Category Under $12 Deals

92 Point Rhone Red for $11.95 – Domaine Cabirau Cotes du Roussillon

November 17, 2014 90+ BargainsUnder $12 Deals  No comments


Value seekers need to discover the Roussillon appellation of the southern Rhone Valley fast!  Where else in the world can you find highly rated reds for less than $15?

Today's wine is from a winery recently purchased by successful importer Dan Kravitz.  This is one of the best wines in the world for the price.  It features bright red fruits on the nose and sweet strawberry on the palate accented by superb minerality.  The super long finish speaks to the quality of the old vines Grenache.  That grape combined with smaller amounts of Carignan and Syrah, create a complex and incredibly polished wine at any price.  At $12, it's frankly incredible.  Furthermore, this wine is bottled under screwcap so it will remain fresh and will be without the risk of cork taint.  Bravo to this case

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90 Point Rhone under $12 – Chateau Bizard Grignan les Adhemar Montagne de Raucoule (WA90, $11.95)

September 25, 2014 Under $12 Deals  No comments

Chateau Bizard 2011

From the Southern Rhone appellation of Grignan-les Adhemar (new to me), comes this killer Syrah-based blend from Chateau Bizard.  As the years go by, my daily drinker wines have experienced some "price creep".  Besides spending more, the other problem with this phenomenon is I'm getting quite a bit more picky about what I consider a quality wine.  The grading curve has simply been raised.

That said, this is a rock solid Syrah.  It blends southern Rhone and fruit exuberance with northern Rhone cut and focus (it's from the north part of southern Rhone).  You might say it's the best of both (old) worlds. Furthermore, finding a domestic wine, Syrah or otherwise, that even approaches this quality is completely impossible.
Buy Here: 2011 Chateau Bizard Grignan

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We’re Back! Update: New Deals Enclosed

September 8, 2014 90+ BargainsHigh End ValuesNews and OpinionUnder $12 Deals  No comments

You may have noticed (or likely didn't notice at all), that Nickel and Dime Wine has taken an extended break.  Why?  Luckily not because I stopped drinking wine nor did I stop buying it.  In the roughly nine months since the last post, I have done something that can only be done in nine months - I learned a new language with Rosetta Stone!  I also had a baby.  Not personally - my lovely wife did the hard work.

So Nickel and Dime wine is coming at you with baby in tow. We'll have more wine deals along with wine commentary, travel logs and general wine greatness!

Let's start with what I would buy this month. Deals abound and these are my top choices.  I will follow up when I get a chance to write an in-depth review, but don't wait to pick these up.
Top Pick Under $12: 2010 San Felice

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Under $12 Deals – A Crisp White Burgundy (RP91, $11.95)

December 6, 2013 Under $12 Deals  No comments

Marie-Pierre ManciatWhite Burgundys are some of the most sought after and expensive white wines in the world with well rated, and even marginally rated examples selling for well over $100 per bottle.  So when I saw this Chardonnay from the Mâcon region had received 91 points from Parker himself and it was priced at $12, I had to try it.

Last night I grabbed this bottle and headed to our favorite BYOB where it went perfectly with the pan-roasted skate wing special.  This wine is a stark contrast to the big buttery domestic Chardonnay style.  It features crisp acid and beautiful notes of peach and pear.  It sees no wood, so you end up with a very focused wine that's a perfect fit for seafood.

I've been very impressed with several of the 2011's from the Mâcon region of Burgundy - an area increasingly

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Under $12 Deals – Guigal Cotes du Rhone is Great EVERY Year (RP89, $11.95)

October 24, 2013 Under $12 Deals  No comments

Guigal Cotes du Rhone LabelOccasionally I find myself in two separate circumstances where I am in need of reasonably-priced, good wine (vs. reasonably-priced bad wine).  1.) I'm traveling and need to pick up a go-to wine at an unfamiliar liquor store or grocery store and 2.) I'm having a group of people over and I don't want to break the bank.  Guigal's 2010 Cotes du Rhone would work perfectly for both circumstances.  They make over 1 million bottles per year, so it's easy to come by and it's consistently really good.

In France, where all but the best wines (and sometimes even those) are made by purchasing grapes from village communes, there is one way to make good wine.  Pay higher prices for the best grapes.  That's precisely the approach the famous Guigal family takes with their generic Cotes du Rhone

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Under $12 Deals – A 91 Point French Red for the Ages (RP91, $11.95)

October 14, 2013 Under $12 Deals  One comment

2011 Tessellae Vieilles Vignes Cotes CatalanesI brought importer Eric Solomon's  2011 Tessellae Vieilles Vignes Cotes Catalanes to a French restaurant last week along with some other more expensive wines.  To my surprise, the table was asking where they could buy this wine, which was unanimously the favorite.

A wine of impressive length and polish, this translucent ruby-colored 100% Carignan shows a focus that can only come from old vines.  And I'm talking super old.  Luckily France has a plethora of old vineyards, because 70 year old vines in the U.S. (the few that exist) are priced at a major premium.  This wine is another wine from the Roussillon region of France, which is producing some of the very best wine values in the world right now.

Until now, all of the 100% Carignan I've had has been from Chile and I have not

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Under $12 Deals: 2011 Tres Picos Garnacha ($10.95, IWC91)

October 3, 2013 Under $12 Deals  No comments

Tres Picos 2011Jorge Ordonez.  Spanish value.  QPR. You've heard all of this before.  What more is there to say about all of these incredible Spanish wines?  A bit more actually.  I've written about this wine three other times.

This is a wine of impressive concentration, depth and complexity.  French oak comes through but not overly so, like some wines in this category.  It has a peppery flavor which seems to be a common trait in Spanish Garnacha (Grenache).  Impressively, a quick check of The Wine Advocate shows it hasn't scored below 90 since 2002.  At $11 plus $25 case shipping this is an absolute steal!
Buy Here: 2011 Tres Picos Garnacha $10.95
International Wine Cellar 91 points

"(fermented in stainless steel; half of the wine was aged in small French oak barrels, 40% new,

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Under $12 Deals: Spain Strikes Again w/ La Atalaya ($11.95, RP91)

September 13, 2013 Under $12 Deals  No comments

2010 La AtalayaThe complaint about modern styled Spanish wines is everything tastes the same.  And frankly, I agree to an extent.  The wines of Juan Gil, Jorge Ordonez and a handful of others do have a certain sameness to them.  Okay, ready for the "but"?  But buy a $12 California red wine and not only will it lack a sense of place, but it will also, with very few exceptions, lack concentration, polish, depth and finish - all traits that La Atalaya and other high-performing Spanish wines have in droves.

I guess the point is this: The wines might not be all that different from each other, but when they are this good, who really cares?  La Atalaya has the depth, concentration and aromatics of a $50 wine and it costs $12!  It's made of mostly Garnacha (Grenache) with 15% Monastrell (Mourvedre) and

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Under $12 Deals: Bookwalter Notebook NV-2 ($9.95)

March 6, 2013 Under $12 Deals  No comments

Bookwalter Notebook Red Wine NV2I've often written that value-priced Cabernet-based wines from California should generally be avoided.  Most of those wines have made their money on the reputation of the grape, not on the quality of what's in the bottle.  So, let's say you're looking for a great Cab-based wine and you don't want your hard-earned dollars lining the pockets of some beret wearing Frenchman.  Where do you turn?  Washington.

This particular wine from high-end producer J. Bookwalter is a very interesting blend of both multiple grape varietals and multiple vintages.  The goal is consistency from year to year.  It contains 18% Syrah, 33% Merlot, 42%, Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% other varieties from the following vintages: 7% 2011, 69% 2010, 7% 2008, 4% 2007, 13% Other.  Champagne producers use the exact same

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Under $12 Deal: 2009 Guigal CdR Rogue (IWC90, WA89)

February 5, 2013 Under $12 Deals  No comments

Guigal 2009 Cotes du RhoneSouthern France's Rhone Valley must be the epicenter of wine value.  Some would even say it's the epicenter of wine.  I can't argue with either and wines like the 3.5 million bottle (!) production 2009 Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge, prove at least the first point.

We drank this wine during the Super Bowl with delicious ribs and it was the perfect combo.  Mostly Syrah and Grenache, this is textbook Southern Rhone with bright, high-toned fruit, nice density and a cutting acid that takes the finish to a nice length.  The Guigal family makes Northern Rhone wines that cost several hundred dollars a bottle, including four 100 pointers in the 2009 vintage alone.  Their expertise certainly shows through in their value wines as well which include this wine and their white Cotes du Rhone, both of

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