The Ten Dollar Wine Experiment

I’m a sucker for a good glass of wine, but unfortunately I’m not a fount of knowledge about the stuff. I tend to go into wine stores and talk to the owners about what they recommend. That usually ends up pretty pricey and frustrating, since I also have a quest to find good wine for ten bucks or under and that’s difficult when you’re at a good wine shop.

At restaurants, if I have a great glass, I try and remember the bottle to buy for future reference. This rarely works out. Maybe I have early onset Alzheimers or something, but I hardly ever buy the wine I find in restaurants, because I forget the names. I also tend to shop at Trader Joe’s and it’s pretty much a guessing experiment on what label looks best. Where is all this going you may wonder?

Well, I’m doing an experiment. I’m buying a different wine each week at Trader Joe’s and giving it the taste test. I’m going to try to stay in the ten dollar range. This week I hit pay dirt cuz I tried the Castoro Cellars Syrah and it was great. It’s $9.99 and for that price, I didn’t expect so much. It has a warm, rich flavor and a decent amount of body. I’d definitely buy it again because it was so easy to drink. It’s not super complex, but nicely smooth and drinkable.
BTW: If you have any favorites for me to check out…. chime in!

10 thoughts on “The Ten Dollar Wine Experiment”

  1. Go to Trader Joes and start at one of the wine aisle. Work your way to the other end.

    Then go to BevMo — not as easy as TJs, but you’ll do fine.

    Then go to LA Wine Co. in Marina del Rey.

    Then go back to Trader Joes and start over.

  2. I forgot the smiley face in that last post …

    I like TJ’s odd wines — the red with the question mark on the label, for example. And the Syrah with the label that just reads “Syrah.” Penfold’s makes good reds and whites. As does Jacob’s Creek.

    Have fun!

  3. You should also check out a store called Vino 100-they have 100 wines from around the world for $25.00 or less-and a great selection in the $8-10 range. There is one in Valencia…and the owners are wonderful!~

  4. Or go right to Costco. When it comes to wine they’ve got some of the best stockers in the business.

  5. Hi Tammara:

    A few suggestions, usually around 10 bux…

    Zinfandel: Dancing Bull (Sonoma County) – usually 8 or 9 bux, or ArteZin (that one seems to be from $9.99 to over 15, depending on where you buy)

    Cabernet: The Stump Jump. Yeah, that’s what it is called. I’ve seen it under $10 at either Albertsons or Vons.

    Chardonnay: Baron Herzog (sort of buttery, quite nice)

    Cost Plus World Market usually has a great selection of good lower price wines.

    If in Toluca Lake, check out the Toluca Mart on Riverside near Cahuenga.

    If Downtown visit the Santee Court Market at 7th and LA behind Rite- Aid or the Old Bank District Market at 411 S. Main.

    (A tiny bit off topic) – Reserve at 626 (S. Spring) does cool tastings and often has lower priced wine suggestions.

    Or come on by and I’ll pour you and yours a glass! LOL…



  6. Yay!!!!!! I LOVE all these suggestions! I’m gonna be a busy girl. I think I’ll first stick to Trader Joe’s and then branch out. Good to know about the Toluca Mart, Ken. I go by there at least once or twice a week, but have never stopped. Really! Thanks for all the suggestions. Keep em coming!

  7. I haven’t had them in a long time, but I always thought Rosemount Estate Shiraz and Shiraz/Cab were good. I believe they’re available at TJ’s.

    Although out of your preferred price range, and probably not too easy to find, Stephen Ross Pinot Noir is fantastic, one of the best wines I’ve ever had, including wines in the triple-digit range. I think it’s around $25-30 (it was ~$46 when I had it in a restaurant).

    If you like Spanish wines, Vina Mayor is pretty good, although also slightly out of your preferred price range. You can get it at the wonderful La Espanola Meat Co. in Harbor City (they also make a good paella Saturdays for lunch, call ahead). They also sell inexpensive sherrys, which I love. Cobras & Matadors also sells a lot of Spanish wines in their storefront, but most of it is more expensive stuff.

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