We’re enjoying our month-long exploration into good-value, low-price wines generally under $10 (or the equivalent in Euros, Pounds Sterling, Yen and such) in Wine Focus: How low can you go? Here are my reports on three more good cheap wines, including two French reds and an excellent white from Italy’s lake country. See below, also, for links to buying information on another half-dozen good cheap wines that I’ve enjoyed recently.
Laroque 2016 Cité de Carcassonne Cabernet Franc ($9.99)
Dark purple, almost black at the center, shading to a bright garnet edge. Subtle red berries, cranberries and an earthy touch of tree bark in the aroma. The palate echoes the nose, dry and tart, red berries and earthy notes built on a framework of fresh acidity, 13% alcohol, and soft, astringent tannins. U.S. importer: Aquitaine Wine USA, LLC, Berkeley, Calif. (March 7, 2018)
The back label suggests enjoying it alone or with Mediterranean cuisine, pasta, lamb, chicken, pizzas and hamburgers, and the importer’s website recommends tagines, “oriental” dishes, pastas, poultry, barbecue, red meat and cheese plates. We enjoyed it with a rich meatloaf and simple grilled chicken.
WHEN TO DRINK: This modest wine isn’t a candidate for long-term cellaring, but there’s no rush to enjoy it. Drink over the next few years, then watch for a more recent vintage.
My local price came in a dollar less than Wine-Searcher.com’s $11 average retail, but it remains a very good value in the $10 range.
Here’s a detailed winery fact sheet (PDF format) on the Laroque 2016Cabernet Franc.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and compare prices for Laroque Cité de Carcassonne Cabernet Franc on Wine-Searcher.com.
Pasini San Giovanni 2011 “Il Lugana” Lugana ($4.99)
Clear, bright gold, with rather full aromatics of honey and beeswax over white flowers and a whiff of figs and pears. Full-bodied and richly textured, but firm, tart acidity keeps it from seeming unctuous. Simple white fruit joins the aroma elements on the palate with 13 percent alcohol, softening to a hint of meyer lemon and a whiff of pecans in a very long finish. U.S. importer: A.I. Selections, NYC. (March 9, 2018)
FOOD MATCH: The winery website suggests enjoying the wine on its own or serving with white meats or fish and seafood. We enjoyed it with roasted asparagus topped with Parmigiano and a cheesy, smoky artisanal grits in lieu of polenta.
WHEN TO DRINK: Lugana can age very well for a modest white – I’ve enjoyed amazingly good ones more than 30 years old kept under perfect storage conditions at Lugana wineries near Lake Lugano. But hints of oxidation combined with the closeout price suggest that this bottle is nearing the end of its useful life.
This older vintage’s closeout price is less than half of Wine-Searcher.com’s $11 average retail. Frankly, newer vintages would still be a bargain at the regular price.
Here’s a fact sheet in English on the winery website.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Locate vendors and check prices for Pasini San Giovanni 2011 “Il Lugana” on Wine-Searcher.com.
Olivier Cuilleras Domaine La Guintrandy 2015 Saínt-Léger Vin de France ($7.99)
Dark reddish purple with a thin, clear garnet edge. Rustic, raspberries and a fresh, clean loamy note on the nose and palate. Mouth-filling and ripe, red berries and plums framed by bright acidity and firm tannins that linger into a long, mouth-watering finish. The label claims 13% alcohol, and I’m pretty sure it’s not under-estimating. U.S. importer: Vanguard Wines LLC, Columbus, Ohio. (March 7, 2018)
FOOD MATCH: This rustic red is a natural with beef, burgers, pasta with meat sauces and the like. We enjoyed it with both an intensely flavored meat loaf and white chicken meat in gravy.
WHEN TO DRINK: Now through 2020, perhaps a few more years under good cellar conditions.
Wine-Searcher.com doesn’t list prices or vendors for this close-out bottling, but it’s a great value for eight bucks if you can find it at a local retailer. Check this Wine-Searcher link, though, to browse a wide variety of inexpensive, frequently appealing Vin de France reds.
Here’s a backgrounder in English on the Domaine La Guintrandy property and wines.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Unfortunately Wine-Searcher.com has no listings for this close-out label, but you can find all the designated Rhône wines of Olivier Cuilleras Domaine La Guintrandy at this link on Wine-Searcher.com.
More affordable wines
Want tips to more good, inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher links to vendors and prices for a half-dozen more wines for $10 or less that I’ve told you about during the past few months. Please tell us about your favorites!