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  1. #1
    Taster
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    Jun 2006
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    Affordable dessert wines

    Although I collect more whiskey than any other beverage, I have a longstanding love with port as well. 10 & 20 year tawnies were my first exposure to port and I fell for it immediately. I used to go through a bottle of 10-year every week until I decided it was ridiculous to be spending over $100/month on port at the age of 21. Fast forward a few years and I still buy port occasionally, usually Blake Whiskers 8-year tawny from Australia. It runs about $13 around here and is "almost" as good as the 10-year tawnies from Portugal that cost $30.

    Talking with a friend recently, he suggested I try some madeira too. Something like Blandy's would only run about $20 and might also fix my sweet tooth when I'm hankering.

    I've enjoyed most dessert wines that I've tried. Looking for more recommendations in the sub-$30 range. Anyone got a favorite?

  2. #2
    Guru
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    Nov 2007
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    Re: Affordable dessert wines

    V. Sattui in Napa has a fun Madera. There are a lot of good ports in the $30 range.

    Take a trip to Eldorado county north east of Sacramento and you will find a few. They are also speckled around Napa and Sanoma. Full Moon makes a decent Port for $20 and I think you can get it outside CA.

  3. #3

    Re: Affordable dessert wines

    There are some tremendous dessert wine values from Australia.

    Yalumba REseve Tawny goes for about $20 and Robert Parker scored it a 97

    Yalumba Museum Reserve Muscat- same score & price

    Campbell's Tokay Rutherglen is also very good- same price range

    Also- from France and available at Costco I've gotten some really good Sauternes for under $25 that you should really try.

  4. #4
    Disciple
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    Re: Affordable dessert wines

    Dessert wine is a great area for values because they're just not very popular.

    I think most LBVs are a great value. Many can be found right around the $20 price point. I like Taylor's LBVs, among others. Get the 2000 Taylor LBV if you can find it.

    I like Whiskers Blake quite a bit. Another good, similarly priced Aussie port is the Benjamin Tawny. The Old Jonesy is another good tawny value. Both are usually under $15 and I think I see the Old Jonesy for $10ish sometimes. I've also enjoyed the de Bortoli 8 year old, but don't remember the price - probably closer to $15-20.

    Costco sells actual 10 year tawny port for about $17. It has a Kirkland label but is made by Fonseca. They also sometimes have a 20 yr Graham's and a few other non-Kirkland ports at good prices.

    Sherries are some of the best values on the planet (again, because few drink them), and many are sweet - look for Sweet Olorosos or Cream Sherries or Pedro Ximenez. A great value is the Osborne Pedro Ximenez 1827 for about $15-20/bottle. I think it got a 94 pt score from some prominent reviewer (forget which one now). Osborne's cream sherry is good too. Alvear and Emilio Hidalgo and Emilio Lustau all also make very good cream sherries and PX for just a bit more than Osborne.

    The Yalumba Muscats and Tokays that Damon references above are also a great value with outrageously high scores.

    One can occasionally find some good bargains on Sauternes. I think my best find was half bottles of 2001 Chateau Filhot for $15. And for awhile (maybe still?) you could get a full bottle of Suduiraut's second wine, the 2001 Castelnau de Suduiraut for under $30. I just got an email from a local merchant offering half bottles of the 97-pt 2005 Chateau Guiraud (#4 WS WOTY) for $35.
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

  5. #5
    Connoisseur
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    North Alabama
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    Re: Affordable dessert wines

    Quote Originally Posted by Mamba View Post
    I've enjoyed most dessert wines that I've tried. Looking for more recommendations in the sub-$30 range. Anyone got a favorite?
    Sandeman Ports are good and usually inexpensive unless you go to a 20 year old or older. Fonseca ports are also good and very affordable.

    If you're looking to drink a lot of port for a little money then Taylor ports will fit that bill.

    Other desert wines that are very good and usually much less than $30 are German Beeren Auslese wines or the sweeter eiswein.

    Here are a few wines by varietal, style, or vintner that I find are generally sweet and usually very good,

    Gewurztraminer
    Beeren Auslese
    Muscat
    Muenzenrieder Gruner Veltliner
    Baywood Cellars Port
    Harvey's Bristol Cream sherry (I've had bottles of this that were very sweet while others were less so.)
    Cockburn's port
    Dela Force port
    Don Pablo port
    Dow's port
    Barthelemy ports
    Taylor Fladgate ports
    V. Sattui (more expensive but highly recommended) www.vsattui.com

    There are many more, some are very expensive but price never indicates the quality of taste especially since taste impression varies from one person to the next. I find the California ports are usually well done. Just about any German dessert wine is going to be delicious and of course the masters in portugal always have something you can like.

    Prost Doch Mal
    Often I am forced to deal with the fact that I prefer bourbon over dealing with facts.

  6. #6
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Affordable dessert wines

    Quote Originally Posted by spun_cookie View Post
    V. Sattui in Napa has a fun Madera. There are a lot of good ports in the $30 range.
    You are obviously a man of masterful taste. V. Sattui always has something you can like very much. I enjoy their 1999 Vintage Port and the Madiera is a very pleasant glass.
    Often I am forced to deal with the fact that I prefer bourbon over dealing with facts.

  7. #7
    Enthusiast
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    Mar 2007
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    Hershey, PA
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    364

    Re: Affordable dessert wines

    When it comes to bang for the buck, Madeira is a very attractive option. The four primary varietals are Malmsey, Bual, Verdelho, and Sercial, in order of richest to driest.

    You can get a good 5-year madeira for less than 20 bucks, and its taste rivals the maturity of a 10-year tawny port.

    The 10-year and 15-year releases are also surprisingly-affordable, as are even Vintage Madeiras many decades old!
    "Suppose he's got a pointed stick!?!"

    - Eric Idle, Monty Python's Flying Circus

  8. #8
    Guru
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    Nov 2007
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    AZ
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    Re: Affordable dessert wines

    Quote Originally Posted by Dramiel McHinson View Post
    You are obviously a man of masterful taste. V. Sattui always has something you can like very much. I enjoy their 1999 Vintage Port and the Madiera is a very pleasant glass.
    THe self proclaimed "Friendliest Winery in the World" and I have yet to find a winery that tops them in that area... You have to love a place that will give you 12+ tastings, talk all day with you and not charge a cent...

    Their deli is very good as well. We always time them for around noon.

  9. #9
    Connoisseur
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    Dec 2005
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
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    856

    Re: Affordable dessert wines

    My favorite value port is Fonseca Bin 27. I think I paid around $15 a bottle at Costco the last time I bought some.

    Tom

  10. #10
    Taster
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    CA
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    Re: Affordable dessert wines

    Thanks for everyone's suggestions, they've been very helpful. Yesterday I picked up a bottle of Blandy's 5-year Malmsey for $22 and Benjamin's Tawny for $13. Next I'll try a few older madeira's and a couple sherries as well. It's hard work but somebody's gotta do it

 

 

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