POSTED ON November 10, 2009 | IN Wine Bargains, Wine Information | BY Joe Becerra

Last Sunday’s S.F. Chronicle had an article devoted to good wines under $15. The buyers at Cost Plus, BevMo, and Spencer & Daniel’s touted their favorite bargain wines. That gave me the idea to post some of the favorite bargain wines of the Vintage Wine Club. This is a club of seven members who have been meeting regularly for years to discover the ultimate in wine bargains. Each of us is a daily wine drinker and we constantly scan the shelves for bargain wines. When we find something good we share it with each others. Here is our list of top white wines. Next post, the reds.

Jay likes the oak in the 2008 Edna Valley Chardonnay. They must make tons of this stuff because I see everywhere. Buy it at $10 to $12 at BevMo, Cost Plus, or Weimax in Burlingame. I like the Four Vines Naked Chardonnay for $11. This wine never sees any oak, hence the name Naked Chardonnay. They carry it at BevMo and it is quite good.

We have three terrific Sauvignon wines to recommend: Hanna Russian River Valley and Kim Crawford both at our local Costco in San Mateo for $12 and $14. The Clif Bar Winery in Napa makes a white wine called Climber White. It is mostly Sauvignon Blanc but has some Pinot Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Muscat in it. It sells for $14 on the winery’s website. This wine is a little zestier than the others and very delicious.

Cost Plus has an amazing offer. It is a 1.5 liter magnum of Segura Viudas Brut Reserva. The cost is $10 for the 1.5 liter bottle. We like the idea of having these big bottles for big crowds; it sort of adds an extra touch to your entertaining. I doubt if this will last long. When we purchased a case of this, there was very little left at our local store. We also like, in sparkling wine, the Cristalino Brut or Extra Dry Cava for around $6.

For Rieslings, the St Michele Riesling sells for $7 at TJ’s and is a good wine. If you want a very good Riesling then go for the McFadden Vineyards Potter Valley Riesling. When we had our Bocce Tourney in Hopland this past summer, we discovered the McFadden Vineyards tasting room in Hopland. The Potter Valley Riesling is a wonderful and dry Riesling, and at $18 it is tough to find a better bargain in this varietal. I also learned that Guiness McFadden sells his Riesling grapes to Chateau Montelena and that Riesling sells for $24. The McFadden Riesling is available only on the McFadden Vineyards website.

Torrontes is one of the hottest white wines these days, and if you have not tried a Torrontes you are missing something delightful. Mike thinks the biggest bang for the buck is the Zolo Torrontes for $8. The Crios Torrontes has some big ratings from a few of the “bigs” and is $13. Both are at BevMo.

Rosé wines are a good choice for many a holiday meal and we are going to tout one. Mike and I are big fans of Rosé and our favorite is Tapiz Malbec Rosé. This wine is available at BevMo for an unbelievable $10.

These are unbiased opinions. We have not received samples nor do we have any business interest in any of the wine shops or wineries mentioned. We just like a bargain wine that tastes fabulous.


  1. John Cesano says


    Our production is so small that no distributor feels we are worth taking on outside of the county.

    That said, we ship direct. Case purchases get a 10% discount. Better still, join a wine club, and your case will get a healthy 25% discount, with Riesling discounted as a Wine of the Month at a whopping 35% for wine club members at least once a year.

    If you prefer to come and pick up wines, or wine club shipments, you avoid shipping charges altogether – although $23 per case to the east coast is better than the nearly $6o UPS typically charges, as an example of our affordable shipping rates extended to wine club members.

    Anyway, next time up, I’ll pour you everything, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurtztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and our Coro Mendocino. At month’s end, we’ll have our new 2008 Coro Mendocino, and we’ll be releasing our next Sparkling Brut in a few more months.



  2. John Cesano says


    I am the new tasting room and wine club manager for McFadden, and I blushed at the very kind (but completely accurate) description of our Rieslings.

    I would love to pour our current releases for you the next time you are in Hopland.

    In addition to possibly the most varietally correct Riesling in the nation, we make amazingly delicious Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Coro Mendocino, and Brut Sparking.


    John Cesano
    McFadden Vineyard
    (707) 744-8463

    • Joe says

      Next time in Hopland, I would love to visit again and taste. Too bad you don’t sell some of your wines in our local wine shops. Have you tried?