Episode #27 Fielding Under $10 Team


Baseball season is quickly approaching. The beginning of another year of great expectations only to be frustrated by June, slightly excited in August and utterly depressed in September. I am a Mariner fan. We are the only team who can win 116 games in a season and not make it past the first round in the playoffs. We are the only team who trades away all star after all star. Ahhh…I digress.

While the Mariners consistently field a team of high priced underachievers, I’m a fan of Billy Beane ball. Billy is great at fielding a team of underpaid over achievers. My goal, in the wine world, is to field a quality under $10 team. In today’s economic conditions $10 is the new $20, but with all the inventory and variety on the shelves, not all labels can be trusted. You don’t want to spend your money for a Richie Sexson only to devote four seasons of wasted expectations…again I digress.

In previous episodes I’ve found a starting Sauvignon Blanc from Arbor Crest and am thinking of a bringing the Dancing Bull Zinfandel up from Triple A.

With recommendations from @AtlantaWineGuy, @raelinn_wine, and @wawinereport, I set out to my local wine shop on a scouting mission. The goal a starting line-up of 9 under $10 wines:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir
  • Syrah / Shiraz
  • Bordeaux Blend
  • Chardonnay
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blanc / Pinot Gris
  • Bubbly
  • In the bullpen a nice alternate red and white (Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Mourvedre, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, etc).

Below is this trip to the minors to scout new members for the team. What suggestions do you have? Share below some of your wines who are performing well and deserve a chance to be called up to the “Field of Dreams.”

Tonight we are watching the work out and batting practice of a 2007 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Bogle Petit Sirah, 2006 Renwood Zinfandel.

The NectarView:

2007 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon

  • The Stuff: 95% Cabernet Sauvignon 5% Merlot, Cab Franc, Syrah; Barrel aged for 16 months (1/3 new oak)
  • The Swirl: Deep plum with watery edges
  • The Sniff: Aromatically challenged for fruit. Did display characteristics of vanilla, cocoa, and woodiness
  • The Sip: Overall a very smooth with that is tight on flavor. The vanilla and cocoa presents itself with a moderate dose of blueberry fruit. Very little back end structure.
  • The Score: Considering the $8.88 price I would score this wine a solid 3. There is nothing offensive about the wine and the smooth vanilla, cocoa combination could be a hit with a lot of people. Serious wine drinkers will be disappointed with the lack of character and structure.

This wine will be sent to AAA ball for potential call up if I’m unable to find a starting Cabernet Sauvignon.

2007 Bogle Petite Sirah

  • The Stuff: 100% Petite Sirah
  • The Swirl: Very very dark plum, completely opaque, nice legs indicating some stronger residual sugar
  • The Sniff: Once again a restrained aroma profile. Some dark cherry, dark blackberry fruit and a hint of spice trying to come through
  • The Sip: Wholly wow, this is a big wine. There is some decent fruit on the front end which is immediately attacked by the strong tannin on the back end. This wine needs food! I look forward to pairing it with some BBQ, spicy pork, or a steak.
  • The Score: At only $10 this is a big wine with some big back end structure that deserves a 3+. I would definitely consider this for a future purchase to pair with food. NOT A SIPPING WINE.

This wine makes the team as a pinch hitter. Petite Sirah is not your mainstream varietal but this one showed some serious power to bring in during the late innings of a close game.

2006 Renwood Zinfandel

  • The Stuff: 100% Zinfandel
  • The Swirl: Very light in color moderate brownish plum color. Can see through glass very translucent
  • The Sniff: Not much on the nose other than hints of cherry, vanilla and leather spice
  • The Sip: Very watery and non-substantive in flavor. A hint of smoke and spice as it lingers in the mouth. In my opinion a very underwhelming wine.
  • The Score: At $9 I would not buy this wine again and score it a 2 (out of 5).

The wine definitely is sent back to single A ball to work on its structure and character.

The $10 quest continues. So far, I think I’ve sound a staring Sauvingon Blanc, and two potentials who are in AAA (Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon and the Dancing Bull Zinfandel). Tonight’s Petite Sirah has made the team as a pinch hitter!

Please leave your comments and suggestions below!


Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

23 comments on “Episode #27 Fielding Under $10 Team

  1. Chris Broholm

    This <10 is great! I took it a bit further and decided to buy the CHEAPEST bottled wine my supermarket had to offer and will review it later. Will probably involve me swearing at the winemakers for putting out such crappy wines, but we'll see – I might be surprised.

    Too bad the Zin stroke out, it's usually a very nice straightforward grape.

    1. drinknectar

      I can’t wait t see your review.

      The Zin really did disappoint me too. Of all the grapes out there, I am most interested in finding a good every day Zin, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc

  2. Shannon Casey

    Dancing Bull Zinfandel is one of my everyday “go to” wines for under $10. Another great value is Cavit Pinot Grigio.

  3. Joe

    I think your local behemoths of Columbia Crest and Chateau Ste. Michelle make some very good wines for the price…

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks, Joe – I’ll look into that. Never been to their web site.

  4. Ron

    Good episode. I look forward to seeing what other wines you try. I’ll have to check out that Bogle.
    I just today read through The Wine Trials, which is about finding the top under $15 wines as chosen in blind tastings. I think the Columbia Crest Cab made their list. You may find the book interesting.

    1. drinknectar

      The 2006 CC Cab was a better offering IMO. This one wasn’t bad at all, just very restricted in what it was offering. She was like a shy girl not revealing very much.

  5. Steve

    You suddenly find a lot of great Zins if you could just raise the price to$15.

    The Renwood Zinfandel Sierra Series is usually one of the better Zins I find under $10. There’s also a Bogle Zinfandel, Dancing Bull, and a Montevina under $10.

    I recommended Gnarly Head Old Vine for people looking a for a sweet Zin in that price range. Lots of people love it.

    1. drinknectar

      Dancing Bull is one I’ve reviewed and thinking of bringing up to the majors. I’m probably expecting too much at this price point.

  6. Kevin Glowacki

    I think the Bogle is a great BBQ / burger / chuck-eye steak (the poor man’s rib-eye) wine and you are right, it always needs some food, preferably something from dead cow and not too lean.

    I can’t remember what other wines I recommended in the past, but I’d say for bubbly go with Segura Viudas Brut Reserva or Extra dry if you like them just a tad sweeter. The Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra dry is also nice for the price.

    Also, I’d love to hear your take (if you can still find it) on 2008 Redtree Pinot Noir.


    1. drinknectar

      I picked up the Segura Viudas and the store was out of the Redtree Pinot, but I’m going back to get it.

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  8. Ben Simons

    Lovin’ the baseball theme for this series. You are doing some good work trying to find some quality offerings in the less than $10 category. Any time you can find a good wine in this price range, you need to stock up.

    It’s interesting to see how much easier it is to find quality in some varieties in the $10 range than others. I think you can find some really nice Sauv Blancs in that range, but it can be more difficult to find something enjoyable in other varieties. Pinot Noir is definitely hard to find at that price, and it seems like you are having a hard time finding a Zin that you really like in that range. Look forward to seeing more of this series.

    1. drinknectar

      Ben, thanks for the comment. I have one Pinot ‘on deck’ and another that needs to be evaluate per AtlantaWineGuy. The whites seem to be the easiest to find. The goal is a complete team of wines I can trust and recommend to friends too. When they ask, sometimes I’m at a loss…so hopefully I can can complete the team…

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  11. Dave Tong

    Check out Clos LaChance unoaked Chardonnay, and J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay. I’ve seen both at my local Safeway under $10 – the Clos LaChance is often under $7.

    1. drinknectar

      Awesome – it is now added to the list! Thanks for the comment, Dave

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  13. Jim Wilkerson

    I reviewed the Renwood 2007 Lodi and found it to be light-colored as well (though it had 4% Viognier in the blend) and done in a restrained/modest style. There was fruit though. Have you picked up a Cline Zin (California)? I haven’t had the latest vintage, but it’s always a good value in my experience.

    If you could find the Casa Castillo Monastrell 2007 for your bullpen (http://www.vinegeek.com/2010/01/mourvedre-monday-3-casa-castillo-2007/), I’d be interested to see what you think of it. Still trying to figure out your palate…

    1. drinknectar

      Jim – I have had the Cline “old vine” and otherwise. Really a good wine for the money. I think I’ll have to bring it in as a ringer for my next tasting.

      I still haven’t been able to locate the Galevan Cotes du Rhone (I’ve tried several stores). The scarcity is making me want it even more. I read your review on the Monastrell (Mourvedre) and with a score of B/B+, I’ll add it to the list to look for next time I go to the store.

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