I'll go to italy and france next week (milan, genoa, nice,
montpellier). The last time I was there I found a couple of places to
buy good wines, however, it wasn't very cheap.. Does anyone have tips
where I can get good wines at good prices (a small shop or a discount
warehouse, good prices are what matters). Any good spots?
I'm interested in buying bottles, not testing wines.
Others may have different opinions, but it sounds as though you are
looking for something you're not going to find. Your interest in
"buying bottles" and "not testing" seems to mean you're looking for
big names at discount prices. You won't be very successful, since big
name inevitably means inflated price. Tasting is what leads to high
value at low cost. Finding something that appeals to your palate that
hasn't yet made the "big time" is where the enjoyment of wine and
visits to wine regions becomes fun.
The places you name aren't major wine country, so you really will be
in metro areas rather than among the vineyards. If you seek good wines
at good prices, then you might consider getting further S. in Italy,
into Tuscany and the regions that include Barolo, Barberesco and
Montepulciano. In France, go N. of Nice into the area along the Rhone,
N. and S. of Lyon to visit Burgundy and Beaujolais, or head W. of Nice
to the Cote de Roussilon (sp?).
You don't necessarily have to visit vineyards which can be a spotty
experience at best, particularly in Burgundy. Most of the villages
have merchants that offer regional wines at good prices--basically you
are eliminated shipping costs and middle-man brokers in the pricing.
One particular stop of note (but which doesn't really offer "low"
prices) is the market in the center of Beaune. You'll get to taste a
wide variety of quality Burgundies.
You must taste, otherwise you're wasting your money--and that seems to
be your priority.
Fighter Pilot (ret)
***"When Thunder Rolled:
*** An F-105 Pilot Over N. Vietnam"
*** from Smithsonian Books
I think that most understood what your question was, but the answer is not
easy. You want to buy wine without tasting, something easily done in a
supermarket, charcouterie or wine retailer . But John's excellent advice
about driving northwest to L'Herault from Montpellier will put you in the
midst of vineyards and small, family owned wineries. I don't know what their
reaction would be to someone who showed up at their door and just wanted to
buy wine. They'd probably do it, but with a puzzled look on their face as
most every visitor would first want to taste what they're buying. The one
exception to that would be the local co-op, but they don't offer the best QPR,
I'm afraid. For the record, St. Martin-De-Londres is also a good stop for
quality wineries in the region.
Compared to prices in Sweden, I'd expect all wines to be significantly cheaper
in both Italy and France, but perhaps that's not the case. The lowest prices
can be found at the winery, but again it's not common for visitors to show up
at these small places to buy without tasting first. The other concern is
that, without knowing your taste in wine, how is anyone supposed to guess what
you'd like? I can tell you of my favorite wines from the region, but we
might have radically different tastes.
I have found that wine on the shelf in France to be no bargin. I have
also not seen much that is not available in USA.
Italy is different, I find many wines to be about 60% US price, and I
find entire regions that I have never seen in US.
You can find some Sagrantino in this country, it is much less in
Bologna. I never see Valtellina. You should be able to find a decent
selection in Milano, and I do not know who, if anyone discounts it. ,
but it is worth the price as it is becoming a very great wine as the
makers clean up the production. Get a couple of bottles because you
cannot get it here. I bought 6 bottles in a restaurant in Bologna.
Funny thing, Mark, that´s not the case, or, rather, it is true with the
cheaper (mostly) but when you get to the pricier stuff you´ll find,
mirabile dictu, that, e g, Sassicaia is had for the best price in Sweden
(and that is not excluding at the vineyard, apparently). Same goes for
the _really_ high-end stuff, like Petrus, and the high-end Bourgognes.
OTOH, the available bottles are very limited in numbers. So, for _real_
quality (i e, very expensive) stuff, you might consider Sweden ;)