We can't think of any California wineries that have much respect for a five
dollar bill. Many in Napa ask you for $10 merely for the privilege of them
"allowing" you to taste their wines (in hopes you'll spend the king's
ransom it takes to secure a bottle of wine).
We probably have the best selection of Five Buck wines in the Bay Area, as we
think it's important for a good bottle of wine to be available for small money.
The San Francisco Chronicle printed an article on "Bargain Wines" and
our little wine emporium was cited as being a Bay Area leader in value-priced
We've found some customers only think to come to Weimax when they're looking for
a "special" bottle of wine, but please know we have really fine
"everyday" bottles, too.
Many stores offer "wines they can sell." Our philosophy is quite
different: We feature "wines we can recommend." Heck, we
like to enjoy a great wine for which we've not spent so much money...and we
spend a lot of time looking for good values.
A low price does not make for a good value. A wine must be of good
quality, first and foremost. A good "value" is a wine which
tastes more expensive than its price tag indicates. Simply being cheap
does not make for "good value."
We hear from some people, speaking about some famous cheap wines, "Well,
it's not bad for the price." We disagree, especially when "it's
not good for the price," either.
In any case, please know we have more respect for a ten dollar bill than most
wine business folks.
Here are some suggestions from our current offerings:
BORSAO Still SALE PRICED $6.99
the Aragon region of Spain comes this amazingly "soulful" wine.
It's dark in color and teeming with berryish fruit and a mildly spice note.
A blend of Garnacha and Tempranillo....this delicious!
Please note: Aside from the fact that this is a dynamite bottle of wine for six
bucks-and-change, it makes a superb Sangria!
QUINTA DAS AMORAS $5.99
The fellow who owns this estate is a real wine fancier and
aficionado. We trekked to his winery in Portugal's Estremadura region and
found a number of really interesting wines...all well-made and of good
The wine is a blend of Castelão (Periquita), Camarate, Tinta Miúda and Touriga
Nacional. Medium-bodied and showing a dried cherry note, it's drinkable
now and over the next year or so...
VIU MANENT CABERNET SAUVIGNON
SALE PRICE $5.99
big fans of this producer. While you can buy thin, watery, sweet wine from
California's Central Valley under labels such as Mondavi's Woodbridge, here's a
dry, medium-full bodied red of exceptional intensity in this price range.
No oak. A couple of weeks' maceration on the skins, so this even has a bit
SALE PRICE $5.99
Here's a dynamite red
wine from Portugal's Douro Valley, a region that's famous for Port.
This is made of some of the same grapes that go into Port, except the wine is
You'll find some wonderfully spicy, peppery notes here as we liken this to a
good Côtes du Rhône.
If you pour this into a fancy decanter and give it an hour or two to
"breathe," your wine 'geek' friends will all guess this as something
far more noble than a five buck red wine.
"120" Series of Cabernet is not going to remind a connoisseur
much of Mouton-Rothschild or Haut Brion.
But it is a delicious little red wine.
Though vinified from Cabernet, the wine is not tannic and it's smooth enough
to drink now. Think of it as "Cabernet meets Beaujolais."
In fact, we like it served lightly chilled.
- Currently in stock: SANTA RITA "120" CABERNET
SAUVIGNON SALE $7.49
- ALANDRA Portuguese Red and White
Theses two simple table wines are amazingly good and they're attractively
The red is dry, fairly soft on the palate and easy to drink. It
doesn't strike us as being "made for the American market,"
either...good, honest table wines.
No oak...the white is dry and fresh...really amazing for such a modest
Currently in stock: ALANDRA RED $5.99
ALANDRA WHITE $5.99
GATO NEGRO CABERNET/MERLOT SALE $5.99
- This is vinified
in the style of Beaujolais, so you'll find a very fruity, berryish quality
to the wine. We find it enjoyable as a picnic red and like it served
moderately chilled, since it's smooth and virtually without
They now are sold in a screw-cap bottle.
A FEW SELECTIONS A BIT OVER FIVE BUCKS
AND UNDER $10
ABEL CLEMENT Côtes du Rhône Blanc $8.99
Grenache Blanc is the predominant grape is this
remarkably delicious dry white wine. If a California vintner made this it
would cost $30 and critics would proclaim the winemaker to be a hero for making
such a good wine at such a reasonable price.
PROTOCOLO Sale $6.49
a supple, smooth, medium-bodied Spanish red that's less fruity than the Borsao,
It's a more 'traditionally-made' style of red wine.
- IL POGGIO SANGIOVESE di ROMAGNA Sale $6.99
This comes from a rather large winery in Emilia Romagna and it's not a
particularly profound or exceptional red wine.
Yet we have many fans who buy this as an accompaniment to a simple plate of
Spaghetti & Meatballs or Lasagna...the wine simply "works"
well on the dinner table (no table cloth, please!).
RESERVE DE L'AUBE SYRAH / MERLOT BLEND $6.99
- Wow...remarkably nice wine--Rhône Meets Bordeaux. It comes from the
large Rhône merchant, J.P. Brotte. Medium bodied, berryish and
showing lots of red fruit notes Nice clove-like spice. Smooth, too.
"MONTEPULCIANO d'ABRUZZO" SALE
The late Gianni Masciarelli's wine is well-known in Italy and yet it's one of the best
kept secrets here in the U.S.
This is another one of those wines that, served in a decanter, tastes like a
seriously more costly bottle of wine. Medium to medium-full bodied.
Tuscan Red $7.99
a simple Sangiovese from southwestern Tuscany. It's made by the Mantellasi
It's a remarkably good wine and arrives here at an honest price, thanks to a
good Bay Area importer. No oak. Nice cherry-like fruit and it's
terrific with simple Italian-styled foods.
CAVE DE RASTEAU COTES DU RHONE
a large grower's co-operative in the town of Rasteau in the Southern Rhone.
Our friend Valerie Aigron works there, having spent time out of France
working in the wine biz. She's back "home" now and is one of
the crew at this big producer.
The Cave de Rasteau is well-regarded as a source of "good" wine
and they offer it as pricing which is quite attractive.
The 2011 Cotes du Rhone is not a profound, hugely complex, compelling bottle
of wine. It's not intended to be so. They make this with the
idea the consumer will buy it and open the screw-cap within, probably an
hour or two of purchase (maybe sooner).
The wine is competently made and it's grown with the idea they're making
economically-priced wine, Grenache, mostly, with 20% Cinsault
and 10% Carignane. It's a lighter bodied red wine, which works out
well, since it's lighter-priced, too.
We enjoy this served at cool cellar temp.
CASAL GARCIA VINHO VERDE $6.99
This is a famous Portuguese white wine...it's low
in alcohol, light in flavor and has just the right amount of oak...none!
CHÂTEAU DE LA CANTRIE MUSCADET $9.99
- Muscadet is a delightfully dry, crisp, light white wine from the western
part of France's Loire Valley. It's made of a grape called "Melon
de Bourgogne" and this sort of wine pairs handsomely with
oysters, We've enjoyed it with fried calamari, too.
People who know something about French wine know Muscadet.
People who know "a little bit" about wine are befuddled.
|Typically this is the conversation in a wine shop:
Wine Shop Staffer: "If you're looking for a good seafood
white that's economical, perhaps you might enjoy a Muscadet."
Customer: "Oh, but we don't like sweet wines."
Wine Shop Staffer: "Muscadet is actually a dry wine.
It's not sweet at all."
Customer: "Oh please! I know more about wine than you
do. Muscats are always sweet."
Wine Shop Staffer: "Never mind. Would you like to see
a bottle of Kendull Jackson Chardonnay?"
McMANIS CABERNET SAUVIGNON SALE
McManis family has extensive acreage in the Central Valley, south of Lodi.
Winemaker Jeff Runquist, whose Runquist wines are very popular here at the shop,
runs the cellar with another winemaker, Mike Robustelli.
These guys create some amazingly good and surprisingly stylish wines.
We're fans of their Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Syrah is a dark, deep colored wine with lots of blackberry fruit and a touch
of wood. It's low in acidity and tannin, so drinking it now is ideal.
The Cabernet is as smooth as most commercial Merlots, but has a bit more body
and richness. It, too, is nicely oaked.
BIDALERE CÔTES de GASCOGNE $9.99
The Beraut brothers make a sensational dry white wine
in the southwestern part of France...superb. No oak.
Peachy, dry white.
SALVALAI 2011 PINOT GRIGIO Sale $8.99
From Italy's Veneto region, this is a dry, light, simple, fresh Pinot
Grigio. Remarkably good.
MARK WEST California PINOT NOIR (Sale) $9.99
The Vino Fino boys had this wine in a recent blind-tasting of Pinot
Noirs from Burgundy and California. I insisted on including a $25 ringer
from Chile and it won the tasting. But the second place wine, finishing
ahead of Burgundy from Tollot-Beaut and Ramonet was this lovely, charming little
California wine. The winemaker used to work at the Peter Michael Winery
and produced wines which cost more for a single bottle than this costs for a
It's not a hugely profound wine, but it is a delightful, sort of Beaujolais
styled, exuberantly strawberryish Pinot. Very nice.
ABEL CLEMENT GRENACHE
sales rep I poured this for got it right...I had asked him to guess how much
this wine sells for.
"I'd say $12 for a French wine and $20 to $25 for a California."
And he's absolutely correct, except this remarkably delicious Vaucluse (Rhone
area) red costs less than a six-pack of premium beer.
If a California vintner had made this, wine writers
would bestow sainthood on the winemaker. Instead, this comes from a
terrific grower's cooperative winery in the Southern Rhone. Young, fresh,
but not hugely fruity or grapey in the manner of a Beaujolais. It's more
restrained on the nose and has a gentleness and elegance on the
Seven bucks? Are you kidding?
Case discounts, too.
OISLEY-THESEE "TOURAINE" SAUVIGNON BLANC $7.99
a smallish grower's cooperative in the Loire near Touraine called
Oisely-Thesee, a name which doesn't roll off the tongue of most American
We've tasted this wine for many vintages and I think the 2010 is the first
one we've brought in to the shop.
It's always well-made and, from our perspective, a shade skinny.
The 2010 isn't a big wine, nor is it a medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc.
But for a nice, crisp, dry and light wine, this shows well, especially for
it's eight-buck price.
It's not as intense as our Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume wines, but most of
those will set you back $17-$25.
If you're steaming some clams or enjoying some fresh Dungeness crab and
looking for a budget-priced bottle, this is worth trying.
CONCHA Y TORO CARMENERE $9.99
tasted a really nice example of Carmenere and it's reasonably priced at ten bucks.
Medium bodied, there's a nice dark fruit character here with a nice touch of
Smooth on the finish, too.
MEIA PIPA $10.99
Bacalhôa winery south of Lisbon makes some really spiffy wines...the top
bottlings will set you back $30, or so.
But in the realm of reality, they have a rather nice red called Meia Pipa.
It's a proprietary blend of 30% Castelão, 30% Aragonez (Tempranillo if
you're in Spain), 30% Syrah and 10% of some odd variety known as Cabernet
It is matured for a bit less than a year, typically, in French oak. We
like the dark fruit notes in the wine and find it to be a satisfying red at
its modest price (case discounts, too).
LA CABOTTE 2011 COTES DU RHONE Sale $9.99
most entry-level bottlings of Cotes du Rhone come from co-op wineries, this
one is a good, smallish, family-operated place owned by a family from
The patriarch of the family had found this property some years ago and was
enchanted by the prospects of having a warm climate, summer vacation
Today they farm about 50 acres, most devoted to grapes, but some to
We'd tasted the wines over the past decade, or so, and it's only since about
2006 or 2007 that we've felt they're on the right track. It's by far the
best ten buck Cotes du Rhone in the market.
DOMAINE DUFFOUR 2011 CÔTES DE GASCOGNE $8.99
Duffour is a brilliant producer of white wines...this is a delightful blend,
but predominantly Ugni Blanc and Colombard.
Fresh, dry, and light (lower in alcohol than California Chardonnay, for
- VIU MANENT RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC SALE $6.99
clearly pushed the vineyards to produce an abundant crop of Sauvignon
Blanc as the wine is a bit light, but still has enough character that you
won't mistake it for anything other than Sauvignon Blanc.
It's dry and non-oaked and is a remarkably nice little wine for cocktail
service or to pair with seafood.
CHATEAU MOULIN DE FERRANDE SALE $7.99
a dynamite little white Bordeaux for less than the price of a glass of wine
at a local restaurant...
It's Sauvignon Blanc with some Semillon and Muscadelle...lightly citrusy, no
oak and dry.
- PEDRONCELLI FRIENDS.RED SALE $9.99
County fruit...Merlot, Zin and Cab Franc. A touch of oak.
Smooth, medium-bodied red...they had this on the drawing board well before
the current economic downturn, but then Pedroncelli has always had good
wines at honest, old-time prices. It's quite good.
L'HORTUS "Le Loup dans la Bergerie"
- The Orliac family makes some terrific wines in the Pic Saint Loup
appellation...and we're delighted to find a really affordable little red
wine from them with a name like a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing (more
literally, a wolf in the sheep house).
It's vinified to be immediately drinkable...mostly Grenache with some
Syrah for color and body and a bit of Merlot for marketing.
It's a delightful ten buck red wine...best at cool cellar temp.
TRENTADUE "OLD PATCH RED" SALE $9.99
We think this is mostly Zinfandel from Sonoma and it sold for well more than
ten bucks at one point in time.
In fact, the current blend, all from the Alexander Valley appellation, is 77%
Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah, 11% Carignane and a drop of Sangiovese.
Now it's just ten bucks...and it's remarkably good.
ENGEL PINOT BLANC d'ALSACE $11.99
- This is a really good dry white from a little family vineyard and winery
along the Route du Vin in Alsace...no oak. This shows a lovely appley
fruit aroma and it's dry and has a modest level of acidity.
LA CORTE PRIMITIVO $10.99
The La Corte wines come from Italy's Puglia region and they make wine for
immediate consumption, so you won't need to set this bottle in the cellar
for a decade for it to be drinkable.
Their Primitivo wine is, for our palate, a good, simple "pizza
red." It's medium bodied and not at all aggressive in terms of
- And then price is right.
- POMELO SAUVIGNON BLANC $9.99 (Case discounts,
This is made in Napa by Randy Mason, who's a bit of a Sauvignon Blanc
It's got a citrusy, grapefruity aroma and the flavors are also along the
lines of citrus.
It's zesty, crisp and not quite bone dry...
- FORNAS PINOT GRIGIO $9.99
Some friends of ours who live in Italy's Friuli region make this wine.
We used to import some of their wines in the late 1980s and early
1990s...the Bidoli family...
A couple of years ago, we introduced the Bidoli's to a local guy who imports
He didn't buy them that year, but today he's delighted to have some of their
The brand is Fornas, as the Bidoli family purchased an old brick-making
factory and converted it into a winemaking facility. The old
"furnace" now houses stainless steel tanks and some oak barrels as
they produce a nice range of Friulian wines.
- Pinot Grigio is a delight in terms of both taste and price. It's a
non-wooded wine and it's fresh, dry and reasonably crisp without being
LE ROC'S FRONTON ROUGE WINES 11.99
- The Ribes
brothers make our favorite Fronton wines...the local grape variety of
prominence is called "Negrette" which is known in California as
"Pinot Saint George."
This Le Roc is predominantly Negrette with a modest percentage of Syrah. We
like the berry and spice notes of this wine. It's medium bodied and
best, to our taste, served cooled to cellar temperature.
I added the beret to the smiley fellow on the label of this magnificent,
soulful red wine...so don't expect to find the bottles in the shop with a
guy sporting a little chapeau.
It's called the Folle Noire d'Ambat, a playful name for Negrette grown in
a vineyard site called "Ambat."
The wine is dark in color and has a wild berry and spice
We just love it and for twelve bucks, you may, too.
over Portugal, wineries told customers their red wine was made from the
Periquita grape. Finally a court declared that the Periquita name was
a "brand" owned by the Jose Maria da Fonseca winery and that only
they had the rights to the name "Periquita."
It's a bit reminiscent of the usage of the terms "Xerox" and
Anyway, we have Jose Maria da Fonseca's "Periquita," a wine made
of the grape known around Portugal as Castelão. This is an
easily drinkable, simple red wine. Berries...smooth. Medium
BADIA DI MORRONA 2009 CHIANTI Sale $10.99
The 2009 of Morrona's little Chianti is Delicious with a capital
It's snappy Sangiovese called "I Sodi del Paretaio"
and the wine is medium-bodied and brightly cherryish. It's a bit rounder
on the palate than the popular 2008.
Perfect pasta wine!
|Stop by the shop...we'd be
delighted to show you our latest discoveries.
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