in mourvedre and more classicly-driven, but a singular bottle of this has transfixed me:

Domaine Leon Barral Cuvee Valieniere.

It may become a staple.

Aubry Champagnes (though not all of their cuvees)
Heitz Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Produttori del Barbaresco (pretty much everything)
Marcarini Baolos
Brundlmayer Heiligenstein Riesling (not the Alte Reben)

And I am going to throw this out there…Kutch Sonoma Coast Pino Noir!

As for Southern Rhone, Clos du Mont Olivet is still worth buying on a regular basis.

Great call on Produttori, David. I almost pulled one tonight. Are Heitz Cabs still in this price cat?

The regular Heitz cab (Napa) is under $50, and delicious.

Loire red
Would add to those mentioned above – C and P Breton, Bourgeuil Franc De Pied

Loire White Pinon, Chidaine (Bournais and Clos Habert), Chateau d’Epire Savennieres Cuvee Special, Pascal Cotat Sancerre (Les Monts Damnes)

Julien Sunier, Morgon and Fleurie
Daniel Bouland, Morgon Corcelette and Chiroubles
Foillard, most cuvees

Burgundy Red
Roty Pressonier
Pavelot – any of Dominode, Peuillets, Gravains, etc
Prudhon – Rouge Gorges
Camus-Bruchon – any of Gravains, Grands Liards, Narbantons
Lafouge – Auxey-Duresses
Sylvain Pataille – Marsannay Clos Du Roy

Felsina, Fontodi, Monsanto CCRs

Punset, Campo Quadro
Cortese, Barbaresco Rabaja
Antonio Vallana e Figlio Gattinara

Should add Austrian whites, too, esp. if we’re going as high as $60:

Schloss Gobelsburg Renner
Schloss Gobelsburg Lamm

Honestly, if I had to live with this list, I could be pretty happy.

California Red:
Kutch Sonoma Coast Pinot
Peay Syrah
Peay Pinot
Windy Oaks Pinot
A Tribute to Grace Grenache
Arnot Roberts Trouseau

Domaine Milliere

French BoJo/Burgundy:
Chignard Fleurie Moriers
Faiveley Mercurey


Zind Humbrect Guwertz
Navarro Dry Muscat
Liquid Farm White Hill Chard

Faury St. Joseph and St. Joseph VV for Northern Rhone. Fratelli alessandria for Barolo.

Heitz Napa is generally good, but this past offering was a steal. At the winery, coming in at $49. The 2010 Napa. I taste there in February each year when they release the new Martha’s. I won’t mention the other vintages when I think buck-for-buck the other vineyards/labels for Heitz are better values. 'Cause they are more than $60.

And Mr. Alfert: I thought you were on a 2 week hiatus?

I was wondering who was going to call him out.

I am pathetic, no willpower. Great burg tonight, Chateau Dauzac last night, a northern Rhone the prior night. My wine hiatus lasted one day. Gonna try again on Monday. No way on a weekend.

This category is basically 99% of my collection. In addition to those you’ve already mentioned, I’d add:

Hureau (of course, I got this from Gilman - thx John!)
Domaine de Sablonnettes
Clos Roche Blanche, while it lasted
Olga Raffault

Northern Rhone:
Monier Perreol
Graillot (don’t cellar this really, but should – I generally drink 1 or 2 bottles per vintage)
Vincent Paris
I’ve recently picked up a bunch of Champet (again based on Gilman’s reco, but haven’t tasted yet)

Burgundy: I’m very new to this category, but turned around recently and realized it makes up the biggest portion of my “cellar”. Haven’t had a chance to drink through a ton or experience these with a lot of age, but here are my go to’s that I have in decent quantity:
Chandon de Briailles
Bize (sometimes creeps above $60, but I generally stay away if so)
Roty Marsannay

Arnot Roberts
Sky Syrah (I’ve heard their Zinfandels are great)
Forlorn Hope

Produtorri del Barbaresco
Burlotto (Barolo, Pelaverga, Freisa) - don’t really cellar these, but buy/taste somewhat regularly and love

The following producers are categories unto themselves (i.e., the only producers I buy from each area with any regularity):
Savoie: Dupasquier Mondeuse and Altesse - the Mondeuse is so good and so cheap, I kick myself every year for only buying a few.
Baden: Enderle & Moll (particularly the premium bottlings which still clock in under $50)