How to upgrade your wine list, on the cheap

How to upgrade your wine list, on the cheap

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Ready to load up on new wines whose quality will impress your guests and whose prices will make your accountant smile? Then check out the results from the just-concluded Los Angeles International Wine Competition, which helpfully breaks down its gold medal winners by price category.

It’s a huge wine event. This year edition drew 3,190 international wines that were judged by a 75-member panel made up of master sommeliers, chefs and wine writers.  Wines scoring 90 points or higher were awarded gold medals.

“From the complex with a higher price point for the experienced palate to wonderful lower price point wines for the novice, our winners represent a variety of wines," says competition chairman Michael Jordan, a master sommelier and certified wine educator who is also food and beverage v.p. at The Ranch Restaurant and Saloon in Orange Co., CA.

See the full results [2]—it’s a 30-page document—and click on the “Award Winning Wines by Varietal and Price Points” link. Note that other links on this page let you search the full results by varietal, brand, company, country and more.

We can’t reproduce the full results of the 74th L.A. International Wine Competition here. But we are providing a sampling of affordable wines that did well in a handful of popular varietal categories. Many of them could be solid additions to your by-the-glass or by-the-bottle wine program.

BORDEAUX
$0 ‐ $14.99
CHATEAU LES MONDINES
Best Of Class, Gold Medal - 94 Points Bordeaux, Traditional, Assemblage, Bordeaux AOC 2012 CHATEAU BONNET www.andrelurton.com [3]
Best Of Class, Gold Medal - 93 Points Bordeaux, Bordeaux AOC 2010
CHATEAU LES TUILERIES www.vignobles-roux.com [4]
Gold Medal - 93 Points Bordeaux, Bordeaux AOC 2012
CHATEAU ROUX DE BEAUCES www.vignobles-roux.com [4]
Gold Medal - 92 Points Bordeaux, Bordeaux AOC 2012
CHATEAU HAUT MONDAIN www.zebordeaux.com [5]
Gold Medal - 91 Points Bordeaux, Bordeaux AOC 2012
CHATEAU MEMOIRES www.chateaumemoires.fr [6]
Gold Medal - 91 Points Bordeaux, L'Enchanteur, Bordeaux AOC 2012
CHATEAU SAINTONGEY VIEILLES VIGNES www.zebordeaux.com [5]
Gold Medal - 91 Points Bordeaux, Bordeaux AOC 2011

CABERNET SAUVIGNON
$0 ‐ $14.99
YELLOW TAIL  www.yellowtailwine.com [7]
Best Of Class, Gold Medal - 95 Points Cabernet Sauvignon, Southeastern Australia 2012 SAVE ME SAN FRANCISCO www.savemesanfrancisco.com [8]
Best Of Class, Gold Medal - 95 Points Cabernet Sauvignon, California 37, California 2011 SIMPLY NAKED www.simplynakedwines.com [9]
Gold Medal - 94 Points Cabernet Sauvignon, Unoaked, California 2011
WYNDHAM ESTATE www.wyndhamestate.com [10]
Gold Medal - 92 Points Cabernet Sauvignon, Bin 444, South Eastern Australia 2010 STEPHEN VINCENT www.stephenvincentwines.com [11]
Gold Medal - 91 Points Cabernet Sauvignon, California 2011
HANDCRAFT www.handcraftwines.com [12]
Gold Medal - 90 Points Cabernet Sauvignon, California 2011
NEWMAN'S OWN www.tfewines.com [13]
Gold Medal - 90 Points Cabernet Sauvignon, California 2011

CHARDONNAY
$0 ‐ $14.99
FOREST GLEN www.classicwinesofcalifornia.com [14]
Best Of Class, Gold Medal - 95 Points Chardonnay, California 2012
REDWOOD VINEYARDS www.classicwinesofcalifornia.com [14]
Best Of Class, Gold Medal - 93 Points Chardonnay, California 2011
WOLFGANG PUCK www.wolfgangpuck.com [15]
Best Of Class, Gold Medal - 93 Points Chardonnay, California 2012
COOPER STATION www.sonomawineco.com [16]
Gold Medal - 92 Points Chardonnay, California 2011
J. LOHR www.jlohr.com [17]
Gold Medal - 92 Points Chardonnay, Estate, Riverstone, Arroyo Seco 2011
LINE 39 www.cecchettiwineco.com [18]
Gold Medal - 92 Points Chardonnay, Central Coast 2011
MARC CELLARS www.sonomawineco.com [16]
Champagne Brut, Grand Vintage, Epernay 2004
Gold Medal - 92 Points
RAYMOND VINEYARDS www.raymondvineyards.com [19]
Gold Medal - 92 Points Chardonnay, R. Collection, California 2011
CRÈME DE LYS www.thewinebar.com [20]
Gold Medal - 91 Points Chardonnay, California 2010
DOMENIUL CORNOANEI SEGARCEA www.domeniulcoroanei.com [21]
Gold Medal - 91 Points Chardonnay, Segarcea DOC 2011
HARLOW RIDGE www.classicwinesofcalifornia.com [14]
Gold Medal - 91 Points Chardonnay, Lodi 2011
KALBARRI www.kalbarriwines.com [22]
Best Of Class, Gold Medal - 90 Points Chardonnay South East Austrlia 2012

MALBEC
$0 ‐ $14.99
CUPCAKE www.cupcakevineyards.com [23]
Gold Medal - 93 Points Malbec, Mendoza 2011
FILUS www.filuswine.com [24]
Gold Medal - 92 Points Malbec, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2011 STARK RAVING www.diageowines.com [25]
Gold Medal - 90 Points Malbec, California

PINOT NOIR
$0 ‐ $14.99
SAVE ME SAN FRANCISCO www.savemesanfrancisco.com [8]
Gold Medal - 93 Points Pinot Noir, Soul Sister, California 2011
BUENA VISTA WINERY www.buenavistawinery.com [26]
Best Of Class, Gold Medal - 92 Points Pinot Noir, Sonoma 2010
FORMATION www.vinodelsol.com [27]
Gold Medal - 92 Points Pinot Noir, Monterey 2011
MCMANIS FAMILY VINEYARDS www.mcmanisfamilyvineyards.com [28]
Gold Medal - 90 Points Pinot Noir, California 2011

SUPER TUSCAN BLEND
$0 ‐ $14.99
BANFI www.banfivintners.com [29]
Gold Medal - 94 Points Super Tuscan Blend, Centine, Toscana IGT 2011

This list just scratches the surface of the full results. We’d suggest downloading the complete file, huddling with your in-house experts and staffers and then getting on the phone with your wine purveyors in a hurry. The time to stock up on some of these attractive bargains looks like now.